In my last posting I talked about communication—but the listening side more then the talking side of communication. Next, I want to talk about the next part of my definition of sales: Need. This is an important part of the sales process. A customer must not only need your product, but also be fully aware why they need it.
For example, when a potential client visits one of my colleges, they are pretty aware that they need to go back to school. This is because they are usually unemployed and lack the skills for employment, or they are under employed and lack the skills to get a better job. However, many of these clients don’t know why they really need to come back to school, nor do they know why my school is their best option. My job is to help them find out why they need to come back to school and why they need my school.
The first thing I want to make sure of is that I will not waste their time. I will not say the same old things all the other schools will tell them, like: We have 99% placement; We have the best teachers; We will promise them the world if they come to our school. No, to the contrary, I will ask them questions so they can find the answers they need.
Our discussion will go like this.
School – So, why do you want to come to our school?
Student – Well, I need the skills to get a better job.
School – You seem like a nice person, why don’t you go out, find a company, and ask them to hire you? Tell them you lack the necessary skills, but are very nice and will work hard?
Student – No one will hire me like that, without skills, no matter how nice I am.
School – Why not?
Student – Well, they need the best person possible to make the hire. They do not want to hire the wrong person, then have to let them go, and go through the expense of hiring again.
School – If you decided to come to our school and gain skills, do you think you will get the skills to get the job you want?
Student – Yes (Close)
School – So, if you come here, you will get a good job, right?
Student – Right (Close)
This is allowing a client to discover the answers for themselves. It works much better then telling them the answers. When they find the answers, the sale really works, and you will not mislead the client either. It builds the relationship in the right way. You can help the client find out what their need is just by asking a few questions. Then you can make sure they feel your product is right for their needs with just a few more questions.
Remember: never say what your client expects you to say. Always let your client find their own answers. Do not “positive sale” talk like all the other people out there. Help paint pictures for your client, and find out how they feel about it. Like in my last post, listening is key in being successful in almost anything. Above all be honest, fair, and real!
I assure you this works. Go ahead, try it. What do you have to lose? For just one day, don’t sound like all the other sales people out there; be different, be real. It works!
Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.
Mary Kay AshSteve Whiteside is a consultant specializing in organizational development, leadership and motivational workshops. You can contact him at, 604-786-5677.