So you’ve finally done it’….(Well done)

You’ve ‘Left Your Laptop at Home’ !!….so what now? No presentation No planned pitch…. what to do instead?

Vast volumes of research conducted over the past 40 years continues to show that consistently effective sellers do one thing differently: they ask more ‘conversational’ questions. Not some hard closing technique…Not some smart ass objection handling…not interrogation style question-rap- sheet but a pre-planned dialogue led by the seller’s questions into problem areas which the seller knows he can fix.

There is no hurry over this process and no urgent desire to offer solutions; in fact the research shows that the longer this investigation phase goes on (with the prospect doing most of the talking about his problems[ the ones you know you can fix]) there is more likelihood of that prospect starting to mentally create his (or her) desire to find a rapid solution.

Effective post-internet sellers now use questions to demonstrate insight. And ‘insight’ is what the majority of modern buyers say they want. Why?… because with the internet all companies (in all markets) look just the same. So instead of the all too common ‘talking brochure’ sales executive (and that’s still the vast majority of today’s sellers) one type of rare seller stands out.

This is the person who plans before each meeting to offer insight so valuable during that meeting that, at the end, the potential customer feels he should pay the seller for his time. As a habitual seller since the early 1970s I always imagine each new customer playing a continuous silent request in his head “Show me something I didn’t already know about a problem I didn’t realise I had…Then show me the unanticipated solution” And it seems to work.

As you can’t ‘describe’ either ‘insight’ or ‘value’ to a customer you have to get them to arrive there by themselves and ‘conclude’ that they need your solution, by pre-planning the questions you are going to ask. There are plenty of books about sales questioning technique but remember the most powerfully persuasive questions are those that probe the implications or ‘knock-on effects’ of ignoring apparently small persistent current issues. We humans are very much more persuaded by focus on problems and their solutions than by the potential of great lifetime opportunities.

Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]

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