The Genuine Interest Approach
This BEAM is on a #sales topic that I find it necessary to visit again and again. The topic of asking your clients questions. Yes, I know that every other sales consultant and trainer is harping on this point. But helping sales people improve, without addressing this need is like: Trying to teach people how to swim without first teaching them to float.
Being honestly concerned about the wants of your client or prospect is a critical foundation to sales excellence. You can always tell the rep that is just interested in them-self and not their customer. They stand out like a sore thumb, reek of pettiness and insincere sales ploys. — These Shallow sales approaches can work to an extent, in some settings but not most. And a more competent, professional sales style always involves a more sincere interest in the customer, and this wise approach will work in every setting.
My wife and I are on vacation. We own a time-share in Hilton Head, South Carolina. And a regular part of this annual journey is the “owner’s meeting.” It is presented as a time to inform owners about new developments with their property but usually turns into an unwelcome stage, for high pressure sales tactics. With an experienced background in nearly every kind of sales setting; I am the worst guy to try to use a cheap force feeding sales approach with. It never works.
So when the representative was to begin our hour long session, (which was promised to be right there at the location), by demanding rather insistently that we get in his car and go somewhere else. This did not work out very well. He made no friend and He made no sale.
A simple question or two about what we expected and what we were told to get us there, BEFORE he tried to kidnap us and take us elsewhere; could have yielded better results. Or at least avoided a potential disaster.
Being genuinely interested in your prospect or client always involves the use of Open Questions. Open questions are best understood as those that are used to encourage conversation, without influencing the answer. They Set the stage and they avoid horrible misfires, like the Time-Share salesman who tried to force feed me in a sales approach, before he knew a single thing about me.
If you ask No questions, you are fishing in a bath tub and have no idea what you are aiming for. If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll probably get the wrong answer, or at least not quite what you’re hoping for.
So remember, it is more important to get your client to open up; than for you to. And this only happens with Open Questions. Open questions elicit longer answers. They usually begin with what, why, how. An open question asks the person for his or her knowledge, opinion or feelings. “Tell me” and “describe” can also be used in the same way as open questions. Here are some examples:
What happened to make you feel that way?
Why do you think that is true?
How was your experience with the last service like this one, that you purchased?
Tell me what you are looking for.
Describe for me, what you really want in detail.