Three principles need to guide your interaction with prospects, says sales guru Tom Hopkins. First, establish a bond. Second, ask questions that give you the answers you need to keep the sale moving forward.
Third – and this is the principle many salespeople don’t get: You can’t lead people to decisions until you make some yourself.
Now wait a minute, you’re probably saying. Isn’t it the customer who needs to make the decision? Tom answers no. Do your clients know all your products or services? If you have several to offer, how many of them would the average client usually select?
Just one, right?
So how can a client, who doesn’t know your offering well as you do, decide which is the right one? They can’t. That’s why your job as a professional salesperson is to make decisions for clients. It’s why they need you.
So what’s ailing you?
Here’s an illustration. Suppose you wake up with a high fever. You go to the doctor and she says, “Hi, you look terrible. Any idea what you’ve got?”
“No,” you say.
“Well, no problem. What kind of medicine would you like?”
How would you feel about such a doctor? Or about an architect who asked you to prepare detailed drawings for your new house? Or an attorney who asked you to outline your case? You wouldn’t want any of these people because they aren’t professional. They aren’t solving problems for you; they aren’t making decisions for you; they aren’t discovering new opportunities for you.
You get his point. Successful salespeople think of themselves as professionals. Like patients at the doctor, their customers are in pain. Customers have problems and obstacles that stand in the way of their success. Professionals have answers and solutions.
Not a call, a consultation
Professionals use their expertise to solve problems and create opportunities. And that means you must have a larger fund of knowledge than any one client can use – as well as a means to discover what part of that knowledge will best serve the client’s needs. Because customers rarely know that themselves, you need to make this discovery through an organized consultation routine.
Some professionals are brilliant at consultation. Others are weak. The good ones are those who take control of the interview to efficiently isolate, understand, and define the problems (opportunities) each client has.
No forced decision
Making decisions for customers doesn’t mean forcing them into a solution that suits you. Remember the first two principles: Before you take control (start making decisions) you need to establish a bond and ask questions that show you understand their pain.
Take that approach and customers will want you to use your diagnostic equipment – a pad of paper, a measuring tape, a laptop computer, or simply your brain – and give them a solution. That’s what professionals do.
To learn more from Tom Hopkins visit www.tomhopkins.com
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