When you meet a nice man or woman at a blind date, how would you behave?
If you are self-oriented and only talk about how great you are and how lucky the other person is to have a chance to talk to you, the date won’t be very successful. You would establish an image of yourself as a vain idiot.
But, if you are smart, you act interested, you ask questions, pay attention to the details and try to figure out what the other person likes, dislikes or needs, then you hook into their ‘likes’ and ‘needs’ and learn more about them. Once you’ve learnt about them, you can then talk about yourself. Soon you find similarities between yourselves based on preferences. If you do it right, a strong bond can be established that you can build on.
The same is true in sales. Nobody likes to buy from an idiot or a know-it all. Keep your sales conversations in line with these four steps to build great relationships with prospects and close deals.
1. Ask the right questions
- What is the other person/company really looking for?
- What are they trying to achieve/solve – where is the real pain?
- What are their decision points to make a buy?
- What did they try so far, what was working well and what failed?
Pay attention to your prospect’s answers and ask again if something is unclear. You need to get an exact picture of the company and its owner’s needs from this conversation, and showing a lively interest in their opinion can help cement a lasting relationship. Everybody loves it if someone pays attention to their words. But remember – listen to the answers!
2. Double check if you got it right by asking questions
- “If you solve this specific issue, is there anything else that has to be fulfilled?”
- “Is it correct that you want to achieve these three goals or is there something else?”
- “If you would get A, B and C through a new solution, would you buy it or is there anything missing?”
- “What would you expect from us based on your experience?”
Rephrase what you heard when the prospect answered. This gives you the guarantee that you got it right and your client the feeling that you really care.
3. Connect your offering with their requirements
- “You need a solution for this issue and our service provides the components A, B and C. Therefore you would have the issue solved and it would give you some additional benefits like…”
- “The experiences that you have had are the reason why we took this approach to develop …”
- “Would your goals be achieved if our service delivers you…”
Build a connection between the prospect’s requirements and your solution. Let them see you as an expert and not a sales person. Show them your deepest interest in delivering what they need and add some little things they did not expect.
4. Take the next step
- Depending on your industry, your service and product you might be at a point now where you can immediately ask and close the deal. In that case: Ask and close the deal! Don’t hesitate.
- Maybe it needs more time because it’s a high value investment: Ask what else the prospect might need and what next steps they recommend to deliver the solution the company is looking for. Offer your help!
If you do that, you are way beyond what the majority of sales people are doing.
If you want to train yourself to approach all sales meetings and relationship in this way, just use every chance you get when meeting other people. 1. Ask, 2. Check, 3. Relate it to you. And have fun with it.
Like flirting – without having fun, you won’t succeed.