Professional salespeople are highly driven by goal achievement. Recognizing what needs to be accomplished by year-end, they then work backwards to figure out milestones to be achieved during the year for getting to those goals. What sets the successful apart is their recognizing that in the end, whether or not the sale is to be made, is dependent upon how they and their offerings are perceived.
Less experienced business professionals are astonished when they hear the sale is not about them or how much they know, but instead it is about their intended client. Even more surprising is when they hear the salesperson should do the least amount of talking when in the room with their client. Why would this be?
The goal for the consummate sales professional is threefold:
1. First and foremost be a detective in discovery mode
Having done your company research upfront prior to meeting, you will be well positioned to ask pertinent questions of your prospective client. Learn why you were invited in as it relates to current problems. The downfall of most is that they rush the conversation to the point of almost immediately revealing their solutions. Instead, ask more questions about the problems and additional problems the company may be experiencing. Ask the history of how the difficulty began and the affect of the downward spiral the original problem had on everything in its path. By focusing first on the problems, there is an increased likelihood the intended prospect will want to hear your ideas for possible fixes.
2. Transform into a business consultant and problem solver
Once you have exhausted the questions that come to mind and the answers appear complete, it is time to ask your intended client what they believe will be a viable solution. Have them explain the reasoning behind their ideas to understand their perspective on a deeper level. The more insight your client-to-be shares with you, and the more open the dialogue becomes, the more likely you will be to secure the sale.
Help your potential client understand a better approach to solving the problems shared. Instead of selling your offerings, position them as ideas and ask if they would be open for consideration. Upon hearing any rejection of an idea, ask for your prospect’s perspective of why that might be.
The greater the sharing of insights and ideas, the greater the likelihood you will have for securing a sale. This period may be likened to a subtle negotiation. The give and take of possibility, likes and dislikes will lead you to exactly what the prospect wants and expects to see from you.
3. Leave as the dedicated sales professional
By the time your meeting winds down, you should have enough information to write a proposal as well as feel as if you performed business therapy. Your prospective client may even have confided confidential information due to your high level of professionalism and apparent dedication to being a problem solver.
Adapting these three personas to your presentation style will serve to increase your credibility and trust factor, leading you to a very Smooth Sale!