Want your customers and prospects to listen to what you have to say? It may seem backwards, but what you need to do is to shut up to be heard.
In sales calls, many sales pros work hard and practice what they are going to say. This is great, and I would never discourage anyone from preparing. But before we focus on what we are going to SAY, we should prepare what we are going to ASK and how we will keep the attention on them.
In sales situations, it is easy to talk too much throughout the conversation. Do any of these sound familiar?
- You secure an appointment with someone you really wanted to reach and then start the ‘pitch’, watch their eyes roll back in their head and realize you blew it.
- You are in a sales call and they ask ‘What do you have today?’ (Yes, this still happens.) And you launch into the features of your product or service and why everyone should have it.
- You are in a networking function and make the rounds telling everyone who you are and what you do and collect a LOT of business cards.
- You are at a trade show and you repeat the same script over and over to anyone who might stop to listen.
In each of these situations your ability to present your solution is important. Yet to really be heard and have the prospect (or networker) WANT to hear what you have to say, ask them for information first. Ask relevant open-ended questions that get them talking about their problems, opportunities, wants or needs. Then when you have earned the right to be heard, explain how your solution will help THEM specifically!
Years ago I had an appointment with a lead. I was prepared and focused, and I asked questions, paraphrased, took notes. He wanted to TALK and when our time was up, he said we should talk again so he could learn more about what I do.
I though it went well but was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to explain how I could help him and whether I had established any credibility. Well, I found out the next day through the referrer that he thought I was brilliant and couldn’t wait to talk again.
So, by listening and focusing on him, I was brilliant and he was ready to hear what I had to say. It’s a lesson I need to constantly remind myself – to be heard I must first shut up.