The silence was deafening. Both Valerie and her prospect sat there looking at each other waiting for the other person to speak first. Valerie had finished her presentation of the new products' features and benefits and was expecting the Director of Operations to give her some indication of how well she had done. Since the training she had received on the new product said any prospect would be blown away by all the new bells and whistles, no one had ever bothered to consider what to do if that wasn't the case. Valerie had covered everything and found herself stuck not knowing what to do or say next. Was the sales call over or was something else supposed to happen?
Valerie's product training set her up to fail in situations like this. When all the telling ended, the prospect was supposed to start asking questions; questions that Valerie had been trained to answer with confidence. When the prospect didn't follow that "script," Valerie didn't have the know-how to keep the call alive.
The best sales calls are question-based as opposed to selling-by-telling. High-performing salespeople understand that the prospect will have his or her own reasons to buy, and all the feature and benefit presentations may not hit the target or get the prospect to engage in the process. Valerie was out of her element when the pre-planned pitch didn't work out and the meeting ground to a halt.
The best way to avoid Valerie's plight is to establish the question-based, give-and-take sales conversation as soon as possible. A good example of that is to use the N-O-T model for call management:
- “Naturally, I'll have some questions for you.
- “Obviously, you will have questions for me.
- “Typically, at the end of the meeting we'll be able to make a decision as whether or not it makes sense to pursue this further or that there just isn't a fit.”
To stay out of the dead air zone, add this simple question to the process up front: “Knowing I was coming to visit today, what did you want to ask me about regarding this product?”
Put the pressure back on the prospect to contribute to the success of the call or training session, and to give yourself some ideas as to where to steer the conversation.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of N-O-T? If so, how has the call been compared to calls without using N-O-T?
Final Thought for the Morning:
"Never give up on someone. Sometimes the answers you are looking for are the same answers another person is looking for. Two people searching together are always better than one person alone." ~ Shannon Adler
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.