We live in a time of rapid technological change and a great deal of confusion. Nobody knows what tomorrow may bring, in terms of technological change, but also in terms of the economy and foreign affairs.
Sales professionals need to remember this whenever they are talking to a prospect because an awareness of these realities will make them smarter and more sympathetic listeners.
And the skill of listening, I have learned through the years, is much more important to sales success than talking. You can lose a sale by talking too much, but you will never, ever lose a sale by listening too much.
Unfortunately, most salespeople yak and yak and yak because they think that is how you capture the prospect is interest in their product. But prospects are not interested in your product. They are interested in their own problems, and it is the sales professional is job to share that interest and to show how the product can make their problems go away. You do not do that by droning on and on about features and benefits.
It's also the sales professional is job to help prospects become aware of problems they are not even aware that they have. And the way to do that is to listen carefully and ask questions - leading questions. Only when you have understood what the prospect is saying should you start to talk.
Remember what I said a moment ago about Twitter? Just as people these days are worried about really big things, like the possibility that we are headed into a repeat of the Great Depression or that we could face another terrorist attack, they are also worried about smaller things, too. Like whether their careers will be wiped out by tidal waves of technological innovation.
Most business people in positions of responsibility live with a kind of quiet dread. Once they have reached a point in their careers that they can make significant decisions about the products and services their companies purchase, they are at an age that the pace of technological change scares them. And they can not talk about this confusion and anxiety for fear of seeming out of it is and professionally vulnerable. This is their pain.
You should never exploit these anxieties, but as a sales professional, you need to understand them. The questions you ask can, in subtle ways, probe the depth of their anxiety, with a specific goal in mind. That goal is to make them understand how the product or service you represent can remove some of their worry. Once you have convinced them of that, the sale is all but made.
The world is scary place. The pace of change, uncertainty about the future, and the worries of day-to-day work create a lot of tension. Your prospects are experiencing pain and facing a lot of problems. You can be part of the solution.
Sandler Management sales programs provides comprehensive sales management training to sales managers, executives and business owners in Dallas, Texas. Get yourself registered now for Sandler's Dallas sales training programs.
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