Salespeople, who try to sell their products and services too early, before they create interest, often get rejected. Their customers have a preconceived notion of what they’re being sold. For example, if you say, “we have some [insert product here] that could be of interest to you,” the prospect starts thinking about cost, how they already have some of [those], or that they’ve already tried those services to no avail.
On the other hand, when you suggest you have ideas that could be of benefit, people are more likely to be interested and open. In sales training we call this The Curiosity Stage. What can you say to get the prospect curious and thinking, “That sounds interesting, tell me more.”
A promise of interesting ideas that could help the prospect will often open the door. Of course, you have to be able to deliver so it means that you have to come up with real ideas that are of value and worth sharing. Do your homework! Read interesting new books, learn from your other customers, talk with suppliers, the sales people in your office, and the most successful person you know who does what you do. What are the ideas that they find most beneficial to customers?
Then start your sales conversation by asking some questions:
“What are some of the challenges you face in your business related to [problems you solve]?”
International competition is getting better and better. We compete with China now, not just the company in the next town.
“What would make it better?”
We need to raise the bar on quality controls and improve customer service.
“If that happened, what would be different?”
We’d have a better story to tell. We’d get more referrals and our salespeople would feel more confident when talking to their customers.
“Then what would happen?”
We’d be able to keep our customers, continue to operate the business, and hopefully feel better about what we’re doing.
Then you transition: “The reason I ask is we have some ideas for you that could help you get more referrals; increase your team’s confidence; make more sales and grow the business.”
It’s unlikely the prospect will say, “I’m not interested.”
Arousing curiosity is a quick step in the sale process; but if you don’t do it, you’re more likely to be rejected. So get in the habit of sharing ideas. If they like your ideas, they’ll give you a chance to sell your service.