Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector
Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.
Recently I attended a business networking event and was in conversation with the owner of a local business. As we talked he found out that I was involved in media sales. He suddenly took a deep breath and said: “If I get asked by another media rep ‘so, tell me about your business’ I’ll scream!!!”
Think about it. That question just rolls off the tongue of many sales people – it’s their go to opener and right up there with “how’s business?” Another B2B classic! Both questions are often used in those few awkward moments when you first sit down with a prospective customer.
Problem is you’re not the first person to ask the question and as evidenced by the business owner at the networking event many customers are over it. To them it’s just dumb!
What do you say after the initial introductions, ice-breakers and rapport building?
Here’s 4 questions that I find highly effective:
- Where are you taking your business?
- What’s the next stage of your journey?
- How does that compare with now?
- What’s holding you back or slowing things down?
Each one can take you and the customer on a deep conversation. Additionally, you’ll understand what they want to move away from (the so-called pain points) and what outcomes they want to move towards (the available opportunities).
Is it difficult?
It can be as some of these questions seem very direct and they are less comfortable to ask but in my experience customers are willing to answer them if you can demonstrate the following:
- Making it all about them – not your product
- A genuine focus on meeting their needs
- Tone and body language to give questions warmth
- A natural flow of conversation
Avoid wasting time in your meetings where neither side has any idea of what is being accomplished; no more “so, tell me about your business”; and no more time wasted on prospects who can’t or won’t share their needs or concerns with you.
Try the 4 sales questions, dig deeper, spend the time and present a relatable solution.
Until next week good selling!
About the author
Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]