My 5 top tips are based on many, many years of mistakes when talking to clients…
- Don’t answer your own questions!
Answering your own questions is the fastest way to turn off a prospect and cut off the flow of useful information. Be quiet and let them talk freely. Why? Because you will gain more high quality information from them and uncover what they need.
Do this instead: Be quiet, let them respond fully and take notes. Once you ask a question, always give them enough time to respond fully and completely. Don’t try to lead them into a direction that you want to go with the conversation. Don’t prompt them. And most importantly, do not interrupt them. Which brings us to the next point…
- Don’t forget to listen to them – yes I know I keep on saying it! It is THAT important.
Contrary to popular opinion, sales is not about pitching solutions from the minute you walk in the door. Or about constantly asking for the sale. NO. Sales is mostly about listening to a client and uncovering what it is that they have to say. You’re here to gather information about them and what they need. Ideally you should only ever do 20 to 30% of the talking on any sales call you make in person or over the phone.
Do this instead: Talk less. When they are answering your question, listen carefully and take notes. Ask clarifying questions just like those above.
- Don’t make it seem like an interrogation.
Yes, we know. There may be a ton of questions you need to ask to get from point A to point B, but you don’t have to ask them all rapid-fire like a cross-examination in a courtroom or police station. No, instead you want to build rapport with them and keep the conversation flowing.
Do this instead: Keep the conversation natural. Pick out a couple of questions from some of those we have suggested before, and listen to your prospect to keep the conversation going. Remember they are the star, not you.
- Don’t jump straight into the solution.
When any client talks about their problem, it is tempting to jump in and offer a solution straightaway. But doing so will more than likely turn off the prospect. It may even erase or destroy any opportunity for you to gather more information and potentially valuable insights that help you understand the problem fully.
Do this instead: Be cautious, be curious. Think like a journalist. Explore their problem from all possible angles and prompt them to talk more so you can develop a better fitting solution for them. Save your pitch for the end, or on a later call. There has been many a time when I have left a client and come back to them with a solution only after I have had time to gather the right information for them.
- Don’t fake enthusiasm.
Eager to prove themselves some novice radio sales reps have been guilty of “trying too hard” and come off as overly enthusiastic, hard headed or obnoxious. They might say “awesome!” or “that’s amazing!” and other exclamatory phrases. Please don’t do it. The problem is most business owners can smell this a mile away, and it’s not a good look, and you will be talked about after you leave.
Do this instead: Focus on listening to them. They should be your whole world. Act naturally, and don’t try to impress them with what you have done before, or what you think you can do for them now. Offer genuine responses (1-2 sentence insights = less than 2 minutes for each of your responses) to their answers.
And that’s my top 5 mistakes – sorry, my top 5 sales mistakes that you can make (yes, ok, I made these when I was in sales – but now you don’t have to as you are aware of them).
So until next time… keep on selling!