Getting Prospects to Sell Themselves
When a deal starts to go pear-shaped sales people tend to over-react. They try to sell more. They point out the features again. They repeat the benefits. They underscore the bonuses. They even make concessions that they hadn’t planned to make. It looks desperate because it is.They do the exact opposite of what they should do and instead of making things better, things only get worse.
Get prospects to sell themselves
You can avoid this by getting prospects to sell themselves; by getting them to answer their own objections. When you do that, they may even think that what you have suggested was their idea. It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. As long as you don’t care, which means that you don’t try to tell them, you can make progress; and that’s the goal. You mustn’t lose sight of that.
The power of questions
One of the best ways to get your prospects to sell to themselves is to ask questions where you know the answers already. Not ones that argue a point, such as those which are rhetorical, but ones that remind your prospects of certain facts – such as why you’re having this telephone conversation or this meeting, what their needs are, the urgency of a solution, or what it’s costing their company to operate without it. Psychologically speaking, what you’re doing is stirring up their pain. Once you’ve done that, their emotions will persuade them that they need a solution as soon as possible. It’s then your job to make sure that they recognize you as the best provider of that solution. They need to sell themselves on this, too.
Sales people tend to talk too much. We affectionately refer to it as the “gift of gab”, but it can be tedious to be on the receiving end of it. You don’t want to make the sale by browbeating your prospects into one. You don’t want people to buy just to get you out of their office. You want the sale because they recognize that what you offer solves a problem they have. That’s where repeat business comes from.
Some prospects will “talk process”; that is, they verbalize their thoughts. What that means is that you need to learn to keep quiet. Let your prospectsthink out loud without interruption from you. When you talk, you interfere with their ability to do so, and that means that you prevent them from selling to themselves.
Lead them to buy
Leading the thought process with questions also means that the answers they get take them to the conclusion that you want them to reach. Notice that they realize the answers. In other words, they are figuring them out for themselves. Your reasoning has to be logical, but can’t rely on it alone. When prospects sell it to their own hearts, their heads will justify what they feel. Here again, you have to know when to keep quiet. Let them draw their own conclusions, and then clarify any misunderstandings there may be.
Body language does apply
Your body language can give you away, too; especially your eyes. If you doubt this, then analyze a photograph of someone who you think is very happy. Cover his or her face from the nose down with your hand. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes. Suddenly someone who seemed to be brimming with joy instead will look fearful or hurt.
When you start to lose a sale, your face may “fall” in a similar fashion. That means that you will have to practice controlling that emotion. When the bottom falls out of your heart, it’s revealed in your eyes, and your prospect sees it straightaway. That may be one reason why eye contact is lost. It could be a defence mechanism that keeps someone from revealing his or her true feelings. But when you stop looking at your prospects, then it also suggests that you have something to hide; that you’re not being honest. And if truth be told, you do. You’re trying to prevent them from seeing your disappointment.
Get out of their way