Tim was dumbfounded at their request…
Two months ago, I had the pleasure of working with the technical training group for one of my clients. You know these guys. They are the techies who teach your customers how to use the software and operate the equipment we sell. They often come along on demos just to make sure we don’t make total fools of ourselves. Unfortunately, too often we fear that they will stray from their role and start talking. Who knows what will happen then!
This group had asked me to teach them how to sell since they not only talk with their own sales people, but their customers are usually resellers and interested in sales, too. They believed that if they understood a little about sales, they would be able to do a better job helping sales people use their information as a tool to make more sales. They wanted to talk their language.
What a concept!
I talked with them on a teleconference today and I’m happy to report that they are doing great, except for one issue. The techies showed the sales people how to find customers for each product. They tied all the features and benefits into customer value points. They even showed the sales people how to do a demo that closes a sale. Bravo!
Then came the big question…
Tim said that some sales people consistently asked him to reduce each offering down to one sentence or ‘elevator speech’. They wanted canned lines for everything. He came back a little frustrated with these individuals, and I don’t blame him. I had taught them a consultative approach. One that was based on questions and intelligent responses that connected with the prospect, not canned pitches that require little thought or probing.
What would you say to a prospect who asked you, “What can that do for me?” Would you throw out a litany of canned feature and benefit statements, hoping that one or two would hit the mark? Or would you say, “I don’t know. Tell me a little about your needs and I’ll tell you how this might fit in your situation”?
Selling does not have to be complicated, but it does take some effort. Let’s can the canned responses and make the effort to connect with every prospect through knowing their needs.
Ps: Respect your technical support team. They just might be the best sales tool you have.
You might also be interested in my article, "20 Questions That Uncover Your Value". To get a free copy, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Waterhouse is Principal and Founder of Waterhouse Group (www.waterhousegroup.com), a sales consulting and training company that helps companies dramatically increase their sales. He can be reached at 1-800-57-LEARN or email@example.com.
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