Your job throughout the sales process is to build trust and gain an understanding of your client’s problems. Your job is not really to ask for the sale. Of course, that is part of your job, but your actual job is to get your client to open up, discuss their problems, and seriously consider letting you help them solve those problems.
Never underestimate the power of the words you use in helping to make or break your deal.
Offense/Defense or Collaborative
I am beyond blessed to work with the person I consider the greatest living sales mind, Anthony Iannarino. In a coaching session, he reminded me of the power I had to win, or lose, the opportunity I was looking for. I am a very direct person both by nature and due to the nearly 20 years I spent in manufacturing selling B2B. It was a very rough and tumble business when it came to language, and I learned that language well.
But at this moment I am working in the tech sector, and the sale is complex. There are lots of directions my client can go, and lots of people vying for their attention. Anthony reminded me how important it is to use language that expresses my desire to be helpful, and to make sure that they buy into letting me help them. I am a lot more effective when I ask questions that clarify the problem I think my client has, and then ask them if they would like me to help them.
My instinctive reaction is to tell my prospect: you have a problem. You can imagine that approach may make them become defensive and closed off. They may very well know they have a problem, but my shoving it in their face isn’t the smartest approach. Using language that gets them to tell me their problems, and then asking if I can help them, is much more powerful.
Why Practice Matters
In order to be consultative in your approach, in order to get the prospect to open up, you need to prepare ahead of time. There is no magic touch in sales. Success is about preparing, and practicing exactly how you want to approach the client, what language you’ll use, and what questions you’ll ask to get them to buy into your solution. If you go into a call knowing what you need to find out, or at the very least, that there are things you don’t know, and you use language to get your client to join you in seeking the solution, you both win. They’ll relax and open up, and you will get the information you need to help them find a solution. You do this by practicing, and preparing, for what that conversation will sound like. You’ rehearse making statements like:
“I think you agree we have X problem here, don’t you?”
Let them answer. Then you may ask:
“Will it be ok if I offer a solution that can help solve it?”
The language you choose is can open, or close opportunities.
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