This week’s PROSALESGUY BLOG is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Shut up! Stop Selling and Start Making Money.” Stay subscribed to the BLOG to receive notice of its release date this Summer.
In all types of sales, the face-to-face appointment is crucial. This is where you will engage the client and if successful, get the same in return. The engagement phase is equally important whether you sell professional services to businesses or consumer goods to the public. It’s important whether you visit your prospects in their home or business or they come to you. Whatever you’re selling, you need to engage your customers in a way that makes them want to do business with you.
This is where sales are made or lost
The engagement process can be made up of many steps or just a few. It can last 15 minutes with transactional purchases or 15 months with more complex buying decisions.
After the initial customer needs analysis, it can include further meetings with key individuals within your prospect’s company. Consulting with the product development team or the staff members who would actually be using your product or service is sometimes necessary. Rushing the progress and trying to confirm the business with a corny closing technique shows insincerity and can have you out on the street very fast.
Shut Up! Please stop talking
If you’re smart, you aren’t yapping about how great your product or service is. I chose the title of this book for a reason. From the start of engagement, the typical stigmatized salesperson spews a flurry of product information that turns prospects off and makes them want to run away.
“Who cares? What makes you think that this information is what I’m interested in hearing anyway?”
That’s what your customer is thinking if you babble on about anything that they haven’t expressed interest in hearing. So zip it.
The customer needs analysis
How do you know if your product or service is right for your prospect? With a customer needs analysis – a detailed, specific set of questions that you must ask your prospect. Though the best way to do this is face-to-face, geographical boundaries may necessitate the use of higher technologies, such as phone or, much better, web conferencing.
Don’t just ask surface-level questions. Dig deeper to truly find your prospect’s specific needs and show your sincerity to help them make the right decision. Deliver a strong opening statement like this:
“I’d like to ask you some questions to make sure I do my best to understand your needs. It’s what I do to help my customers make the right decisions. Is that all right with you?”
Once they understand your intent, most clients will be happy to oblige. Your style might be a welcome relief from the chatty salespeople they normally meet with.
Where most sales fail
If the client does not fully partner with you during the engagement phase, your chance of confirming the business is extremely low. This is exactly where most sales fail. Professional Salespeople dig deep and probe to find the real needs of each client. That starts with asking great questions. The right questions will draw out your prospect’s true needs. You can then tie those needs to benefits of your product or service and confirm the business.
Remember . . .
The engagement phase isn’t just about you engaging your prospect. It’s also about getting your prospect to engage with you! Once you feel that your prospect is engaged, you can sense the sale taking shape and coming close to approval.
It will be music to your ears. Your customer will ask you questions like:
“When can I start?”
“When would the product arrive?”
“What forms of payment do you accept?”
“What’s the next step in the process?
Sales Superstars are so skilled at engaging their customers, and drawing them into engaging with them, that they seldom ever have to use a closing technique. Clients close themselves. Now that is the sign of a true Professional Salesperson!
Once the sale is made
Don’t think for a second that your job is complete when you receive the approval to purchase. Your sale now continues its evolution. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
“How do I ensure that everyone on my product team delivers on the commitments I made?”
“How do I continue to give my client the same great service that I provided while enticing them?”
“How do I turn this customer into one of my best ones?”
“How do I ensure that I will get a renewal on our agreement?”
“How will I turn them into one of my leading advocates?”
“How and when will I ask them for referrals?”
Get it? Your job has just started. Hey, now you’re earning a commission – and that sure beats working for free!
PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Group and Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation, and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.