Category Archives: Sales Dialogues
Building Rapport Creates Long Lasting Connections
I have been working with a prospect over the past few weeks, and it has been a good journey. She is not even a confirmed client yet, but I am extremely excited about the possibilities. What makes me so optimistic, either for the short-term opportunity or a future relationship, is how we connected instantly.
There are different ways to build rapport. On a personal level, building rapport can be accomplished by developing commonalities in life: living in the same town, having the same vacation experience, what someone reads like articles or a newsletter, knowing the same people, etc. On a professional level, rapport can be built by simply giving free advice and making a genuine connection and being able to converse about similar interests. This can be as basic as a personal talk or just being sincere in your efforts about what is communicated to your prospects and demonstrating that you care about their needs and hope to become a true partner.
In the case of the prospect that I mentioned earlier, we did not have a personal connection at first. She had a clear need. She knew what she wanted to do, and she was doing everything the right way. Her next step was to choose a partner from the outside to come in and train her people.
Our connection came through an open and engaging dialogue. I listened closely to what she was saying, » Continue Reading.
Great Questioning Skills Have Two Components: Part I – The Strategy
There are two essential components to questioning skills in a sales environment. The first involves strategy — the “what” to ask. The second is about the “how” of asking questions. The art of getting better at both begins with preparation.
This post will focus on the strategy of questioning skills. Part II will cover the skills involved in how to ask questions with proper empathy, pacing, and back-and-forth dialogue.
The first element in establishing an effective questioning strategy is to identify what you want to learn from the client. This means establishing clear objectives but not just those related to what you want to get out of the meeting. Think about what it is that you want to leave behind. This doesn’t mean a brochure or other information but, more importantly, what is the perception that you want to leave behind.
As for type of questions, at Richardson we often refer to the concept of a questioning funnel. At the top are big, overarching questions — such as the client’s goals and objectives — moving down to more granular questions about implementation and decision criteria.
Often, salespeople find it hard to start with big questions. They think too broad: “Tell me about the business and what you want to achieve.” If they have an existing relationship with the client, they usually start with what’s currently going on » Continue Reading.
Seven Tips to Improve your Trade Show Selling Experience
In my last post, Six Tips to Leverage Trade Shows as a Sales Prospecting Tool, I discussed ways to adopt a more targeted and strategic approach to leverage this tried-and-true sales prospecting tool. Now, I want to share seven tips for improving a sales rep’s interactions and overall trade show selling experience while working the booth.
Don’t pounce — I mentioned the issue of pouncing in my previous post, but it’s such an important point that I want to expand my comments. Demeanor and body language while working a trade show booth are critical to attracting people to stop and visit. It’s intimidating to have sales reps standing, arms crossed, and squinting to read the small print of someone’s name tag, clearly ready to pounce on anyone remotely interested in the company. To make sure that people feel comfortable and interested in coming to your booth, your messaging must be clear and engaging, and it must provide the promise of value. Also, as gimmicky as it may seem, good booth giveaways or promotions are important to initially draw people in.If someone comes into the booth and heads straight for the literature rack, without making eye contact, just kindly say, “Please let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you.” Most of the time, that » Continue Reading.
Five Misperceptions about Consultative Selling
In a world of dramatically changed B2B buying behavior, Consultative Selling remains one of the best ways — if not the best way — to focus on the client’s business issues and needs (not products for sale) to ensure that the proposed solution drives the needed business outcomes for the client to achieve his/her goals.
But, because it’s not the shiniest, newest sales approach on the market, there are some misperceptions about its relevance today. Following are five common misperceptions.
Consultative Selling is not assertive enough. Consultative Selling dialogue skills are used to create an environment of openness and mutual respect — ingredients that are necessary to stimulate thinking and gain a deep understanding of the client’s unique situation, diagnose root cause, and recommend the best solution. The seller may need to challenge the client’s thinking in the dialogue but certainly must do so without challenging the person. The only way to do this is to create an environment of openness and mutual respect, which is only created through the use of Consultative Selling skills. Consultative Selling leads sellers to go native. It’s unusual, but not impossible, for sellers to focus on their clients at the expense of their own company. However, the objective with Consultative Selling is to win profitable business. If an individual is not behaving as necessary, it becomes a coaching opportunity for sales leaders. » Continue Reading.
Strategic Use of Assessments to Identify Sales Talent and Build Sales Dialogue Skills
Often in sales, it is the intangible qualities that separate a high-performing salesperson from an average one. These intangible qualities include some combination of a high-performer’s natural sales talent and the sales dialogue skills they actually demonstrate when interacting with clients and stakeholders. How do you accurately identify this mix of sales talent and selling skills to ensure that you know the “secret sauce” that makes someone a high-performing salesperson in your organization?