The more you talk. The longer you talk. The more likely you are to talk your way out of a sale. As you speak you’re unwittingly laying little land mines for yourself that blow the whole deal.
You’re so excited about what you do and how you do and what it does for your clients you can’t wait to tell anyone who will listen all about it. Your passion and enthusiasm are a good thing. However, you can be just as passionate and just enthusiastic and actually say very little.
Your sales success is directly proportional to the amount of time the prospect does the talking. Your job is predominantly to keep the conversation going rather than talking. You talk because you’re afraid to give up control of the conversation.
Talking isn’t maintaining control of the conversation it’s a means for you to manipulate the conversation in a way you think best serves you. The prospect is fully aware of this and disengages quickly. The longer you talk the more the prospects defenses go on high alert and they simply close down and stop listening to you at all. They’re only thinking about how they can get rid of you as quickly as possible.
Even when you don’t make the fatal mistake of using a presentation for one-on-one or one-on-two conversations, you still speak in presentation bursts rather than holding a real conversation. The problem with speaking in presentation bursts is the minute you’re off target with what the prospect is thinking about or cares about you’ve lost them. You’re gambling you’ve got it right. Risky business!
During a first meeting you’re tempted to get yourself to a point where you can tell the prospect about what you do, and you might use a similar client as a way to open the conversation.
So you might say, “Jane I’ve been working with another business owner in your same industry who was having trouble meeting their sales goals. The reasons they were struggling include: poor communication with and among the sales force, a limited number of internal experts with product knowledge, and a fast changing product line. When this business owner needed to communicate with his sales people he needed to do so fast plus he needed a way to provide on-demand training getting the sales people up to speed on the new products or changes in existing products. My company provided him with those capabilities. As a result their sales increased, they had fewer customer complaints, and lower costs. Tell me about your business situation.”
Blah, blah, blah if you didn’t hit the right problem Jane is hoping you’re going to shut up so she can get rid of you. While this whole spiel may have impressed you it left Jane cold. Jane like every other person on the planet has one person she’s concerned with, Jane.
Rather than telling your story in this ridiculously long block of dialogue you could have accomplished the same thing and had Jane right there with you actually listening intently to what you were saying. All you had to do was start with a genuine question.
You can’t help anyone or sell anyone until you understand what’s going on with them now. So instead of puking on Jane you could have simply asked, “Jane can you tell me a little about your current situation?” Jane granted you an appointment. She wouldn’t have done so if she didn’t have at least some concern in relation to what you do, so let her tell you about what’s going on with her and her company.
Jane only cares that you’ve helped someone else with the same problems after she’s decided she has at least some interest in moving forward. She may think there isn’t a solution to this problem because she’s tried other things and they didn’t work. If that’s the case, then you can share how her situation reminds you of a similar client’s story. When you share this story tell it in small bites allowing Jane to ask you to tell her more.
If Jane doesn’t ask questions you immediately know you’re off target. The only way to get back on track is to ask another question that will help you understand what’s going on with Jane. Your objective is to understand what Jane needs.
When you can share a client story you’re doing two things. You’re helping to build the prospects desire for a solution that they didn’t have before because they didn’t think there was one. Plus you’re providing proof and overcoming the objection “I don’t think this will work or I don’t think this will work for me.”
The reason it’s so easy to increase sales by talking less is you allow the prospect to think through their situation and discover on their own why they need your solution. As Ben Franklin says the best ideas are the ones you think are your own. Haven’t you found this to be true?
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