For sales professionals – everywhere
This is the first installment of a short series on communication in selling. The series is not intended to provide a complete and entire scope of communication, but rather to focus on specific elements that are essential to consider and include in our selling conversations – between buyer and seller. They all begin with C and they are all very related to each other.
I once learned from Sharon Drew Morgen, ‘the person asking the questions is the person who controls the conversation.’ True enough. And the seller is asking questions to direct the buyer through a particular process to a desired result. That desired result is ultimately a sale/contract or an appointment. As a seller, begin with the end in mind and then work backward to what the buyer needs to know, to do, to have, to anticipate, to act on. The buyers are not experts in this process and will follow you if you know where you are going and what is needed to get there.
What is needed is knowledge of the process and the realities of it. Those are the FACTS. If it takes 16 weeks for production and delivery/installation, then it takes 16 weeks. What is the conversation with the buyer (questions) to determine if that will work for them, if there is an event during that timeframe, etc.? Being CLEAR and STRAIGHT with the buyer is sooooo important – so that they know what their options are, they know what to expect, and you can direct them to the actions they need to take to produce the result THEY want to produce.
This morning I was on a coaching call. The scenario was a wife was looking at furniture, her husband wasn’t there and he needed to be there to make a decision. Add to this that the sale was ending at 5:00 on Sunday….and this was Saturday at noon. The salesperson/designer needed to tell the truth about what was needed, offer options to exercise, and NOT offer options (like an appointment on Monday morning) to give the buyer clear direction of the actions they needed to take to get the sale price and to place the order. It’s NOT about being pushy. It’s about being clear, direct, and honest with the buyer about their options, the attending actions that need to be taken, and what options are NOT available if they don’t follow your direction (like buying it on Monday morning and getting the sale price).
When you know early in the sales process what’s going on in the buyer’s buying process, it’s easier to anticipate and direct what needs to happen next. Another quote that I love and put in my last blog: If you tell them before, it’s a reason. If you tell them later, it’s an excuse – applies here.
Be straight with the buyer. Offer them options of actions to choose from. Reduce the amount you ask and tell and talk about what needs to be discussed. And, of course, call if you get stuck.
Stay tuned for the next Communication C: Courage.
Now, go sell something!