My kids were just pulling on my leg and now I can barely reach their shoulder! I try to reflect a bit about my life personal and business and being a trainer I’m amazed that as much as the world of business has changed, some of the same mistakes are being made by business development professionals. I have 6 that I was writing down in examining content creation for training:
- Searching for customers is different today. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers but most people do it wrong. Networking is not for direct prospecting, “hey do you guys use promotional products, here’s an example..” NO! Instead I say go to an event and look for Strategic Alliances, people that you can refer business back and forth to as opposed to hitting you prospects hard. We all know building business on referrals is the best way to do business so lets network for good alliances that you can refer business to and that is a good source for your referrals.
- Tell the prospect it’s OK to break up….Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service as opposed to tell them you what you are calling about, let them know it seems that because of what they do you could potentially work together, but (pull back) you don’t want to assume that you are a g0od fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit and if not, we decide it’s a NO then we only wasted a few minutes? Sound OK?
This allows you to give a NO as an option right upfront. Then you have asked for it as opposed to a prospect pushing you away and that is the rejection.
- Be a reporter. An example of the best salespeople today are reporters. Reporters don’t have a specific agenda besides learning as much as they possibly can about a person, subject or situation. They do their research, ask great open-ended questions and always listen in between the lines. They are trying to dig out all of the information they can to recreate it in a great story. Sales people fall short because when they hear something they want to jump n what they heard and try to solve it with their solution. When you stop someone from telling you more about their situation to sell them, it is usually too early to do so and you loose the sale.
- Research is important but not for the reasons you would think. Research should be used for credibility purposes but most importantly to create good, quality questions to engage your prospect in conversation and truly understand their needs. Additionally research the heck out of an organization or person before you call them. Refer to that information you learned to form a good question, not s ‘salesy’ one.
- Cutting prices is almost always a result of one of 2 things. 1) The customer doesn’t truly trust you/your product or service so there is only price to use as a differentiator or 2) You haven’t truly understood the need for the product. I know need seems simple but it isn’t. What are they trying to say, what impression are they trying to leave, how do they want to be seen? What are they using it for? There are lots of questions to not only understand what a prospect needs but the true deep-down ‘whys’. Asking questions will let you also gain credibility and trust but not selling and truly asking and listening…
- Listen and shut up!! Wow! If I could teach people that are in sales/business
development to ask questions and listen there would be a lot more success in business! Write this down; WAIT (Why Am I Talking)?
Telling isn’t selling…but it comes from a good place. We are excited about what we represent and want other to be excited too but excitement doesn’t sell, questions and true engagement does.
Long ago we were taught to ask a few questions and when you hear a “ buying signal” jump in and tell them you can help with that and how. NO!
When you ask a question, wait for the answer and whatever the answer is, especially if it may be something your product or service can help with, the best next question is, “tell me about that”, then SHUT-UP!!!
Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to www.schulzbusiness.com and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to firstname.lastname@example.org