Many salespeople believe that their sales pitch is everything. They work hard to develop a script or answers to common questions and rebuttals, making sure that they have every base covered. They spend their time telling people about their products, and spend very little time listening to responses that are not orders. These salespeople are missing out.
The voice of the customer is your most important tool to getting sales. When you make your sales pitch more of a conversation, and listen to your potential customers, you will get more orders. It really is as simple as that.
You may have heard that as a manager, as a friend, or when meeting new people, that it is better to listen than to talk. We do, after all, have two ears and only one mouth. There is a reason for this. When you truly listen to your prospects, it is much easier to identify their needs, and present solutions that will sell themselves.
The key to this is to ask your customers probing questions. Probing questions are those that prompt the individual to respond in a favorable way. They are not open ended or general. They are very specific questions to elicit a specific response. For example, if you are selling health insurance, you do not want to ask your customer how are they doing today, but rather, are they feeling healthy today. This will open up conversation about their health, and whether or not they are satisfied with their current health coverage or plan.
This example would be a great opener for conversation, but further questions should be more specific. “Do you have health insurance?” Or, “Are you currently looking for a healthier lifestyle?” As you get them to talk about themselves, their problems and needs will naturally come up. You can then present solutions to their problems by offering information about your products and services.
In most cases, this approach leads to a soft sell. You do not even have to ask for the order, because the customer will see for themselves that they need what you are offering. All you must do is listen to them, make them your friend, and then offer them a solution. They will take that solution and run with it.
This is the best way to generate repeat customers as well. Because you have taken the time to listen to them and get to know them better, they will feel that they can trust you in the future. They will feel as though you are a trusted friend, and return to you for all of their related needs.
Jennie is a customer service consultant and author of numerous books on marketing. She recommends enterprise feedback management from Mindshare to businesses looking to significantly improve customer satisfaction.