Five Tactics to Improve Sales

 How attuned are you to your customer’s needs? 

Tuning in to customer needs
Like you, I often get approached by sales people who want to sell me something instead of trying to listen to see if I have a problem they can solve. It is a really important distinction. 

No matter what job you hold, every day someone is approaching you so that you will buy from them. It may be a product, a solution or a service. It could even be that they are selling an idea internally and want to gain your support. But it is still fundamentally a pitch.

Fine Tuning Your Dial 
When you are selling, how well attuned are you to pick up the frequencies emitted by potential customers? Are you dialed in? Are you really listening. Are you seeing things from their perspective? 

Here is a little experiment.  If you have an office, sit across from yourself for an hour. Imagine you are trying to sell yourself something. How do you want the sales person to behave?  What questions do you want them to ask you?  What is different from being on the other side of the desk?  How do you wish sales people (bosses, colleagues, others) would approach you? 

This experiment got me thinking how much I like it when I am asked open ended questions because it gives me (the customer) a chance to share with the sales person (you), what I need. 

When the customer is talking, the sales person is learning.

Nothing is ever more important when you begin an engagement with a prospect than to keep your yap closed.  It is as if a window to their world is opening and you get to watch, look and learn if you can just be self aware and shut up. Talking isn't learning. Listening allows you to start seeing a pattern of opportunity. Asking questions keeps the prospect giving you hints about what they need. 

Why Listening is the most important sales technique
You may be primed with glossy brochures, spiffy iPad presentations, features and benefits in your sales call but if you aren’t listening carefully, you are missing the pain points your customer is experiencing. She doesn’t care about the color, price and new software--- she has a problem that needs to be solved and it is possible you have the answer. 

I often think that a better investment than printing capability brochures or fancy websites is when marketing organizes training in listening for an organization. What a great benefit your company can gain when your sales team becomes a listening team learning to find opportunities and openings. 

Let me repeat: She (a potential customer) has a problem she wants to fix. She isn’t really interested in buying from you but I bet she appreciates being heard. 

Seeing things from the across the desk really matters.  If you can engage potential customers in a conversation that has them talking then you can listen to the problems and pressure they have. What patterns keep emerging from the conversation? Do you have a solution that fits what they are trying to accomplish.

Five Tactics to Improve Sales 
The Big Five

1. Ask more questions than statements. (“Tell me what keeps you up at night”, “What is your biggest concern that you spend most of your time wrestling with in your operation”).

2. Don’t give long answers but ask follow up questions. (Respond and redirect into another question)

3. Probe for more details that brings clarity to their problem. (Consider summarizing their problem like a headline so that you get right to the point)

4. Ask hypothetical questions like, “what if a product could do X, Y and Z for you?” Would that solve your problem.

5. Provide a clear next step. (“I am going to send you a one page summary of research results that clearly demonstrates that our product can do X, Y or Z and may solve your problem” Would you be interested in receiving it?

Any questions?

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