As you begin to move into the season, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend a little time tuning up your sales process. Over the last 18 years I have been in hundreds of dealerships and listened to hundreds of employees fumble their way through a sale. In most every situation, I would listen to a salesperson tell the customer everything they could about the equipment and fail to do the most important part of the selling process—shut up and sell.
Gather the details
I just finished a Sales Boot Camp and one skill that I worked on with the students was their questioning and listening skills. My goal was to teach them that the better the questions they asked, the easier and faster the sale would take place.
Selling is about gathering information, consolidating the information and providing a helpful solution. Customers want to talk. They want to tell you about their lives and their “unique” problems. Even if you’ve heard it a million times before and you know what they are going to say before they say it, let them talk. Customers buy from you based more on how well you listen than on how well you talk.
Asking the right questions
The questions you ask should allow the customer to help you present them with the right solution to their “unique” problem. At this point in the selling process, you are a detective hunting for facts that will help you solve the crime (close the sale).
The first question I encourage sales people to ask is, “Are you considering a mower, chainsaw, or string trimmer to replace what you have, looking for one to add to what you already have, or is this the first one that you are considering investing in?”
This beginning question will set up my next series of questions. If I do my job and listen intently to what they are saying, I will have the ability to present specifically what they will be ultimately willing to purchase.
By asking if they are replacing or adding to what they have I can follow up with questions that give me important insight into what they like or dislike about what they currently have. And what they would change or improve on if they could go back in time and buy what they have currently. Every bit of information will add to my ability to lead them into the right product at the right price point and help me close the sale faster.
Choose words wisely
You will notice on the third part of my initial question, I asked “...or is this the first one you are considering investing in?” I purposely stayed away from the word “buying” and instead used the word “investing” because when people think about buying something they focus more on price, than on value. If I focus them on investing in a “mower, string trimmer or chainsaw” they begin to think more long term and price will become less of a factor.
Know the decision maker
As you ask questions in this stage of the process, make sure you ask, “Who other than yourself would be involved in making a final decision on this?” and “What time frame are you looking at as you considering making this type of investment?”
Both questions will give you the ability to sharpen your focus. If the customer says, “I need to bring my wife in because she will be using the mower some of the time,” you know she is the final decision maker and you should get the customer excited about bringing his wife in so you can present to them both at the same time.
Remember, selling isn’t telling, selling is asking good questions, intently listening to the customers’ responses and then showing the customer how what they told you matches the equipment you are helping them invest in. With a little practice, anyone can sell like a pro.