It had taken several months to arrange a presentation on a new, expensive boiler control system. …
All the decision-makers had assembled. They had their coffee and donuts. Game faces on, meaning they were already halfway into the trance customers get into before a presentation. You know, the one where they are completely checking out; eyes open but no one is home.
PowerPoint clicker in hand, I looked at the group and started…….
9 times out of 10 this is a no-win situation for everyone. Most of the time the buyers don’t want to be in the room. The sales rep can feel this, and hopes the presentation can save the day. If that doesn’t work they default to talking more and talking faster….. ‘impressing’ them with what they know and how great their product is…….. This very rarely works…..If you get the sale it was because they were going to buy anyway and they bought in spite of you, not because of you…… Sorry the truth hurts, but the truth will also set you free…..
The first thing you have to do is get their attention. Proceeding as planned with my presentation was not going to work. So instead of diving in as planned ….. I said….
“What would have to happen for you to buy this product today and feel really good about it?”
Donuts dropped. Mouths fell open. The group woke up. I had their attention. You cannot influence without first getting attention…… but you have to get the right kind of attention and get it in the right way….
The biggest problem with salespeople is they talk way too much and assume that their prospects care about what they are saying.
Just because they are not talking does not mean they are listening.
People never, ever , buy based on what you say…. They buy on what they think, and _when you are talking they can’t think!_
Fact: The only radio station your prospects ever listen to is WIIFM…. “WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME Radio”…….
…and the sales person that forgets this, and gets too enamored with broadcasting all the brilliant wonderful things they know on WIIFM……. will get booted off the air, quicker than Ken Smyers can say “Indeed”. …….
They don’t care how smart you are or what you know… unless there is something in it for them.
It is. a lot like tennis…
In tennis, you can only lose a point when the ball is in your court. In sales, when you are talking, the ball is in your court, where you cannot make a point.
… the best you can do is not lose one.
In sales, like in tennis, the only way you can score is when the ball is in their court. When they are talking, the ball is in their court: the only place a sale can be made. So how do you get the ball out of your court and into your prospects court?
Anytime you ask a good question the ball get’s batted from your court into their court.
Show me a good sales person, and I will show you someone who talks less and asks good questions.
To understand why questions are so effective you have to understand a bit about how the mind works. You see….
The mind is a souped up google search engine,.
Ask it any question and it will instantaneously respond by bringing possibilities into mind. It is efficient. Ask it how to solve a problem and it will start searching for answers.
This feature of the brain cannot be turned off.
If I say, “ don’t think of a blue elephant , you have to think about a blue elephant to not think of a blue elephant; If I say “what would have to happen for X…”,
the mind comes up with answers…
How can you use this one simple, powerful concept to dramatically improve your sales and communications effectiveness?
What about something like this: When a prospect tells you they are buying from someone else…..
………“I am not going to suggest that you drop your existing supplier to give us a try, because you don’t know enough about our company, yet. What would have to happen for you to make a radical or maybe not so radical decision today and set us up as a supplier too?” ……
Ask this question and before they can find the off switch, their google mind serves up the answers to your question. Now, I am not saying they are going to share these thoughts with you. There are other parts of the influence process that might need to be triggered before they will share this with you… but most times they do. The point is, they discovered a new possibility because of a question you asked.
I promise… asking this question as opposed to you talking about all the great things your company does will deliver very different results…… What has to happen for you to try this on your next sales call and feel really good about it?
Meanwhile back at my boiler presentation….. after my audience woke up, one response was: “What do you mean?”
Well”… I said… “I am here to be a resource for you , not here to do a presentation and maybe waste your time….anybody can stand up here and waste your time. Right?”
I am nor here today to persuade you or try to sell you anything..
…my job is to give you the information you need so that you can make a good decision, and decide if this product is a good fit for you. Is that fair?
So rather than me stand up here and go through a 45 minute presentation, which I am willing to do, can you tell me what you need to know to make a decision today and feel good about it?
What followed was not a presentation but an active conversation. All of us discovered possibilities and solutions that could never have happened if I had given the presentation I had worked so hard to practice and prepare . I never could have guessed what they needed to know to make a decision and feel good about it. And neither could they… if I had not asked those specific questions.
Did I get the order that day? No. But we did get a list of everything that needed to happen for us to get the order, which came 3 weeks later.
Why do I usually tag on the phrase, “and feel good about it”? I want them to feel good about me and my products. The way you ask a question matters. When you include: “and feel really good about it”, in the query,…their google mind will search for that attribute too. Just like with a google search on your computer , in sales, you get the answers to the specific questions you ask… so ask well.
I have often said sales is the easiest job in the world to do poorly and one of the most difficult to do well.
Words and language are the tools of the sales trade, so use them well and with precision, the way a brain surgeon uses a scalpel, and you will be successful.
Talk too much; don’t ask good questions; don’t listen… and your sales show will get canceled on WIIFM Radio.