If you’re reading this blog you more than likely have a strong interest in the subject of sales and the art of selling.
So, with that said let me ask you a question.
Hypothetically you have been given the job of hiring a salesperson for the new division your company has just unveiled. Candidates are sitting in the reception area and one by one you begin the interview process.
So what do you look for? Prior experience? Performance with the statistics to back it up?
Attitude, drive and ambition? Of course, all of those attributes are vital. But there’s one skill that is common in every exceptional sales professional, the art of the conversion.
They know how to establish and develop it, all the while building agreement and gaining the prospect’s trust.
Ironically what the majority of weaker salespeople never seem to realize is that the sale is developed in these early stages through genuine interest and the desire to help, not later on with the help of some magical closing technique.
However establishing and developing that rapport at the beginning isn’t always easy for many and is not always taught in sales training, but it can be easier with the help of a “guide word” an acronym known as CORE.
As an aside the word core is defined as a “central or often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part” as in the sentence “success in sales is directly related to a mastery of eight core abilities.”
Here is CORE broken down into its four categories:
C is for Common Interest.
This could encompass any subject you and your prospect have a common interest in. For example you might notice a stamp collection in his office, or a football team he supports or a political party she is a proponent of. Regardless it must be a shared common interest. But remember an important rule of thumb, don’t ever pretend to know something more than you do. Your prospect will smell “pretended (false) interest” a mile away.
O is for Occupation.
Here is the business world in action. Ever wonder how your prospect attained that position of COO? Don’t be afraid to ask, “…if you don’t mind me asking, how did you get to be Chief Operating Officer of ABC Company, did you move up the ranks or did you come from another company?”
Additionally use the “O” here to represent Organization and talk about the company and its origins or latest advertising campaign and how impressed you were by it.
In a home setting it would be appropriate to ask a homeowner what line of work they are in or how much they are enjoying, or hating, retirement.
R is for Relationships.
Did you and the prospect attend the same school? Maybe you know someone they know or grew up in the same town. Relationships would include family (“…what school is your son attending?”, friends (“…no kidding, I know Mike Shea also”) or acquaintances (“Mike used to work at Xerox, maybe you knew his boss, Paula…).
E is for Expertise.
What exactly does their role include? What responsibilities do they have jurisdiction over? How difficult is the pilot training he (your prospect) had to endure? When talking with a business owner you might ask the question, “Tell me, how did you develop skills as a structural engineer and at the same time run this company as the CFO? It’s a fascinating combination of two very separate occupations.”
“E” relating to Entertainment can also be used effectively in social settings or again with a homeowner. Talk about movies, the theatre or even discuss the 1960’3 Mustang in his driveway or the jet skis in his garage.
CORE isn’t a panacea for every discussion, you must be creative and genuinely show interest in your prospects.
Start by doing some research prior to the appointment with CORE in mind.
Look at the company’s website, do some background checking into your prospect’s prior experience or current expertise.
Come prepared, add CORE, throw in a sprinkling of genuine curiosity and you have the perfect recipe for a great appointment.
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