These sales techniques start with a goal and move backward

Salespeople all want a sales to move ahead. But to do so, sometimes it helps to get the prospect thinking backwards.

Here’s an example to illustrate the point, from sales trainer Ryan Sarti. Many reps ask the prospect a simple, direct question about when the order might be placed, such as, “When do we need to get started on this?”

Seems like a perfectly reasonable question. Except it’s not really focused on the customer; it’s all about your goals. You’re really saying: “When can I put this one in my win column and start invoicing you?”

To benefit the prospect, the question has to help the prospect reach his or her goal.

Start with the end in mind
Consider a sequence of questions that start with the end in mind and moves backwards. That’s backwards thinking that moves the sale ahead. It might go like this:

“Let’s look at what you need to accomplish and when you need to accomplish it. What results are you looking for, and how soon would you like to see them?”

“To hit that target, when would you have to implement this?”

“So adding in the time needed for planning, training, delivery, etc., when would it make sense to complete your decision process?”

“And tell me about all the things you need to make that decision process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

With this approach, you’re more likely to keep the process moving, because you remind the buyer that these are the things that must happen before he can get the results or benefit that he’s after.

Even more important, you’ve shown the buyer that you always put his interests first.

photo credit: ToddMorris

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