Staying on track during a sales call
As the saying goes, it takes two to tango; but what happens when one person is out of step with the other? Dangerous when one is a prospect and the other is you… How do you make sure that when you ought to tango, you’re both moving in the same direction and not treading on your prospect’s toes?
The answer is that you have to remain focused. If one gets distracted, then it’s up to the other to bring him / her back.
The same thing can happen in a sales call. One or another often gets distracted by side arguments. And any time that happens, it’s because the conversation has been allowed to drift. It means that both parties stopped paying attention.
This could happen for a whole host of reasons.
Maybe your prospects expressed an interest in something that is your out-of-work passion. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night, and so you’re struggling to concentrate. Maybe your prospect had a bad night and he / she can’t concentrate. Whatever the reason, you have to be prepared for this.
How do you do that?
How do you stay on track without irritating the other person with your single-mindedness?
You see the problem is that if you’re too rigid, then the person will feel that you’re more interested in getting through your presentation than listening to his / her problems.
That’s the key. The structure to your presentation has to be flexible enough to go with the flow of the problems your prospect faces.
Remember. The meeting is all about him / her. Not you. To listen to some sales presentations, you’d never get that impression.
Staying on track is about creating “scripts”. Think through the kinds of things that have pulled you off topic in the past.
How did you handle it? Were you able to get back on track? If not, what could you have done differently?
Let’s imagine what that might look like.
Suppose the greatest feature in your product is that it takes advantage of the “cloud”. That means, in theory anyway, that your prospects can access it from anywhere in the world, which means that they can use it whenever they want to.
Now suppose that unbeknownst to you, a competitor’s product offered the same capability. Let’s listen to what your prospect had to say when he / she used it.
“It was terrible. The cloud was supposed to be such a great thing, but I couldn’t get a strong enough Internet connection to use it. So it meant that my hands were tied most of the time. I couldn’t do my work if I travelled, and so it meant that I had to stay in the office or the hotel room. I couldn’t go out on site, which was the reason for going there in the first place.”
Whoops. How would you handle this?
The astute salesperson would say, “That won’t happen to me because I do my homework, and I know where these guys travel.” But hey – you can’t know everything, and even if you could you certainly don’t know where all the dead Internet spots are in the world.
How many of us can get a good phone signal in one place and then drive two miles to another location where you can’t get anything?
So that means that you have to anticipate the objections in order to control the side arguments.
How could you do that? By turning all of the strong points of your product into weak ones. Usually, we’re told to identify the weaknesses and to then reframe them as strengths; but what if you did it the other way around? What if you adopted a different tack by assuming that the strongest features actually cause your prospect the most problems?
There’s an old saying that “forewarned is forearmed”. This is a perfect example.
This is how you put yourself into the shoes of your prospects. This is how you see problems from their point of view; and this is how you avoid being caught off-guard, getting wrong-footed, or drawn off-task into a side argument that you’re not ready for.
This is how you stay on track – by preparing in advance for how your prospects might get side-tracked.
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