Talk Less, Sell More
As paradoxical as the title of this article sounds, by talking less, you are more likely to increase your sales and closure rates. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, let’s break it down.
When you were a kid in school, who was the kid who got into the most trouble for talking? Now, this is the kid that you don’t want to be.
Which kid was the teacher’s pet?
And, how did that kid become the teacher’s pet? Simple. By listening and answering whatever the teacher wanted answered.
It’s the same with sales. As a result of the stigma against salespeople (who are seen to be aggressive, pushy and even audacious), salespeople are starting to change their sales techniques to suit the modern sales world. So, stop overthinking and take these tips to heart! Here’s how to start selling rather than telling because when you understand this, you will see that it is a great deal more effective than to only speak, tell and sell.
• Bring a notebook with you
Even though we are in the age of smartphones and computers, it is sometimes simpler to jot down notes when prospecting or during a meeting with your client. This can help you formulate the direction that your meeting or pitch should be going towards. With a visual reference, your mind will be able to better connect the dots. It also works for when you need a reference if you are jittery or have forgotten relevant points and case studies – it’s not so great to whip out your phone and spend minutes scrolling through as you try to find the information you need. It could also double as a script with five to ten different, general questions for you to ask. These can include:
1. Where is your company at right now?
2. Where do you want to be?
3. How long do you have to get there?
4. What is your ultimate goal?
And even, if there is good rapport:
5. What do you need us to do?
• Be genuine
This tip has been brought up repeatedly because people are growing increasingly aware of EQ based sales techniques. This means that instead of talking at a person, you are focusing on talking to them. What’s the difference? Well, instead of rushing through your script and bombarding them with all the features, benefits, testimonials and client lists the minute you open your mouth, you instead ask them what they are looking for, what they need and why they need it. Establish a bond and build rapport beyond just closing the sale. Authenticate your claims of being the “best”, “top”, “highly acclaimed” with real stories from past clients. It is a plus to mention bad experiences as well that you’ve dealt with in a professional, timely manner that has only solidified your status as a great product/service provider.
• Keep track of how much time you spend talking
Research back in 2015 proved that an average human had a reduced attention rate (8.25 seconds) when compared to the year 2000 (12 seconds) – that’s a 30% reduction, imagine how much it would have decreased by 2020? As such, keep your speaking to a minimum and only ask the relevant questions. It’s better that you let them talk than have them listen to you talk because, at the end of the day, you have an agenda to fulfil – you will be more invested and focused in the call/pitch and you will need to be 100% switched on, listening. Your prospect/client has less to lose and thus, more leeway for disinterest and distraction. By keeping track of how much time you spend talking, you will be able to re-evaluate your performance for performance gaps, issues you could have handled better, questions that could have prompted more information in one go and so on.
• Don’t always feel the need to fill in the gaps
By gaps, we don’t mean gaps in their performance, strategies or needs – those are the kinds of gaps salespeople are meant to be filling. What we are referring to is the gaps in conversations. Small moments of silence, even if a little awkward, are good and sometimes even necessary. This is because conversational gaps will allow your client to digest information and formulate better questions. Don’t rush to fill in these gaps because you are afraid of being thrown hard-to-answer objections. As a salesperson, you should be ready to handle any objection you are given. If you can’t, learn from your shortcomings and improve for the next pitch or meeting. Don’t be brought down by one bad experience, as a salesperson you need to be made of tougher stuff.
There is a simple, 3 step answering rule:
1. Pause –
When your clients are done speaking, let there be a pause. Not long enough that you seem uncertain of a response, but just enough time for them to add on to their statement or to include a question that they had as an afterthought. Instead of launching into the rehearsed script you had ready the minute you think you identified a selling point, take the time to really digest what they have told you and answer accordingly.
2. Clarify –
If you feel like the client is holding back on a need, ask. If you believe that you might be misinterpreting their needs, ask. If there is a chance that your idea might be whacky but potentially groundbreaking for them, ask them if they are willing to take the risk. As important as it is to listen, it is just as important to ask. Over time, you will be able to compile a list of set questions to bring with you at every meeting, pitch or on every call. You will only know which questions work and which don’t when you try them out with your clients and prospects.
3. Provide a solution –
I use the word “provide” rather than “give” because by establishing yourself as a “provider”, you are creating a mental space where you will be able to control the amount of information you give your clients by instead, thinking of ways to provide solutions to them. This is an effect of listening to them and they will notice you doing this. If you think of yourself being there to “give” a solution, you are more likely to spell out all the different things your product/service can do for them, even if these features are not what they need.
Are you finding it difficult to get the right balance of listening and selling? Or, are you unfamiliar with the challenge of deviating from your script? Our Public Programmes will set you up with the easily applicable, proven techniques to solve your sales woes. Contact us below or explore our Public Programmes.