Remember reading the Peanuts cartoons or watching the TV specials? When the teacher spoke all you heard was, “Wah, wah, wah, . . . “ That’s what a lot of sales people sound like when they network or sell.
In both situations they are talking way too much about their product or service. They think they are supposed to share every detail of what they offer. Unfortunately, the only thing people hear is, “wah, wah, wah.” You see — they stopped listening about 15 seconds in.
Let’s separate the situations and talk about a better sales process.
This is the place where a salesperson should be clear and concise when conveying the value they bring to their clients. Tell me how you help them solve or avoid a problem — in short order. No one wants to hear all of the features. It isn’t your opportunity to monopolize the conversation. As a matter of fact, talking less and listening more is best. The point of networking is to learn about others; to start the relationship building process.
This is the place where listening is king. The value of a sales appointment isn’t in you telling the prospect all about your stuff. It is for you to ask a lot of questions, really listen to the answers, and then respond briefly to what you hear.
I know prospects will start a meeting by saying, ‘so, tell me about your (product/service).’ That isn’t the green light! Instead, tell them you’d like to ask a few questions first so you can be sure to tell them what is relevant to their needs. That’s all they care about. When you tell them everything else, you are Charlie Brown’s teacher.
It all comes back to the goal. What are you hoping to achieve? When you are networking are you hoping to sell something or build relationships? My belief about networking is that it is building relationships with people who may or may not need what you have to sell. So, it isn’t about selling something. It’s about getting to know people to find those who are good colleagues and/or clients. When your networking goal is to build relationships, be quiet! You’ll go farther by listening than talking.
What is your goal for the sales appointment? Most likely it’s to get the opportunity to gain a sale. I submit it is also the chance to learn about the prospect to determine if they would be a good client. You can’t know if they meet your expectations unless you learn about them. So, when your sales appointment goal is to get the sale from the best clients, be quiet.
“Wah, wah, wah” leads nowhere.
Charlie Brown Photo via Shutterstock