By Theophan, Executive Sales Coach
Overwhelming your prospect with the bells and whistles of your product or service is not the way to win their business. Asking probing questions and listening with the intent of determining whether your product or service will actually fit with your prospect’s needs is the best way to build rapport and close the sale.
It was presentation time and my intent was not to give a presentation. Well, not until I was sure we had a fit between what my prospect needed and what I had to offer. How many times have you gone to meet with a prospect, you get all set up to do a presentation, you show them the features and benefits of your product or service only to get a, “It looks pretty good and it’s definitely something we’re interested in, but we need to think about it and we’ll get back to you next week”? Then when you try to follow up with the prospect because it’s been just over a week you can’t get them on the phone…that stops now.
The air conditioning was on full blast as I drove across town to meet with my prospective client. It was one of those days where the sun couldn’t get brighter and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Beautiful. It was a great day to close a new client. My skin was sufficiently chilled as I parked. I opened the car door and the hot air felt like the draft from standing too close to a furnace.
I crossed the parking lot and walked through the front door. The receptionist was cordial and brought me back to meet with Tim. I was engaged in credit card processing sales and Tim was the CEO of a multi-location pizza restaurant. After some brief bond and rapport we agreed that I wanted to learn more about his current credit card processing, in exchange I would share with him what I could potentially do for him if he were to switch to my company for his processing needs, and in the end we would either work together or we wouldn’t. And then the selling dance began.
Initially I asked Tim about what he was currently doing for his processing. He was comfortable sharing some of the details and this allowed me to ask more probing questions. Tim opened up to me and shared some of his challenges and concerns which I noted on the pad of paper I had on the table in front of me. Twenty minutes later I’d identified enough of Tim’s challenges to feel confident sharing with him how my company could address and help him overcome those challenges.
In the end I closed the sale. It’s not because I bulldozed him with the features and benefits of my credit card processing company and how we were so much better than the company he was currently using. He signed with me because I asked probing questions and addressed his needs.
The next time you sit down with a prospect, before you begin your presentation, learn about what his or her needs are. Fulfilling their needs will allow you to close more sales.
Have a great week and Happy Selling!
Executive Sales Coach
Theophan has been a professional coach since 2005 and has been in sales for more than twenty years. As an executive sales coach he helps executives, sales managers, sales teams, and individual salespeople overcome the challenges and obstacles that keep them from seeing explosive growth in their companies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can schedule an initial consultation with him by clicking HERE.