Sales call or therapy session?
The success of any sales call is determined in the first five to 10 minutes. It is important as a sales professional to make an impact on the prospect quickly.
Another goal is to try to get the prospect emotionally involved in the process as quickly as possible. People buy emotionally and then justify their decisions intellectually. In the first five to ten minutes, we need prospects to be engaged emotionally and get them involved in the buying process. Often prospects will never discover the “real problem”. What they often state is what I call an “intellectual surface problem.” The real problem lies deep down underneath and that underlying seed is will have often an emotional impact if the surface intellectual problem is not fixed.
The problem stated to the salesperson is always intellectual in nature to provide a smoke screen to the salesperson. The real “impact” of the problem is emotional and that is why they buy. If the prospect recognizes and the salesperson knows how to help them discover this and the prospect takes responsibility to solve the problem, a sale is made. Through proper questioning techniques that emotion (impact) can be uncovered by the salesperson.
Often, it is not as easy as walking into their office and looking around for a picture or a plaque or any other form of commonality that you might have with the prospect. Prospects are becoming more and more sophisticated and often you are meeting on neutral ground.
A technique that we suggest is to start off by thanking the prospect for inviting you in, asking how much time you have and then asking, “What specific problems concerning your business were you hoping we could cover today?” A simple question like that allows the prospect to start talking about the business which is big picture and non-threatening. Remember to always be “invited in,” never beg for an appointment. But that’s another column.
Even though you can control how that invitation is offered, the prospect feels in control by offering the invite. Then get down to specifics about what they do. Prospects will feel at ease with themselves and with you.
People in general are what we call “stroke deprived;” they don’t have the opportunity to receive compliments on a regular basis. Self-flattery is a form of a compliment. One of the things that you will notice when you ask prospects to talk about themselves is that their face will light up a bit because they are doing what is called a “self-stroke.”
One of the things that you should do as a professional salesperson is give some strokes throughout the sales call, stroking them on what they do. However, do make it sincere. This simple technique will help ensure a productive start to your sales call.