It's All in the Sale: More Listening and Less Talking

When it comes to sales, whether you’re selling a product to a client, a concept to a potential investor, or even selling yourself to a future employer, it comes down to one important thing – selling is fulfilling a need. 

All too often we begin a sales presentation talking. We’re excited to share what we can do for you, how our company will help you, why you can’t live without this product or service. However, until you really understand the customer’s needs, how can you even begin to solve their problem?

Those who excel in sales are great listeners. One of the best things that I learned early on in my sales career with Vector Marketing was the concept of, “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion.”

Truly great salespeople don’t take things for granted or assume anything.  They not only ask a lot of questions, they ask good questions and keep prompting for clarification and details, until they understand the real need.

For example, our company sells the finest kitchen cutlery. However, as a sales representative, if I meet with a potential client and I begin by passionately sharing that we have the sharpest knives you’ll find anywhere, with a Forever Guarantee, I may find that my customer isn’t really interested. The truth is, she probably didn’t wake up this morning thinking, I really need to invest in some new knives.

However, what if I instead started out by asking her, “What is your biggest challenge after work each night?” and she says, “It’s such a struggle for my husband and I to find the time and energy to cook a good meal for our family, after racing home from work to pick up the kids from daycare.”

Now, I’m beginning to understand her point of view and her needs!

I could then follow up by asking, “What if I could eliminate some of that stress, by helping you prep your meals faster, and even enjoy the process?” Now, I’ve got her attention, because now I’m fulfilling her needs. 

Sometimes you have to ask the hard questions, the questions you don’t want to hear the answers to. “Why do you like using our competition?”  or “What do I need to improve upon, to be considered for this opportunity?”  While we may not always like the answers we hear, that’s the only way we’ll learn what’s necessary to improve. 

Have fun in your role-play competitions this year; you’re learning invaluable skills. Please remember one last final tip- sales isn’t a win-lose scenario.  It should always be win-win, if you’re doing it right!

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Categories: Business, Career Advice, College Career Advice, Compete, HS Competitive Events, Job Advice, Presentation Prep, Role Play, Strategies

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