You may not believe it, but your clients want to be led. They want to follow you.
Of course they don’t want to follow you blindly.
They want to follow you because they believe you can help them.
When it comes to conducting sales conversations I find that many professionals, technical staff and business owners think, “I don’t want to be like a sales person”. So they stay quiet. They don’t probe. And they wait for the client to make a move.
That one negative thought has the potential to prevent professionals and technical people everywhere from being successful in their sales activities. And usually that negative thought is based on their perception of selling as being where you ‘push’ a product or service at your client whether they want it or not.
That’s an old-fashioned and outdated view of selling.
In reality the opposite is true – professionals need to be conducting proactive sales conversations to truly help their clients.
The only reason your client will want to talk to you is that they believe you can help them.
If they already knew what to do, and had all the information they needed, and were confident about making a buying decision, they wouldn’t bother talking to you.
They are relying on you to understand what they need and lead them through the process of making the right decision for them.
It may be that your client has already checked out your website; read one of your articles; seen a testimonial; heard about you from a friend… but they still need you to take the lead.
Ask yourself: How can I help this client?
So instead of thinking “I don’t want to be like a sales person” and shying away from the sales conversation, you should ask yourself “How can I best help this client?”
In reframing your activity – from ‘selling’ to ‘exploring’ – you will set yourself free of the presumption of having to be pushy.
When you start exploring you will find out what your client really wants. You will gain confidence from having a clear understanding of their needs. You will find new ways of helping your clients, and you won’t be scared of making inappropriate recommendations (because you will understand what they want).
How do you explore? By asking questions.
The art of asking the right questions the right way is a learned skill. In fact that is one of the main learning outcomes from my sales training programs.
It is a good idea to start by asking relatively general questions, and then move on to questions that become more specific. The best questions probe deeply (but with sensitivity) to reveal where the value lies for the client.
Every sales conversation should be run according to your strategy.
Unfortunately many sellers undertake sales conversations and simply rely on ‘going with the flow’. However the flow often doesn’t go your way unless you plan for it. Having a strategy for your sales conversations is essential.
Your clients want to be led. To do that properly you need to have a philosophy of exploring the clients requirements using a pre-planned question-based conversation strategy.
If you need assistance to develop an effective sales conversation strategy for your team contact me.