Category Archives: Consultative selling–developing prospect’s awareness of need

In selling, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing . . . just listen, then work from what you hear

Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.

When you're in the 1-1 selling face-to-face mode, non-verbals can be just as significant—and telling–as words.

Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.

Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.

But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.

There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.

Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.

Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get.  That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.

5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions

This five-step model approach in responding to objections and questions: Explore, Listen Well, Restate (if appropriate), Respond, then Move on.

1.    Explore. Ask questions to get the person talking about what they really mean by the objection, and why it's important to them.  (Why do you feel that way? will do if nothing better comes to mind.)

2.    Listen well to their response.  You may have heard this objection a dozen times already this week, but this person may put a different twist on it.  Don't be too quick in cutting off the

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NYTimes article: “If These Moms Can’t Find It, They Invent It” . . . and then market it

What better way to come up with a great  and marketable idea than to invent it out of necessity . . . as the Moms in this article did.

What gave them the advantage is that they started with a known need (their own) and then found the best way to fill it: their  invention.

Stating the obvious, I suppose, but the point is that instead of thinking up a "Great Idea," these Mom-preneurs started with a specific need . . .and then realized that others in the target audience likely had that same need.

According to the article: ". . . the  term “mom inventors” yields about 290,000 results on Google"

Go to NYTimes article on "Mom inventors/marketers"

“Matching life experience with new careers” — article in NY Times

"HEALTH navigator? Conflict coach? Pollution mitigation outreach worker? These
emerging jobs aren’t household terms yet, but they are a natural fit for older
people looking for new career opportunities, said Phyllis Segal, vice president
at Civic Ventures, a nonprofit research group based in San Francisco."

— That's the opening paragraph in Elizabeth Pope's article in the New York Times.

You might ask, "What does it have to do with the subject of this blog—Selling Face-to-Face?" 


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Somebody let the Apple out of the bag!

Apple was founded by a Genius, Steve Jobs, and now has emerged the secrets of how Apple trains employees to serve as geniuses (small g, as opposed to capital G for the late Genius-in-chief.)

Now it seems that Apple's sales training manual has emerged. It makes for interesting Ah-ha! moments if you've ever been to an Apple shop:  you'll be rehearing your conversations with the sales folks there.

But, from the perspective of your humble blogger, who has written a good many sales training and interpersonal skills books and courses, it is (a) well done, and (b) not all that unique in content, though (c) the presentation of the ideas and skills seems well done (from the little you can see in the leaked excerpts.)

The core article is in Gizmodo article: Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual.  I've seen parts of picked up by both Slate and the Washington Post.

But Sam Biddle in Gizmodo is most detailed.  I won't repeat, only this: "Selling is a science, summed up by five cute letters. (A)pproach. (P)robe. (P)resent. (L)isten. (F)ind."  Not all that different than my concept of the Selling Wedge (in  my book, SELLING 101, and others; pardon the shameless plug!)  The basic concept sounds to my ear an adaptation of Consultative Selling, also covered in SELLING 101 and a good many other sales training books and programs.  (Not that Apple uses the term consultative selling . . . at least not in the parts I've managed to see. But it's there, of that you can be sure.)

The Apple books also gets into nonverbals: things to do and avoid with prospects, as well as how to read what the prospect is "telling" you nonverbally. (Just in case you've missed good stuff on nonverbals, you might check out my little book, SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

But to have the APPLE acronym to work with! That made memory easy.

And, oh yes,  Apple has good products!  That makes it even easier.

 

The perks and pitfalls of being your own boss — in India, in the biotech field

Fascinating perspective on career reinvention and entrepreneurship in, of all places, Britain's New Scientist, Myshkin Ingawale, co-founder and CEO of Biosense Technologies. The hook:

"When I was 17, I was clueless about what I wanted to do with my life. Now I'm 27 and I am as clear as I can be – I want to a successful entrepreneur, starting and growing more than one organisation in my lifetime. Sometime over these last 10 years, I'm not exactly sure when, I made the transition from "clueless" to "clear as I can be".

Definitely worth reading on a variety of fronts.  I'll leave you to it.

 Link to article

Sales tip: tap the power of silence

Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.

Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.

Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.

But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.

There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.

Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.

Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get.  That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.

“Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom” — says article in Smart Money

"Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs, " begins this Smart Money article by Anne Tergesen.

The core of the article is a Q and A with  Eric Ries, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on his forthcoming book, The Lean Startup.

Here is one sample, making a point  that I think is very much on-target with what we speak of in this blog.  Notice how there are elements of making cold calls, using a consultative selling model to find prospects' real needs, and then crafting a brief, focused message making the case of how he can best fill those needs expresssed:

Q: What if you are offering a service, such as carpentry work, and you know there is a market. How can you go about testing whether your business will succeed?

A: I know someone who started a home interior design company. He knew that people would spend money on home refurnishing, but would they want to buy it from him? He spoke to prospective customers, to find out why it was that they wanted to remodel. It turned out that many potential customers in the place where he was based were women. He had the realization that they were not just buying home remodeling, but the sense of control a designer could create for them over their environments. He tried out tag lines for his business until he found a hit—which enabled him to market himself as offering something they could not get elsewhere. The tag line he chose was “unlike your husband, we listen.”

Link to that Smart Money article, "Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom."

Consultative sales skills: How to set the context before asking questions

Consultative selling, bear in mind, is selling by asking the questions that prompt the prospect to recognize needs for what you offer.

Another key point to bear in mind:  In using a consultative sales approach, ask questions, but shape the

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