Selling Isn’t Telling: Talk Less and Sell More

It’s true, selling is not telling. I just wrapped up another sales meeting where the sales rep did a great job of describing all the features their product has and a few high level benefits, but a true connection, moving the this opportunity to the next level was simply not made. And, that is a shame. If a customer/prospect is going to give you their time, they’re interested. They’re interested in your product/service and they are interested in you. But more importantly, they want you to be interested in them. Not just selling to them, but truly interested in them.

Too many times the sales team will go on and on during the presentation “telling” about:

  • Their history
  • The awards they’ve won
  • The features of their solution
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Why they are better than the competition

It’s not that these aren’t important, the prospect can find these on your website. Prospects don’t need sales people to tell them what they already know.

Success in sales starts with asking the right questions.

Selling really is simple. Selling is about communication – Understanding and then articulating the value you can bring to your prospective customer.

However value is subjective, so in order to understand what someone else values you have to first ask the right questions.

Start with some probing questions early in the meeting and adjust your presentation accordingly. Even if you are referred in and the prospect has a level of comfort with you, take your time and get to know them before you start to sell. Keep it conversational. Most sales people talk AT prospects – successful sales people talk WITH them.

Next, go beyond the general needs and budget questions. Clearly understand the purchasing process and decision making criteria. Often times, it’s not all about the money.

Just for a minute, imagine you being the prospect. You’ve been there before. Think about when you bought your last car, your last home, your last high tech appliance. If you’re a business executive or founder, what was important to you? What business initiatives were you executing? Are you struggling with the competition? Are you achieving desired market growth? You get the idea. The point is that unless you think like your prospect and really do some digging, some good old fashioned questioning, it will be almost impossible to know what is really important to them.

Engagement happens when you get people to tell you what’s important to them. What they need. What they want. What their obstacles are.

How do you know what to recommend to a prospective customer if you don’t know what they want, need or can afford?

This is a major difference between the top 10%, the individuals and teams who blow out their numbers and the remaining 90% who can’t understand why they aren’t closing enough business.

It really is this simple.

Selling isn’t Telling.

This guest post is courtesy of Phil Zalewski of The Park Wood Group


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