Does anyone remember the days when you walked into a prospects/client’s office and simply stated what you had, what it did, how it did it, why they needed it and when did they want it? I do. I also know if you are doing this, you may not be getting the results you want, or need.
Those days are long gone and I for one am so happy they are. There was no ‘getting to know the prospect’ time. All we wanted to do was walk in, tell them all about the newest thing and get out with an order if we could. The sad part was, we walked out more often without the order than with. Then, things started to change and we began the ‘bonding and rapport’ process.
It was not a miraculous concept, it simply meant we started to get to know our clientele better. We slowed the process down. The end results were more sales orders than before.
I love this time of year. Not for the sunshine, singing birds and the warmth of the summer months coming, but rather, for the lie that everyone tells themselves about sales for this time of year.
The lie that says: “No one buys during the summer.” or: “Everyone is either on holidays or thinking about their holidays and not the business.”
If only those were true. However, how many of us fall for the great summer lie? This time of year could be the most productive time of the year for you if you change certain behaviors which will take you from salesperson to sales professional.
Recently, I was asked if I would shadow an individual while making calls and report back to the Sales Manager as to how our program could make them more productive. This was an unusual request, as I do the shadowing after the program for a day to make sure implementation of the program has happened. However, I knew the manager quite well and, therefore, agreed.
We did not even make the first call as the challenges were immediately evident.
“Aren’t we there to provide solutions?”
“Absolutely, but how can you provide the solution, if you don’t know what the challenge is.”
However, how many times do we go into a presentation with: “This, (insert product or service) will solve all of your challenges.”
Asking questions is a skill. Like any skill, it must be developed and then practiced. It is not only the question but the timing of the question. Doctors, police, hostage negotiators and interrogators practice questioning techniques consistently as part of their training. Business is no different; it is the question and the timing of those questions which will differentiate you from all others.
Last week I was fishing off Port Renfrew located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island North of Victoria. It occurred to me while out on the boat, very early in the morning, the metaphor that is used many times in business; ‘fishing for clients.’ This analogy may bring some clarity about why you may not be ‘hocking’ the clients that you may be going after.
While at a networking event, the discussion led to the question of ‘the close’. I listened intently to the different ideas presented by everyone I thought to myself that I was somehow transported back in time to 15 or 20 years ago. Some of the suggestions were outdated, in that they all focused on the salesperson’s needs and wishes and really had nothing to do with the client. When it was my turn to share, I could not hold back and I asked if they had actually heard themselves?