Have you ever been on a prospect call (or delivered a presentation) where everything seemed to be going well, until the very end, when the only sound that could be heard was total silence? Then, in an attempt to elicit some sort of feedback, you ask, “Does anyone have any questions?”, only to find yourself looking at a sea of blank faces, as if you’re staring at the world’s largest oil painting?
One of the harsh realities salespeople face in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace is the fact that customers who are not truly engaged are unlikely to buy from you.
Picture the newly hired salesperson, trying to rationalize his lack of production during the first month on the job, explains to his boss,“Sir, I can lead the ‘horses’ to water, but I can’t always make ’em drink.”
“Make ’em drink?” the sales manager sputters. “Making customers drink is not your job. Your job is to make them thirsty!”
The sales manager in this anecdote makes a great point. It’s not the salesperson’s role to try and force people to buy. Instead, the sales function starts with piquing the prospect’s interest, so customers will want to know more about the products and services being offered.
It has become far too easy to encourage sales teams to reach out to more prospects, ask more questions, probe for more needs, and let’s not forget to qualify the opportunity—yet none of these actions constitutes real engagement.
True engagement occurs when the customer begins to inquire about you, your company, and how your products and services might be able to provide value. Wouldn’t you rather engage potential buyers in an interactive back and forth discussion about their needs and the value of your offerings, than deliver a one-way monologue?
What if it were possible to sustain 30%, 40%, or even 50% response rates on your social media outreach efforts, or when sending emails or leaving voice-mail messages? Imagine the impact that would have on your Return on Invested Sales Efforts (R-O-I-S-E).
These results are absolutely attainable, but only for those who are willing to step outside the boundaries of traditional sales thinking.
Successfully engaging more prospects in more productive sales conversations starts with your ability to make them curious. Whether you’re calling customers directly, or reaching out via email, or leveraging social media, curiosity is the initial spark that causes potential buyers to “want to” engage, and curiosity is also the catalyst that fuels the rest of the sales process. It’s a simple formula, really. Prospects who are curious will want to engage further, while those who aren’t the least bit curious, won’t.
Throughout Question Based Selling, we want people to become more curious. We want customers to ask questions, and we want them to “want to” engage in a more productive dialogue about their needs and your ability to provide value. But, successfully leveraging curiosity requires a fundamental change in strategy. Rather than launching into an ‘elevator pitch’ filled with a bunch of buzzwords or industry catch-phrases, in the hopes of piquing the prospect’s interest, piquing the customer’s interest is actually the first step to engaging more prospects in order to create new business opportunities.
So, dare I ask, what are you doing to leverage curiosity throughout the sales process?