When on a sales call, do you hear your voice more than the prospectís? Do you find yourself explaining and educating to establish your credibility and expertise? Are you displaying your knowledge in the hope of generating interest and enthusiasm? Are you discussing the features and benefits of your company and your product or service? If you answer "yes," you talk too much!
At the end of a sales call, your prospect has learned more about you and your services than you have learned about him or her. You didnít find out much about how your prospect perceives salespeople like you, about his or her preferences in doing business, how he or she prefers to make decisions, about what was tried in the past Ė what has worked and what hasnít.
After the sales call, when you are back in your office, do you find yourself trying to figure out some critical elements like budget information, what the decision process is, or how committed is the prospect? Are you unsure why some prospects buy from you and why some donít. Again, if you answer "yes," youíre in trouble. You are relying on mind reading, rather than on your ability to ask questions, especially tough questions, and get answers.
If asking questions is difficult or uncomfortable for you, you are probably finding it just as difficult to get your prospects to make commitments and decisions. The result is that you do all the work, jump through all the hoops, while your prospectís sense of urgency seems to disappear and he or she becomes harder to reach.
Are you still uncomfortable handling stalls and objections from your prospects and clients? Have you used those one-liners youíve been taught, but they just donít seem to get you where you need to go in the sales process? Have you tried all those "guaranteed" closing techniques you learned only to find your prospect knew them better than you? If so, you have fallen into the technique trap. Sales relationships are built on bonding, rapport, communications and understanding between individuals, not on techniques.
What can you do about it? The first thing you must do is decide you WILL do something about it! Exactly how much longer will you put up with these roadblocks which have been holding you back?
The second thing you must do is accept the fact that you will have to make some changes. It is usually not for the lack of technique or trying that you experience the above problems. Itís more likely a combination of your fears ("Oh, I could never ask my prospect that . . .") and your prior belief system ("Prospects arenít going to reveal that information even if I do ask . . .") which handicap and prevent you from breaking through the barriers to greater levels of success.
Third, you must be willing to exercise your rights as a salesperson. Yes, salespeople have rights, too! You have the right to the truth, even though sometimes itís not what you want to hear. You have the right to ask questions to determine where you are in the selling process and what is going to happen next. You have the right to determine early in the process whether there is a real business opportunity there for you. You have the right to determine where and with whom you will invest your time.
Please note the sequence of this three-step solution. You must first be committed to the change before it will happen. As you begin to change your beliefs and behaviors and exercise your rights, you will probably experience some short-term discomfort, the kind which accompanies change. This discomfort is short-lived, however, and will be worth the trade-off of greater long-term success.