If someone gave you 30 seconds to make a sale, what would you do? You could tell the customer all the great things about your product. You could offer them a discount. You could sing a song. But none of these would be the quickest way to a successful sale.
Darrell Weekes, Director of Strategy for Attache Software, asked a group of sales professionals to split into pairs with one playing the salesperson and one the customer. Then he asked one person in each pair to try to sell the pen they brought with them to the other… in just 30 seconds. Not surprisingly, none of them were successful. Watch the full video here:
Why did they fail?
All spent the 30 seconds expounding upon the greatness of their product. But at the same time they had ignored the most fundamental and fastest approach to making a sale. That approach is to ask questions and listen. Weekes gave an example to illustrate the point.
At a previous workshop, he had asked a partner to do the same exercise with him. The other salesman had a $1,000 Montblanc pen, and offered it to Weekes for $10, thinking it would be an easy sale. But in doing so he made the same mistake sales people in the most recent session had made. Weekes recounted telling the other salesman:
“I cannot take that pen. I wouldn’t even pay you ten bucks for that pen. You know why? I write in purple ink. Do you know why I write in purple ink? Because it’s part of my purple thread. I wear a purple shirt. I write in purple ink so when a letter turns up – and I hand write my letters – and it’s in purple ink you know it’s from me. How many of these things do you think I lose a day running from the cab to the airport to the plane to the Qantas club to the next venue? How many of these fall out of my pocket a day? I go through three or four of these a day.”
So not only would a $1,000 pen be a complete waste for someone who regularly loses pens, but it also didn’t fit the customer’s basic needs — for pens that write only in purple ink. It’s something the salesman would have known, had he asked the right questions first.
It’s the same with your business. How many times have tried to sell your customers or clients the product or service you think they should have instead of the product or service they need?
Instead, try taking this simple advice. Listen to your customers. Ask questions. Then tailor your products and services to what they really need.
Find a solution that really solves their problems and you will stop struggling to get customers. Instead, you’ll find the quickest route to a sale and to as many customers and clients as your business can handle.
Pen Photo via Shutterstock
It’s true. When selling you should be asking questions and then LISTENING to what they say. The listening is key because it allows you to understand the customers’ needs. Then, and only then, should you pitch your products/services.
Very true. You’re wasting your time by just pitching a product your customers have no use for. And understanding your market is essential in any industry.
Wow that’s a shock but I guess I can also use the lesson in this article. You really need to know how to listen to be able to come up with a product that suits their needs. It is also in listening that you instantly get sales.
It’s such a simple concept but people forget to think like a customer so often. It’s nice to get a reminder of how important this is.
Another valuable tool in the sales toolbox is silence. After you’ve asked your questions, listened to your prospect, and provided a solution to their dilemma, you want to make your close. And then wait. Many make the mistake of trying to fill any silence, talking too fast to try to seal the deal. But try silence when and where appropriate. Let the prospect think of an objection or maybe provide you with another question to answer. You’ll be surprised how many more deals can be closed when you don’t talk yourself out of them.
This is a good tool in so many circumstances. It feels awkward to sit in silence, but if you’re the one to talk too much you’re likely to do more harm than good.
One of the best ways to get a sale?
Not quite. While it is good to know and understand what your customer wants, its better to understand the market your selling into beforehand.
know it intimately and design and create products that you know will sell, anticipate all negative reasons why not then make it easy for them to buy.
The trouble is, some people are so indecisive you have to persuade them, others haven’t a clue what they want and some will lie to you or make up excuses its human nature nobody likes to admit you know all about them and will resist being sold to. Become one of them, put yourself in their shoes.
The best way to sell? ask yourself “would I buy this”? if the answer is yes then its likely your customer will too, let it be their decision to buy – let them volunteer the information, have them excited at the prospect.
All you need to do is let them ask YOU the questions, just be sure you have all the right answers.
Good points! The important thing is to understand the customer’s needs at all stages of the process and engage in a conversation.