When talking about your product to prospects can put you in trouble…

Sales, question, questioning, process, spilling the beans
When you sale, do you spill the beans? Or do you ask question?

Photo credit: Phil

Greeks invented the democracy. And they had an interesting way of voting. They used beans. A white bean was a vote in favour of a motion, a black bean was a vote against. The vote had to be unanimous for the motion to go through. So should the jar with the bean topples and the beans fall down, revealing a black bean, it meant something had been revealed too early and the vote had to restart. Hence the expression spilling the beans…

Well, nearly…

This expression might not be entirely due to the Greek way of voting (it isn’t). But spilling the beans certainly applies to how we sale. And how we, sales people, love to share product knowledge when we should hold back.

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Why questions asked need to be qualified first and how to do so

Question, reverse questioning, sales questions, process
He knows the answer. But shouldn’t he qualify the question first?

Photo credit: personal stock

School days. Happy days. Lots of memories. The exuberance. The total lack of worries. School friends. Long school holidays spent in the South of France. The teachers I loved. Those I, well, didn’t like at all. And these happy moments when, as the teacher asked a question, I knew the answer, raised my hand and was just so eager to share my knowledge with the teacher and my class mates.

Sadly though, I came to realise that this eagerness to answer questions was a terrible habit we picked at school and that it was well worth trying to control this urge. Surprisingly (or not), when asked a question, there is a lot of value in not answering it, right away. I’ve already mentioned that one should learn to ask questions, they are very useful. So I can hear you think, dear reader. “Foul play! Unfair! Why not answer questions asked, when one asks plenty of them?” This is a good point indeed. I naturally do not mean not to answer questions at all. What I mean is one needs to understand better the real question that is being asked, not necessarily the one heard. Here are four reasons why one should do so and one framework I use:

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Bring the future forward. Kids do it.

Bring future forward, sales questions, sales process, demo
Bring the future forward. And spend more time in the pool

The Sunday morning breakfast table was full of home made goodies: caramelised french toasts, chocolate filled brioche and pain brioche. Whilst eating these, the conversation was focused on what we would to in the afternoon after rugby training. And one option was starting to get a lot of the kids excited: going to a massive swimming pool with loads of slides and games. However, there was some work to do that hadn’t been done on Saturday. The conversation went a little bit like this:

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How to turn an interesting meeting into a productive one

Sales meeting; Interesting meeting;
This looks interesting. But beware of interesting meetings!

Photo credit: James Merhebi

Imagine this. You just walked out of a meeting with a prospect in a nice office in Central London. The conversation flew very well. Half way through the meeting, your prospect arranged for one colleague to join. She also arranged for some tea and biscuits to be brought in. A nice caring touch she didn’t have to do. And the meeting finished by the prospect saying one of these encouraging sentences:

“That was interesting. Can you send me some more information?” or “That was an interesting meeting. I will relay this internally and we need to catch-up on this.” and to finish “Very interesting. Glad we had this meeting. Let me reflect and we will synch-up shortly”.

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Three reasons why enthusiasm doesn’t sell

Have you got happy ears?

Photo credit: Michael

Have you looked at job description for sales people lately? Have you noticed that all sales people have to be “enthusiastic”. Yeap, because sales people deal with people so they have to have that enthusiasm for their product and service. And this enthusiasm will naturally be persuasive. Because a prospect is naturally convinced by a salesperson that is knowledgeable about their product and so positive about it? Isn’t this right?

Another way to demonstrate our enthusiasm is to arrange a “demo”. In the technology industry, a demo is more often than not the first step a sales person is going to organise when dealing with a prospect. Because via the demo, we demonstrate all the nice features and attributes. Sadly though, I fear features and benefits don’t sell…

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