Customer Experience News & Trends

What salespeople often forget during a presentation

When your salespeople make a presentation, they could be so focused on the sale that they forget one of the basics.

Asking good questions is an essential element of any presentation. Solid questions let your salespeople find out whether a prospect is an appropriate match for your products or services.

Effective questioning also establishes the rapport that makes fluid communication possible. Sales are usually lost because of a failure to uncover enough information from the customer.

Building credibility

Good questions help your salespeople show they’re interested in customer needs and not just in pushing a product or service.

Here are some guidelines to share with your salespeople:

* Focus your questions. The more specific your questioning, the more it will be clear to the prospect that you have thought enough about your meeting to do your homework. Vague, wandering discussions around the topic hinder your credibility. Make sure you understand precisely what it is you’re asking for.

* Listen intently. Demonstrate to the prospect that you’re actively listening, with the appropriate body language and supportive response. Intent listening shows that you’re concerned with your prospects’ needs – with what they feel and think about the situation. Showing a real interest in what prospects are saying is one of the most effective methods for getting them to listen to you. Remember, customers deserve and expect your full attention.

* Avoid telling prospects what they can and can’t or shouldn’t do. Focus on what you can do to serve them better. Avoid setting restrictions on their behavior.

* Try to avoid sounding like a know-it-all. You should know more about your product or service than the prospect. But that’s irrelevant. Credibility is never established by making the customer feel he or she is inadequate. It’s established by giving clear, comprehensive answers at the prospect’s level of understanding.

* Uncover all of the necessary information before providing your solutions. Don’t prematurely provide answers before you have enough information. What you may define as being the need may be completely different from what the customer perceives. Try to dig deeper to find all the relevant information.

* Ask the customer to verbalize how much weight each need will carry in the overall decision-making process. What customers feel is a major buying issue may appear different to them if they put the need into words. The overall importance of a certain need may diminish when it’s compared to other issues relating to the purchase.

* Gain agreement after presenting one solution before going on to the next. Don’t provide solution after solution without gaining agreement on each solution presented. Failing to ask for agreement after each solution is proposed may result in significant roadblocks: First, you will not know which solution was unacceptable and why.

Adapted from Questioning Your Way to Sales Success (Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ) by Dave Kahle. Mr. Kahle is president of David Kahle Co., a sales training company.

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