What was the last time you have conversed with someone at a bus stop or supermarket? Someone that you have never met before? OK! Let’s put it differently. When was the last time you have really engaged in a conversation with someone outside your regular circle of friends? Someone that you have known for years but never said more than a good morning or a good afternoon, a neighbor or the mail man! Well, you are probably doing the same with your clients! OK, I ask you again: when was the last time you have really engaged in a conversation with a client? Probably too much time ago!
I would like to share with you an example of absence of conversation in sales that happened to me today. I was shopping when suddenly my phone rang. I answered, and guess what? It was my Gym’s sales rep. She started by presenting herself, what was well done, but then big mistake! Without any previous conversation she informed me that my “contract” was seating there without being renewed since July (when my pre-paid 6-month enrollment period finished), and therefore, they were calling to ask me if they could kill it or if I was interested in renew it! Amazing isn’t it? They spent time and money just to ask me, for this same order, can we kill your account, or do you want to renew it! So I thought, ‘they are not interested in knowing if I am interested or happy with their services. They just wanted to know if they could clean up some administrative documents. So, I answered: ” Well, I will pass by this weekend thank you for calling”, and cut the talk short. Although, I am renewing, I am doing it because I like the gym not because I liked the approach. Otherwise they would have lost two clients: myself and my husband. Wrong move!
How many errors did she do with this one phone call? Too many! And I am referring only to Sales errors.
[Sales] Lessons Learned: 1) Never call a client to ask: “May we kill your account?”; 2) Do not call a client to ask why she is not buying your products in a rude and too direct way; 3) Never forget to converse with your client before presenting whatever you have to present her; 4) When calling to a client be prepared: have a plan, understand what is the need and how can you satisfy it; have a strong message to delivery and prepare the different answers you may end up with in order to have a positive outcome what would be a face-to-face meeting; 5) Never push for a decision over the phone, try instead to schedule a face-to-face meeting where you will be able to better understand your client’s motivations and needs and present a tailor made solution.
However, If everything you have it is a phone call, please be wise and be prepared! After preparing yourself, I propose the following 4-step approach: 1st step, create empathy and establish some rapport with her in order to overcome the first barrier; 2nd step, actively listen and converse with her, trying to understand (open and semi-open questions) needs; 3rd step, only after understand needs you present solutions and never before, and never rush to close the deal before timing; and 4th step, closing the deal is crucial though very sensitive, so you must have passed for all the mentioned steps before trying to close it!
Good Luck with your Sales, and please NEVER forget to CONVERSE with your clients! Use your Active Listening to do it!
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