Sales. I hate that word. It comes with so much pressure and can cause stress and anxiety, with an internal mantra banging away in the middle of your brain, ‘I must hit my target, I must close this deal!’; let alone the external pressures from a particularly demanding and difficult boss. The problem here is that, inevitably, you focus so much on yourself and your own needs and objectives that you stop listening to those of your clients’.
“Not an issue for me”, you may say. “My objective was to sell 10 pencils and I sold 10 pencils. Job done. I’m happy and my boss is satisfied. On to the next!”
Well, the problem is that maybe you could’ve sold 12 pencils, or 5 pencils but also a desk. Maybe your client just bought the minimum possible from you because they hate conflict and actually just wanted to get you out of the room and will now look for an alternative supplier.
Leaving this metaphor alone you can see the point. I would argue that you must have one inflexible objective, which is to actively listen and solve your clients’ problems, however big or small. This will embed a strong, progressive business relationship and has much more value then a single deal.
So how do you do this? The Speakers Gym specialises in honing these skills. But, for starters:
- Before the meeting, do your homework – gain a full understanding of the business and the person/people you are meeting.
- Don’t go straight to ‘the sell’.
- Ask questions and mean them – be genuinely interested in the individual in front of you. This doesn’t mean pressuring them into talking about their personal life if they don’t want to, but often people like talking about their work within their life as a whole and their opinions of it. It is during this chat where most people share information about their needs, budgets and future projects. They may even stumble across an issue that they weren’t aware of, and you are there to help them with it.
- Once your conversation has moved on to the specific, ask for clarification. Echo their voice back to them. Clearly and simply state what they have identified as their need.
These pointers are just the beginning of the process, but they are the foundation to a successful buisness relationship.
People want to feel like you ‘get them’, so make an effort to ‘get them’.
Have a read of our article on ‘getting the best out of a client meeting‘ (it was written for an IFA platform but the points are absolutely transferable), in it we talk about the importance of connecting with your client to allow them to let you see their problems. If you want to delve further into any of these points, please leave a comment or email us here.