In my experience as a sales manager there are many aspects I focus on to help my sales reps become successful. We can train a person with all the product knowledge we have available and teach them how to use the best tools, but if they can’t master the following two skills, the road to success is a challenge.
Skill 1: Overcoming Objections
In any sales environment, ranging from selling software to selling cars, you will always face an objection. The key to overcoming them is as easy as 1,2,3.
- Step 1 – Acknowledge the objection. You can try “I can understand” or “That’s understandable”. The reason for doing this is that you are showing the customer you are hearing their concerns and understand their thoughts and where they are coming from.
- Step 2 – Provide a value statement. In this step you are either stating your value prop or making a statement that helps overcome the objection and validate the reason for the call.
- Step 3 – Ask an open ended question. In asking an open ended question, you are gaining control of the call and moving the conversation away from the objection and further into the conversation.
This approach (acknowledge, value statement, open ended question) will not work every time, but it will help you potentially go further into the conversation and convert a “not interested” into a “call me later to talk more” or even a sale.
Skill 2: Listening to the Customer
The other skill to master is the art of listening to the customer. Many times I have heard reps lose sales because they were so focused on what they were going to say next they did not hear the buying signal or the response from the customer that could have helped close the deal sooner or move the conversation in another direction. I would suggest the following steps:
- Recap sections of the call. When you recap a conversation you are showing the customer you are hearing and understanding what they are sharing with you.
- Ask for clarification. Customers at times throw a lot of information at us and most of the time we are familiar with the information. At certain times the customer says something that is new for us. In this situation it’s good to stop the conversation and say “I just heard you say ____. Help me understand. What do you mean by _____?” When the customer shares the information with you, you now understand how this affects their business and you can use this nugget of information in future calls.
While the art of selling is hard, if it was easy everyone could do it. It’s not rocket surgery. As long as you focus on the core aspects of selling such as listening and overcoming objections, success will be in your reach.