(By Loyd Ford) Do you get frustrated at work? When you are selling, the focus is often overloaded on “How can I get THIS sale right now?”
Believe it or not, I would encourage you to zero-in on your sales process and especially in one key area where many salespeople experience problems with process.
Truth is, it gets frustrating to see how many times a sales manager might meet with a seller and find out they really are not asking enough questions of potential clients. Or questions. At all.
How can you sell someone something without asking questions? It’s called getting lucky.
- Asking questions shows that you are interested in the potential client and their actual business.
- Asking questions helps you learn (through active listening) what fears the client may have, what they worry about, and what they feel are important challenges for them right now in their business.
- Asking questions is a great way to get and to keep a potential client talking. Listening to them should be one of your sharpest skill sets.
- How do you think you look when you don’t ask questions? Like you are trying to sell them something instead of helping them solve a problem they are having in their business? Bingo!
- Doing actual prep work and asking meaningful questions will separate you from other sellers who are trying to fake it. People can sense when you don’t care. It also causes your closing ratio to nosedive.
It’s human nature, and it is certainly American to want to talk more than you listen. Challenge yourself to do the opposite of your instincts. Teach yourself to be a consultative expert who cares about others more than you care about selling. It will pay off.
Please consider this: People want to be heard. If you are selling someone, they want to be heard. I slipped that last sentence in there just for radio sellers.
People can tell when you are not listening to them.
I read an interview with Meryl Streep where she said she wasn’t acting at all. Puzzled, the interviewer asked what she meant. Meryl said, “I react after listening to the actor in front of me. That’s what true actors do.” It’s what true and excellent sellers do, too.
Today is your day to rededicate yourself to your process, and especially to doing your homework better than anyone else before you see a potential client. Be curious. Be interested. Today is your opportunity to literally begin to study active listening and how to quickly respond when you hear a client showing signs of wanting to buy or recognizing a solution in your products or services.
Most sales reps don’t ask enough questions. Your competitors may not be doing their homework, but you can do yours and learn to ask the right questions to become more successful.
Loyd Ford is president and chief strategic officer at the branding consulting practice Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works (RPC). They help solve programming and sales challenges. Reach him anytime at 864.448.4169 or [email protected].
Spot on…best article about sales I’ve read in years. About 5% of the sales reps I deal with ask a question beyond “when is your next campaign?” or “what’s your budget?” Everything else is a scripted pitch.