By Rob Stern
Synopsis: This is about thinking like your specific prospect and how you can help them understand and see the value in what you offer through their perspective. This approach is essential if you want to truly communicate, break down barriers, and show people a better path to solving problems.
We can take a cue from the University of Berkeley Haas School of Business: “Confidence without Attitude: We make decisions based on evidence and analysis, giving us the confidence to act without arrogance. We lead through trust and collaboration.”
Who are the players and who do they answer to?
Titles, education, background, relevant industry information, prospect-specific articles, etc.
Get your game face on:
It’s show time! Act like it!
This is important for gathering key information that will allow you to get a desired result. It should be executed strategically and with finesse.
Pro Tip: The Discovery should not be an interrogation. This should occur within the context of a conversation.
It is important to ask the right questions. Let them talk and make sure you listen. Go deep enough to uncover problems that you can solve.
What are you looking for in the Discovery?
Pro Tip: Features are not Hot Buttons. Hot Buttons are emotions tied to features. Hot Buttons are “Why” something is important, as opposed to “What” is important.
Hot Buttons are also called 3rd Level Emotional Dominant Buying Motives:
1st level is the feature, 2nd level is the problem that feature solves, 3rd level is the emotion tied to solving the problem. The 3rd level is a personal reason and will motivate people to make a purchase despite obstacles.
Pro Tip: You might not always get to find out what that 3rd level is, but as long as the client sees it you are on your way.
Who is Going to Win, You or Your Ego?
It is ok to ask questions you already know the answer to?
D) Only on a Wednesday
Uncovering pain (bigger motivator than a hope for gain)
Think about this when you are asking questions. People will move away from pain quicker than they will move towards something better.
Pro Tip: Don’t expect to be able to simply ask if they have pain and have them tell you everything. Yes you can ask, but chances are you are going to have to be a little more creative to get the full story or even any of the story.
Do not use the Shotgun Approach:
This means you should not tell them everything all at once and hope you catch their interest. You have to be precise. Time is not unlimited. So be smart.
Clarify. Make sure you understand what the prospect is saying. Do not guess. Many times you will find this leads to elaboration or clarification on a key point. It keeps everybody on the same page and ensures you are speaking directly to what is important to the prospect.
Why wait for them to speak, even if there is silence?
Most of the time the best information is on the tip of their tongue, and they just need a few more moments to think it through.
Often times, people will feel compelled to keep talking and give you another nugget or kernel of information that will be invaluable to you.
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it . . .
Pro Tip: Resist the urge to speak every time there is a pause in the conversation. Silence is golden. You can also say something like, “Tell me more” or “What else?”
Why not interrupt when you understand what they are saying?
You are like an archaeologist trying to excavate information.
Do not impede on this process. Cutting them off is like digging a hole for a bit and then saying “Got what I wanted” or “Nothing here” and covering it back up and digging a new hole. The good stuff is buried deep.
Letting people talk and think and talk some more is such a powerful way to get more information faster. It sounds counter intuitive, because you want to interrupt and get your point across. Try it anyway.
Other reasons to not interrupt even if you decide they are confused or that you think you know where they are going with their question?
It puts them on the defensive.
It makes them less likely to share information.
It makes you appear anxious.
Never ask more than one question at a time. . .
Never ask more than one question at a time. . .
Never ask more than one question at a time . . .
They will answer none of the questions or only part of the question.
Preparing for a presentation:
What is a presentation?
This is the “Proof of Concept” and if everything was executed correctly ahead of time a sale should be confirmed by the end of the presentation.
What you should know before the presentation begins?
By this time you should already know your prospect’s “Hot Buttons” and what they need to see to make a purchase and for what price.
Make sure you answer questions they have for the reason they asked it, not just for what it is on face value.
If someone asks if they can do something specific, find out why they want to do it.
You may even steer them to a feature or service that is much better for solving their problem than they anticipated.
When is the best time to have a conversation about the relevant product or service?
Answer: When you are face to face with everyone who needs to weigh in present.
When is the best time for the client to make a decision?
Answer: (See previous answer.)
Who will answer those questions not answered during a presentation after you leave?
A.The Wizard of Oz
B.They will figure it out themselves
D.Don’t worry they will call or email you to make sure they didn’t say no for the wrong reason
Pro Tip: Stay on track. Make sure you are listening and addressing relevant issues. Remember this is not about you. This is about the client. Part of your job is to make sure they go through the entire thought process while you are present and can answer questions.
Tackle the opponent, not your own player.
In a team selling environment everyone has to be running the same play.
If I ask a prospect a question that we already know the answer to because I am looking for clarification or elaboration what should other people on the team do?
A) Answer the question for the client.
B) Ignore the question because we already know the answer and start a new line of dialogue.
C) Wait for the client to elaborate.
D) Ask additional questions before the client can answer.
Communication from the Prospect’s Perspective:
Who does a prospect trust most?
C.An unbiased third party
For achieving a sale what method of communication do you think works best?
C.Helping them reach their own conclusion
D.Jedi Mind Trick
Objections can be one of two things:
Things to throw you off the path because they don’t understand or are feigning interest because they feel a need to participate, deflect or say something . . . anything regardless of interest level.
They have a question because they don’t understand.
They may be defensive because they are concerned it costs too much; it’s not the right fit; or something else relevant to their personal life experiences: right, wrong or indifferent.
They had a bad experience, and they think this will be the same thing. So they don’t care or listen to what you say because they don’t want to relive any more pain.
How to deal with objections:
First two things . . .
Control your emotions:
If your face turns red, your expression sours, your posture changes, your voice is shaky or changes pitch (i.e. you act nervous or angry) you have just taken a giant leap backwards. If instead you smile, relax and respond by asking a clarifying question, you will be in a much better position.
What is this called?
C.Done before you started
We have no need for this. We already have XYZ that does the exact same thing.
What this is?
That is a defensive position from the part of the person speaking.
What should you do?
This is a chance to congratulate them by saying, “That is fantastic. It sounds like you have this down to a science.”
“I have heard that works very well.”
Pro Tip: They may start telling you issues they have with their current situation, but this is something you should let them bring up. Ask questions that get them to relive their current situation by having them walk you through the details. You do this by asking the right questions.
What are we doing here?
A.Letting them shut us down
B.Thinking about what is for lunch
C.Gathering useful information
D.Getting them to think out loud
Body Language & Vocal Inflections:
Body language tells more than words.
Vocal inflections tell more than words.
Remember it’s not what they say but what they think that is important.
Signs you may have some work to do:
Are they folding their arms?
Are they looking away when they speak?
Is there dialogue halted or stiff?
Signs that you are on the right track:
Leaning forward with hands on the table and feet pointed forward
Asking buying questions, like the following:
When can we start?
How long does it take to implement?
How much does it cost?
Taking Temperature/Trial Closes:
What is your start date to implement this project?
How many would you like?
Who will sign the agreement?
How many user licenses are you going to need?
Why this is important?
This will allow you to read vocal inflections and body language, and they might even come out and get specific on facts. In any event it is a good way to draw out useful information, so you can realign your course as necessary and make sure you are aiming at the right target.
3rd party stories:
Sharing appropriate stories about existing clients.
Painting a picture of success.
What not to do?
Do not tell a 3rd party story about a client who did something that falls short of what the prospect already does.
Even if they may be misinformed on their view, you have just blown all sorts of credibility and will have to back peddle.
So make sure you understand the lay of the land before you start blazing a trail.