If you’ve ever coached a kid’s little league baseball team, you know that you might spend a lot of time at first reminding players to take the bat off of their shoulder.
When you stand up to bat, you just won’t be ready unless you’ve got the bat back and ready to take your cut.
Leaving it on your shoulder simply requires too much adjustment too fast if you are to hit a ball coming toward you.
Most young, inexperienced players can’t make it happen.
Not asking the right questions when in a sales situation is the same sort of thing.
Can you really afford to leave money on the table today?
I don’t mean be a hard sell pain in the butt.
Instead, be helpful. Inquisitive. Thorough.
If you really want to stretch… Pretend to be the least bit interested how the client is using your product / service, ask what they need, talk about what they really get out of your product / service, how they use it and so on.
Part of selling is helping the client figure out exactly what they want (and need).
I leave a hole and it goes unfilled.
Speaking of, I received a sales call last week.
The salesperson almost seemed embarrassed to call and sell their product. Maybe it was a rough day, I dunno.
The thing is, I’m already a customer and the next big thing is now available so I’m clearly vested in what they sell.
It’s not like I’m a cold prospect with no idea what they do/sell. They just need to figure out what my objections might be – if any – and close the sale of the big new thing.
Instead, they just ask for the sale as if they really don’t care one way or the other.
In response, I say something along the lines of “I’m not quite ready” (which is the truth). I pause and leave the opening, hoping they’ll step in.
The opportunity sits there and languishes on the bone. End of discussion, call over.
What should have happened?
- “I’m sorry to hear that, but if you don’t mind, could I ask a few questions?”
Me: Yeah, sure.
- “How are you using the products / services?”
- “How can we help you get more out of our products / services?”
- “Is there a problem with our products or services?”
- “Is cash flow tight? A lot of folks are stretched a little thin right now, so we’re doing what we can to get our product / service into their hands so they can use it to make more. Perhaps our payment plan would help. Would you like to hear about it?”
- “Is there some other reason why you prefer to wait? It’s OK if there is, I’d just like to know if we aren’t where you need us to be.”
Me: Yeah, blah, blah, blah.
- “So if I fixed that situation, would you be ready to buy?”
Me: “Forced” to either say yes, giving them the opportunity to fix whatever that is, or reveal the real objection (or state another one, which starts the cycle over again).
All the while, the vendor is learning what drives my purchases with them and how they can help me get to where I want to be as it relates to their product. But it never happens.
I’m almost left wondering if my business matters to the vendor.
Put yourself in this vendor’s place.
Can you really afford to leave money on the table right now? I’m guessing most can’t.
Are you training your staff to ask the right questions? Are they being inquisitive? Caring? Curious?