-by Shamus Brown
Do you have 5, 10, or 20 years of sales experience?
Or do you have 1 year of sales experience 5, 10, or 20 times?
Many salespeople never advance beyond ancient outdated sales lines like "If I do this for you, will you give me the order?" Or "What do I have to do to get your business?"
Lines like these are why salespeople have a reputation near lawyers in our society.
Everyone learns lines like these in sales at some time or another. Often it comes from a senior salesperson who is described as "aggressive" or as "a closer". Because this guy brings in a lot of business, other's think that they should model his every habit. People say that you would sell more if you acted like this person. Yet secretly, most people abhor this guy.
Here's a hint. If the people in your sales organization abhorred this guy, then so did most of his prospects and customers. This guy sold a lot by using the law of averages. He sold not because of his ancient sales lines, but in spite of them. He worked 70 hours a week, and one of his favorite sayings was "its a numbers game".
Now you do have to get your message out to a large number of people. However, if you are annoying them in the process, you are wasting many great sales opportunities.
Lines such as these quickly ruin the rapport you have worked so on hard building up to this point. You brand yourself as a mere salesperson hawking a product focused only on your sales commission, rather than a business partner with concern for your prospect's business.
So what should you do instead?
Learn how to uncover problems and desires that you can help the prospect eliminate, solve, achieve or realize. Begin by seeing yourself as one who helps businesses and people with your products, ideas, and services.
You do this by asking questions. Ask questions to uncover problems and desires. If you cannot find something that you can help with - move on to a new prospect. Ask questions as to what the consequences will be of not doing anything towards eliminating their problem or not pursuing what they want. Use questions to help them see the consequences of buying your competitor's inferior product or service.
Helping your prospects to experience the consequences of various courses of action (or inaction) will stimulate the prospect into wanting to move the sale along. Done properly, this results in the prospect asking you how to speed up and complete the sale so that he can get on with solving his problem or realizing his goal.
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