• Jay Galvin

Listening and Responsiveness: Why focusing on these 2 sales tips could make your next quarter.

Sales. It’s a whole big, wide, scary world out there of hustlers, people who really know how to “talk,” and someone offering the next “best deal.” You just got the call, your goals went up… Again. There are so many salespeople out there. And we are all competing for the same business. So, what do you do? How do you stand out?

One of the biggest mistakes we make as salespeople is assuming having the best deal automatically means we will earn the business. While that is sometimes the case (after all there is always the client that just says “give me your best price”), often, that is not the entire picture. And if we really do believe that is the case, how often are we dropping the price before we need to? How often do we just offer the “floor” out the gate before qualifying?

Think of a painting as an example. You meet with a client and he lets you know he is looking for a “painting of a river.” You immediately assume he wants your lowest priced painting and take him around the corner to a simple painting. “It’s on sale for only $250.00!” you let him know. You’re so excited to show him this deal and assume he is going to go for it. After all, it just dropped in price $50.00 from last week. He nods and then looks around a bit more before leaving. What could you have done differently? Why didn’t he want this painting? After all, it was discounted, right?

Imagine this same person had walked into the exhibit. He says to you, “I’m looking for a painting of a river.” You nod and ask, “What is most important to you when choosing a painting?” He pauses and says, “Well, honestly my late mother had this exquisite painting of a beautiful river growing up. She sadly sold it several years ago before she passed. I was hoping to find something similar.” Suddenly, this painting isn’t a cheap, meaningless painting. It’s something that has true meaning to him.

Taking the time to ask the questions will make all the difference on HOW and WHAT you sell.

Now that you know this is a purchase that has personal meaning to him, you know you shouldn’t be selling the “cheapest painting” anymore. You should find something that reminds him of the painting that was lost. Simply taking the time to further qualify and ask those questions can mean all the difference on whether you make a sale. And your client will feel you really care and aren’t just “selling the biggest, best deal!”

Some examples of good qualifying questions include, “Tell me more about that.” “What is most important to you when choosing a company to work with?” If you take the time to really stop and listen to what your client has to say, you’ll be amazed by how much that can change the entire sales process. And just like the salesperson in the exhibit, you can end up selling your most expensive product instead of your cheapest, simply because you asked the question.

So how else do you improve your sales process? Something that can be oftentimes be overlooked is responsiveness. Think about it from your point of view. How often as salespeople do we send follow up emails or call and leave another voicemail? How does it make you feel when your client doesn’t get back to you right away? Do you feel valued? Or do you think they want nothing to do with you, or they simply don’t care?

That is exactly how your client feels when you take a long time to respond. Now, we all get busy. There are a million emails to catch up on. You have that HUGE deal that you’re working on that needs ALL of your attention. This smaller project can wait. You will reply to them tomorrow… Or maybe the day after that. Most people are not going to get too upset. If anything, they will get it. After all, they are probably doing the same thing to you, right?

Responsiveness is what can turn a good salesperson into a great salesperson. Think about it this way. What is it that sets you apart from your competition? The person who quickly responds is showing the client they are both reliable and easy to work with. It also shows them you are excited to earn their business. The client will feel valued when as soon as they send you a question you quickly respond.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to pull your hair out completing every project or answering every question right away. You need to keep your sanity, right? There are only so many hours in a day. So, what can you do to be super responsive, but also be able to prioritize your day?

It’s as simple as saying, “Thanks so much for your email! I just wanted to let you know I will be working on this shortly. I should be able to get this to you by end of business tomorrow. Does that work?” Most clients will absolutely understand and will even tell you to take more time if needed. The difference between your reply is that they know you CARE. You took the time to let them know you are working on it and they are a PRIORITY. The last thing as a salesperson that you want is for your client to have to go chasing after you for something. If they send an email and then have to send another follow up the next day to make sure you received it, that is going to leave a bad taste in their mouth.

So how does this equal more sales? Does it really make that big of a difference? Think of it this way. If the client feels you CARE about them because you took the time to respond as quickly as possible, then they will be much more likely to trust you and want to work with you. They will feel valued, so when they are making that final decision on who they choose to partner with, who do you think they will want to pick? The person who took a week to get back to them? Or the person who was quick to reply and showed their business mattered, no matter how big or small?

Jay Galvin is the Managing Partner of The Galvin Group, a training and consulting firm.

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