As I pointed out in last week’s post, most salespeople fail to close sales because they focus on the wrong point when presenting their product or service to a prospect. The problem is focusing on your product, then trying to find that the prospect would benefit from buying. That’s the difficult and time consuming way to try to close a sale.
Last week I said that the prospect’s problem or consuming desire that causes pain is the issue to focus on. To do that you need to get the prospect to tell you what his problem, pain or desire is. People buy and you close sales because people want pain relief, or to fulfill a strong desire.
The obvious question is “how do I get them to tell me?” I think that the answer to that question is found in two words that could be considered the goose that lays golden eggs: “I understand.” How do those words help close sales faster?
Close More Sales Faster
When you arrive for your appointment and announce that you have a product that is the answer to every person’s (in your prospects field) dream, you are telling, not selling. You cite impressive facts, figures, features and benefits about why everyone in his or her position needs your product…and you leave a giant escape route for your prospect.
With those declarative statements, all your prospect has to do to “blow you out of the water” is to respond that “I don’t agree with you; I think I’ll pass.” Do you leave, or argue? Not much choice there.
At this point, your prospect has either rejected you, your product,or both. Not good.
Both of You Have Lost
Your approach signaled a contest and most prospects will automatically accept their role as your adversary and strive to win the (wrongly?) perceived contest.
When you fail to close the sale, your morale takes a hit. You’ll be hoping for better results with your next call, but your belief that you’ll get better results will be waning. At the end of the day, having closed fewer sales than you set as your daily goal, you’ll be telling yourself all kinds of (assumed) untrue negative things about yourself and your ability.
Set Out For a Win For Everyone
Planning a win-win result requires a little work up front, before you make your call. Learn all you can about your prospect, and the typical problems he may be facing. The problem (or desire) may be common among people in your prospect’s industry, or position, for example.
Once you have a good idea of the problem your prospect needs relief from, brainstorm two or three power words that describe a solution that your product offers that wipes out the core of the problem. Think of words like speed, reliability, efficiency, control, etc. (We will fit these words in shortly).
Frame the Discussion
There’s an old saying that I have found to be true: “He who frames the argument wins the debate.”
Your job is to frame the discussion so that you enter the picture as a friend and helper, who can solve your prospect’s problem and relieve his pain, or grant his wish.
Those two words, “I understand” create a friendly phrase that suggests that help for whatever problem follows may be on the way.
A Better Presentation
After greetings and introductions, you lead with “I understand that you are challenged by (state problem).”
If the prospect has the problem, you have just given him or her permission to tell you all about it. If they do, listen intently, and take notes if it’s appropriate or necessary.
If they don’t have the problem, the prospect has not rejected you or your product/service. If they don’t have the problem, let them know that you don’t want to waste their time and leave. Often at this point, the prospect may ask if you can solve some other problem.
If they do have the problem, use your two or three power words like this: “If I could pull a magic solution out of a hat, I would guess that you what you need is control, speed and durability, is that right?” You and your prospect are now in a discussion, as partners, trying to find relief for his pain.
The prospect may change one or more of your power words. If so, fine, just adjust to show how your product or service provides what the prospect sees as the solution, or help him see if he is mistaken.
Once your prospect has agreed that he has the problem and what the solution is, just demonstrate, or explain, as appropriate for your product/service, only the parts that show how you can deliver relief.
Do not go over all the intricate details of your product, or your company’s history. Just show what is needed to prove that you can deliver the solutions of control, speed and durability. That’s what the prospect wants to know. If they have questions, they will ask, then you can answer.
Ask for the order. After you ask for the order, do NOT speak, or communicate via body language until after the prospect speaks, or signs the order, whichever comes first.
After the Sale
Customer service is the new marketing. This is where you can show your story (not tell it), and make yourself stand out from the competition.
Keep your customer advised of the progress of the order. If it is a high end machine sold to a business, for example, you may want to be there when it is delivered to help ensure that it is not damaged, to supervise the set up, and train the appropriate employees in its proper use.
That is the time when you get to show all the bells and whistles, as well as superiority to your competitors’ products.