12 Top Best Practices for Successful Sales Professionals Week 2
For the month of June, I thought I do something a little different for my blog. During my sales training programs I am often asked about the best practices I have adopted for myself over the years. I have distilled them into twelve and will share three per week for the month of June.
I have always believed that we are all in sales in one form or another so these best practices do not only apply to those in the selling profession and can be applied to many situations.
Continued from Week 1
4) Listening Often people think that the sales people who have the Gift of the Gab are the most successful in sales. I used to think that many years ago when I first went into sales. I learned very quickly that this is not the case at all. Sales people who have the ability to listen to what is being said, as well as what is not being said, often report a much deeper connection with their customers. I have found it very helpful to not only listen to the words a prospect or customers says but also to listen to the non verbal communication. Sometimes listening to the tone of someones voice can reveal their level of commitment or enthusiasm about what you are offering. Observing body language during a meeting is also another way to observe the level of interest. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give to someone, the opportunity to be heard.
5) Questioning It has been my experience that when I go into a meeting, whether a prospect or a client I have more success when I come to the meeting with some relevant questions to ask. It is not so much about telling a customer what I can do for them but more about finding out what they need and then I can fit the solution to their specific need. I personally use the SPIN model for questioning and I find it works very well. When I am training other sales people I find that most of them dont ask the tough I questions.
S– situation questions solicits data and facts in the form of background information and descriptions of the buyers existing situation. These questions are used early in the sales call and can provide sales people with leads to fully develop the buyers needs and expectations. Situation questions are essential and should be used in moderation. i.e. Who are you currently dealing with? Who is involved in the purchasing decision?
P- problem questions used to further probe for specific difficulties or areas of dissatisfaction. Problem questions more actively involve the buyer and help them better understand their own problems and needs. i.e. What kind of reliability problems are you experiencing with your current supplier?
I- implication questions the purpose of these questions is assist the buyer into thinking about the possible consequences of the problem and understand the urgency of resolving the problem in a way that motivates them to seek a solution. i.e. How does this affect your profitability?
N- need-Payoff questions these questions propose a solution and develop commitment from the customer. These questions refocus the buyers attention to the solutions rather than the problems.
i.e. If we could provide you with increased reliability, would that be of interest to you?
6) Qualifying I agree with Zig Ziglar there are suspects, prospects and customers and everyone is a suspect until they are qualified. I have many customers in many different sectors but they all have some common criteria. I have found that once I identified the most relevant information that I need to qualify a potential customer, it helps me to move past the ones that most likely wont do business with my organization anyway. It is worth the time to identify what companies meet your qualifying criteria.