Often the most important part of your sales pitch is when you are completely silent. We often rush through all the great benefits of why a customer would buy, without really listening to them tell us what they need…why they might buy from us. Silence is often uncomfortable and we feel the need to fill the space, but silence is often one of the most important pieces of the sales puzzle.
It’s not what we say that makes the sale, it’s what we can get the prospect to say.
Begin with Questions
Think about how many times you launch right into your presentation thinking you know what the prospect wants. Sometime later, often too much later, you find you’re on the wrong track. The prospect has an entirely different need – one you might have uncovered by asking open-ended questions that required more than a yes or no response. Then you could have focused on what the customer wanted instead of what you had to sell. Stop thinking so much about what you are going to say and concentrate on what the prospect is telling you.
It’s a paradox: the more we try to tell the prospect up front, the more barriers we create to the purchase. The more we listen to why he or she wants to buy, the more we can tailor our delivery to providing very specific information concerning how our product or service fits his or her needs.
Ask More Questions
The opening question is merely the first in a series of questions that guide the dialogue. If we want to involve someone – the first step in convincing that someone – every comment should end with a question that solicits more information. After you ask a question, let the prospect answer, don’t be too anxious to fill the silence.
Don’t Rush in with Answers
Break yourself of the habit of jumping in too quickly after the prospect finishes. Instead, train yourself to wait several seconds after the customer has stopped talking before they begin. That gives you ample time to think about your response and answer in a way that reflects the customer’s concerns.
Get in a habit of paraphrasing what the prospect has said. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding what was said, and it boosts the prospect’s ego.
Learn to Listen
You need to learn to listen with your eyes, ears, and entire body. Use body language that shows you are paying close attention and your listening habits will automatically improve.
And finally, listen for buying signals. You’ll never remember a buying signal from the customer when you’re doing all the talking.