For many years, I’ve seen many sales professionals training sales people on how to ask great questions. I’ve been through countless meetings where a sales professional tries to build rapport by asking questions by about a photo or souvenir in a leader’s office and it goes downhill from there.
Why do so many sales professionals fail when it comes to asking questions? Why don’t questions connect the way they used too?
Today, leaders have less time and resources available to meet their organizations’ and personal goals. They are overworked and under-appreciated at the home and office. So, what should you do if you hope to capture your best prospects interest?
I thought I’d share several ideas about how to become better at asking questions. In a future blog, we will share the different type of questions you can ask but, today, we want to talk about the mindset you need to succeed with working with clients.
The first idea is to be genuinely interested in what the person says. Stop working off your sales forms and really listen to what your potential client says. Learn to function more out of curiosity and less out of routine. Listen to what they have to say and start to understand what they aren’t saying. Huh, you may think, listen to what they aren’t saying? Tripp, you lost me here. How do I listen to what they aren’t saying? You have to be prepared and willing to ask questions that show you don’t understand what’s being said. Most fail to connect with their best clients because they fear they don’t know enough.
The second idea is to prepare before you go on a sales call. Take time to look up the company online, look at what trends are impacting their market and understand how their industry might be evolving. I spend at least an hour researching before calling clients on the phone to introduce myself. In the age of Google, shame on you if you don’t do your homework. Lack of preparation impacts you in ways you can’t imagine. I find that most people calling me don’t have an idea what I do. I’m not very well hidden, but sales professionals continue to call me and my better clients without even looking at our websites.
The third idea is to have well thought out opinions on what you do for a client. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting with a sales professional who is so busy using buzzwords that they miss the opportunity to share their results with potential clients. Take time to simplify what you do from the client’s perspective. For example, I help my private business owners get the maximum return on their businesses when they sell them. I work with clients for several years before they sell to get their business ready for sale or for new leadership. My ideas are based on being involved in over 70 of these deals in my life. I tell stories about people who did it right and some, unfortunately, who did it wrong. Very seldom do prospects walk away from our meeting not knowing if they could use my help.
Now what do you do? Do you use stories to help make your points? Do you know the pain points your client may be experiencing? Can you tell them why you’re the best choice for them and what they want to accomplish?
The final idea is determining if your questions and your attitude inspire your potential clients. So many sales professionals miss the opportunity to show their clients the potential future they will have if they work with you. You must challenge your clients to think bigger than they are today. If you can’t get them excited during the initial sales call, there won’t be a second meeting. Take time to uncover your client’s hidden dreams and aspirations. The more you can connect them to the greatest possible future, the more likely you will be part of it.
Now that you have these keys, next week we talk about how to develop stronger connections with your clients during the early stages of client development.