Too often sales people push their products, feature dump or talk ill of their competitors. The ideal sales person is a Sales Consultant. The term Sales Consultant refers to a sales person who asks detailed probing questions and listens carefully to their clients needs. A Sales Consultant helps their clients grow their business so that the two companies can both grow together. A basic or simple sales person simply tries to take business that already exists.
So how can you be a Sales Consultant?
1. Be prepared. Go to your client’s website , linked in or google their company to learn as much as you can before calling. Failing to do so is lazy and disrespectful.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. Alexander Graham Bell
2. Build Rapport. Build a connection with your customer by being personable, neatly dressed if in person and be sincere. Looking around their office for something to pose a connection to is disingenuous and fake.
It is important to respect your customers time and space. Use a public restroom before visiting their office, do not read any names on the paperwork on their desk. Give sincere compliments on their knowledge and give your customer the ability to educate you. To build rapport, remember the following quotes:
“Rapport equals trust plus comfort” Neil Strauss
“Rapport is the ultimate tool for producing results with other people. No matter what you want in life, if you can develop rapport with the right people, you’ll be able to fill their needs and they will be able to fill yours” Tony Robbins
3. Ask open-ended questions. Ask the most broad questions as possible to start
“When you talk you are repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another has to say” Bryant McGill
4. Follow up questions. Things such as
“To be heard we must first listen”… LR Knost
5. Move them to topics that parallel to your strengths. “So you mentioned that quality is important. I know we are more expensive but if it cut down on your rejects would that actually save you money?” This transition should be smooth and fit into something they have already said
6. Be respectful of their time. Remember that learning about your client is not an interrogation and should not feel clinical. This means that you should sound smooth and listen closely to signs they need to go. Sometimes you can bring up a subject that makes them want to stay and talk but the most important thing is to remember to be respectful.
“Respect is not imposed nor begged. It’s earned and offered.” Author unknown
7. Winding down. Once you get a good direction or course of action its important to transition the end of the meeting or conversation. You can be honest that you have a conference call but the best is to be direct and say “I need to go but I will send you the samples or quote you requested by tomorrow. Is that OK?” And always , always keep your word.
Remember that as humans, there is no sweeter sound than to hear our names or the sound of our own voices. Are you speaking to your client so that you get to hear your own voice or so that they get to hear theirs? Ask detailed , probing questions, listen, be respectful and do what you say you will do. Simple.
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