Friday, July 18, 2008


Sometimes, as a salesperson, when talking to customer, the prospect seemed to get bored or, worse yet, to actually become defensive or offensive, as the case may be, every time the salesperson mentioned a product benefit or feature.

The solution to this is to look for the aspects that the client needs most. Finding the solution requires really active listening and calm questioning, not interrogating. And remember, if you want your prospect to get down to the truth, you may need to expose a little of yourself first to establish a deeper trust. And if you take such an approach to your next difficult conversation, you'll successfully achieve two things.

Discover the real problem.

If you're actively looking for the solution, you just might find out what's really a thorn in your client's side. And it's usually not what you'd expect. You've got to find what their internal problems are, and it sometimes aren't what's it look on the surface of their business.

In fact, they are rarely related to the products or services you are selling. Sometimes it's listening to their fears or frustrations about their current job or boss and offering an understanding ear. It could be just asking what their personal aspirations are relative to this project and assuring them that they will be met.

Avoid death by complex sale.

Complex sales are just that -- complex, and we often just don't have the time to execute them. Some people go into a sales call with a very well laid out plan of what they want to sell. You know what happens then ? The buyer very often is inclined to figure out what about the proposal isn't right or needs to change.

You'll be much better served by going into a sales call with a path in mind than without one, sure. But you must also have the willingness to listen and react and find a way to place your value proposition in the context of their immediate needs. Once you begin to listen, sales will no longer be a time to sell but to let your prospect tell you what he wants and you configuring your product or service around those needs.

Remember, if you get resistance, stop even thinking about selling. Think about listening and understanding what the person really needs. Your first goal shouldn't be to sell anyway. You need a foot in the door. You need to build a trusting relationship. You need to get a chance to prove that relationship.

So first look for the solution.

You can always make sales later.


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