One of the most challenging aspects of good selling is staying focused on your client or prospect. As sales professionals, we work hard to prepare for our sales calls and presentations. We memorize the features and benefits of our product and services in hopes of having the opportunity to acquaint someone with what we are selling. Once we are actually in front of a prospect, it’s all we can do to hold back from blurting out everything all at once; telling our prospect about what we are selling and how beneficial it is for them to buy what we are selling.

Selling,
however, is about building relationships with people, with individuals.
If we enter into a monologue about our product without any knowledge of
what our prospect wants and needs, how effective can that be? Compare
it to a telemarketing call you might receive. The telemarketer has a
set script to sell you something and probably doesn’t have much, if
any, information about you. They talk AT you and you can barely get in
a word to tell them you’re not interested. When you are on the
receiving end of this type of sales pitch, how does that make you feel?
Are you open to listening? What are the chances you would purchase
something from this scenario?

If we want to
engage the prospect and build a relationship that will eventually lead
to a sale, we need to focus on the individual, not some generic
stereotype. Leave all your assumptions about this prospect behind and
create an open exchange or dialogue to learn more about this individual.

Here are some techniques to create that open communication:

1. Use open-ended questions.

Questions
that begin with “how”, “when”, “where”, and “why” help to quickly
engage the prospect to start talking as these questions cannot be
answered by a simple yes or no response. These questions are very
effective in getting people to “open up”.

2. Actively listen to your prospect

Active
listening requires you to tune out your own inner voice and focus on
what the client is telling you and what they are really saying. Give
them some type of sign that you are listening through body language or
affirmations.

3. Clarify

“So what I hear
you saying is….” Make sure that you fully understand what your
prospect is saying by checking in with them through the course of the
conversation.


4. Acknowledge and Validate

When you
acknowledge and validate you are demonstrating that you respect and
understand the other person’s position. This is important in building a
relationship.

5. Make no assumptions

It is so easy to
overlook this important skill. In order to fully understand another
person, we need to stay open to listening to them without any filters.
This is difficult to accomplish but once we let go of assumptions, it
is a powerful way to connect with someone.


6. Focus on the prospects/client’s agenda

Let go of your
canned sales pitch and trust that a focused dialogue with the client
will be more effective and can yield important information that can
assist you in closing a sale.


7. Detach from the process

Try to keep your
ego out of the conversation and agenda. Once you let this go, you will
be surprised how any resistance to your pitch can dissolve.


Remember: It’s not all about you. It’s about the Client. What’s important to them, should be important to you.

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