You pick up the phone, the decision maker is on the line, countless letters and attempts have been made to get to this point, your great benefit line comes out, response; “not interested, click”.
Want to be able to “engage” customers with out creating resistance? Here are 2 vital elements everyone needs to be influential and persuasive.
Now it does not matter if we are using the phone, walking in cold or in a retail setting. We need to avoid adding any additional resistance in the other persons mind. There is this avoidance of “sales people” in 80% of our population including other sales people. This is mainly because of product pushing, “I don’t want to be sold something”.
Here is the key; do I understand what the other person really wants? Do I have an idea of how to talk in their “language”? Can I ask a question that will drop resistance and engage them in conversation?
It has been proven time and time again that shoving your product in front of someone will create resistance to you and your product. Review the first and second key from the last article (4 Keys to Selling), your customer buys the “results” of your product/service/idea because it fixes, fills or satisfies their perceived needs or wants. This means your product/service/idea is just a means to and end, not the main issue.
1. Our first action is to take the time and determine just what is it that our product/service/idea does for the other person. Determine what the real results are from using your product/service/idea. Here are some examples.
A business owner might be looking for more time, better productivity, reducing hassle in some area, freeing up capital for something else.
A young mother with 3 toddlers might be looking for best value, more time, better direction, safety, even just a listening ear.
A plant manager might be looking for ways to get better compliance, reduce down time and get his numbers up, keeping his boss off his back.
Think of your past and current customers, what is it your product/service/idea did for them? What did it reduce, take away, eliminate or create? Also keep in mind that people have a tendency to avoid loss more than obtain gain. This means if you can provide a better “today”, it generally has more power than a better “tomorrow”.
In a recent training program we worked with a real conflict situation a participant was involved with. We ended up with over 50 “what’s in it for the other party” points that could be used to engage the other party in a positive way! It took 5 minutes!
2. Second you want to “engage” your prospect or customer in a positive way. The best way is to develop questions that can “engage” rather than repel.
Before we start, we have to understand what results your product can potentially provide for your customer. Here are some examples.
Office equipment: Reduce work load, eliminate paper, eliminate errors, streamline process, reduce labor expense, free up time, create in-house opportunities, and eliminate daily frustrations.
Real Estate Agent: Eliminate wasted time, reduce the stress of selling/buying, assure legalities are covered, target the market, professional image, experienced input, negotiations services, and eliminate the hassles.
Now there are many more and I suggest you create at least 20 for your product. Here is a hint, list the facts about your product, then all the benefits related to that fact and then ask, “What are the results to my customer/other party because of these benefits”.
Let’s now apply these to questions that “engage” our customers. We want to use “open” type questions that get people talking. If we don not have them talking we have only partial engagement. Open questions use what, why, how in their structure.
“Mr. Jones, what effect would a reduced work load have on your staff?”
“If you could eliminate both paper and errors in your current procedures, what would happen for you?”
“Just suppose the frustrations you face on a daily basis were gone, how would it change things for you?”
Now put yourself in the customer’s shoes, how would you react to the previous questions versus this?
“We sell copiers and office machines of the highest quality with excellent service, when could we meet to determine your needs?”
How many words are in this question that create resistance or could be rejected by the customer? Compare that to the three questions above, which ones “engage” and which question repels.
Now if your customer is a “D-I”* type you usually can ask for appointments or get quickly to the point. If you have an “S-C”* type they may want more info which you can give in the form of a quick example of another application you have done, not a litany of your products facts and benefits.
This has proven to be a much more viable way to engage customers and people in general than talking about your “stuff”. People are concerned about their issues and problems, not your product or you. Engage them by asking about what a “result” might do to their concerns and issues. You will find them much more open and willing to talk.
One of our participants in the Internet Technologies asked only one of these type questions and 20 minutes later closed on a million dollar deal! Just one question! The customer did all the talking and sold themselves. The power of engagement!
For more on building these skills and thinking patterns, check out the Influence and Persuasion Program and Reverse Engineered Sales at our web site www.hgoergerassoc.com
* DISC Behavior Patterns, ask us about how this can help you sell, manage and engage people.