By Lisa Terrenzi, CEO, SELLability
Our topic this month, for our blogs and newsletter, is Contact—one of the vital “8 Cs” of selling. An important part of contacting is paying attention to your prospect.
In training salespeople, one trait I see very often is the salesperson working very hard to force attention onto themselves—their personality, their product, their features, and so on—instead of putting their attention on the prospect, where it should be. This is understandable because you’re trying to sell yourself, and your product or service. But if you’re busy forcing attention onto yourself, that leaves little to no attention for the prospect.
At SELLability we place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of listening. If the majority of your attention is on you, then you’re probably not listening. If you’re not listening, you’re missing things that are going to help you complete each step of the sales process.
Listening and being interested will cause you to ask more questions, based on your understanding. If you’re really not understanding the customer, then you fail to follow up with important questions. For example, the customer may tell you an important piece of information, but a detail might be missing. If you’re listening and paying attention, you’re going to follow that up.
Getting the Prospect Talking
One of our blogs this month is concerned with getting the prospect to talk. Often when a salesperson is trying to capture attention, it is in an effort to get the prospect talking. Of course, this is important, because if you don’t find things you and the prospect can agree on, then the sale will not proceed. But you can see that the attention must be mostly on your prospect—otherwise, you won’t notice when the prospect gives you something vital, that you need to know so you can move the sale forward.
One of the biggest temptations that can happen when you’re getting to know a prospect is this: you’re talking with them, making an effort to understand their issues and how your product or service could solve them, and then they suddenly bring up a subject on which you’re an expert. The temptation to just jump in and talk all about that topic is enormous. It’s something about which you can communicate effectively because you know all about it.
I definitely have personal experience with this. I’ve been in the situation where a prospect brought up Microsoft and began talking about a Microsoft division I had intimate knowledge about. They had viewpoints and opinions that were actually wrong. The decision I had to make at that point was: how important was it that I correct them? Was it really critical to the conversation?
You have to make a similar decision, and remember why you’re there. It’s to understand the prospect, their needs, wants, problems and desires.
Make sure the lion’s share of attention is on your prospect, maintaining just enough on yourself to keep the conversation going in the right direction.
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