There’s a stigma around salespeople these days, and that stigma is that the salesman or saleswoman is focused only on dumping information and making a sale. That is the wrong way to go about handling those meetings, according to nationally known sales expert and consultant Marvin Montgomery.
During a recent COSE WebEd Series Webinar, Montgomery laid out 7 tips that will get your customers thinking of you and your sales team more like trusted advisors instead of just someone looking to make a quick sale.
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One of the most important ways to get your customers to think of you and your team as advisors is to show that you are invested in what they have to say. And one of the best ways to indicate your interest is to show that you are listening. Montgomery discussed seven ways you and your sales team can indicate your interest:
1. State your purpose
To get things started, make sure the customer knows that the reason for the meeting is to find out exactly what their needs are and to provide a customized solution based on those needs. Set the expectation right up front that this is not just going to be an information dump on your part, but rather, a two-way discussion.
2. Ask questions
If you’re truly paying attention to what’s being said, then you should have some follow-up questions based on what your customer is telling you. Asking questions also surfaces any pain points your customer might have. (Keep in mind that there will be things a customer won’t tell you unless you ask, for instance, previous delivery problems they might have had with a vendor.)
When you do ask your sales suspect a question, make sure you pause and let them answer. Remember: You’re there to gauge whether your services will be helpful to this person and, if so, how you can create a customized sales solution that best fits their needs. With that in mind, it’s important to give them time to answer your question. So, ask your question. Then pause. Make a statement or ask another question. Then pause again, and so forth.
4. Take notes
Taking notes, either with old-fashioned pen and paper or by recording the meeting with your mobile device, signals to your client that you are listening to what they have to say as well. It also obviously will help you later on when you need to revisit what was said during the meeting.
5. Stay in the moment
Don’t assume to know where the customer might be going when they start to talk or race ahead to what might be said. Listen to what they are saying, and, again, ask questions if something is not clear.
When your customer responds to your question, try paraphrasing it back to them. This forces you to understand what’s being said and, again, shows you’re listening.
7. Body language
A lot of your message is nonverbal in nature so ensure you are nodding, leaning forward and maintaining eye contact.
Get more insightful sales tips such as this at COSE’s Sales Academy program. And click here to view upcoming Sales Academy programs, as well as other COSE events.