13. Become a doctor. Sit down and study the patient and gather all pertinent information before you give your prescription. How could you make an effective presentation to the prospects needs in any other way?
14. Don’t use a “benefit list” to present from. Like who the heck cares? Instead, use it to create the questions you to determine if those “benefits” are of any value to your prospects and customers. Some “benefits” could actually be liabilities.
15. Avoid asking go-nowhere questions. You know things like, “Is everything going OK?”, “What are your needs?”, “Are you having any problems now?”, “How’s service?”, and, “What are you looking for in a vendor?” I mean come on how lame are these and where do they take you? All it really does is force the person to think too much. Instead, get them emotionally involved in seeing and feeling the pain of not buying or joy of fixing the problem that can be solved with your product/service. For example, “What do you do when you need parts shipped overnight, but are unable to get them?”
16. Ask one question at a time. That’s how many they’ll answer at a time and the answer you are given might give you insight to the next one you should be asking.
17. After asking, be quiet. Yes, shut up. The first one who opens their mouth looses. Resist the urge to jump in and talk if they don’t answer immediately. Don’t be intimidated by silence use it as your ally. They’re likely thinking about what they’re going to say. Let them sweat it out!
18. After they’ve finished, count to two (silently, of course). This gives you the necessary time to process what they have said and ensures they’re done talking. They might not be and you get an added bonus that they might continue with even better information than what they have said.
19. Be confident. One reason sales reps ramble with questions is that they’re not prepared or confident. Prepare your questions. Think it though and visualize the process like a professional athletic does before they compete.
20. Always know where you are going with answers, regardless of the answer. Stay in control.
21. Follow up their answers with solid related questions. Too often sales reps work from a rigid list of questions, and lose the opportunity to pick up on prospect statements which are just the tip of the iceberg of their real feelings. Get off script! For example, if a prospect said, “I believe the main reason production isn’t higher is a lack of motivation. The best move is to follow up with, “I see. What specific signs of poor motivation have you been seeing?”, or, simply, “Tell me more.” Or if your Canadian “A?”
22. Quantify the problem if possible. “How often does that happen here?” “How much do you think that is costing you?” “How much time does that take?”
23. Resist the tendency to present. Some sales reps get so excited when they hear the slightest hint of an opportunity that they turn on the spigot of benefits. You don’t need to be using the “Always Be Selling” mentality. Hold off, get a few more questions in, and cement your solution. Create an even better description of the benefits you bring that are tailored exactly to what they’re interested in, you will make the sale.
24. Shut up and listen. Learn more about their decision-making process. There could be many behind-the-scenes influences on the decision. Ask about the actual users of your products/services, anyone else who could influence it, who has to sign off on the decision or OK who appropriates the money, and who are the people who would rather not see it happen.
Larson Notes & Satire: A closed mouth gathers no foot. I have seem more sales reps talk themselves out of a sale than talk themselves into one. Ask and be quiet. As Hank Trisler once said: “First one who talks, looses.”
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