How can two sales/service people give the same presentation, and yet one person is a Top Half producer and the other is a Bottom Half producer?
The discrepancy in sales performance could be caused by many factors, but the first place to look is how the low sales producers are saying what they say.
I don't mean their level of enthusiasm. That is important, but what is more persuasive is their form of communication.
There are three verbal activities in persuasion:
How your salespeople use these three activities largely determines how well each of them will sell.
Here is what you listen for:
In their dialog before and after the presentation, does the salesperson typically end their statements with silence or by asking a question?
Most of the time, you want to hear them end their statements with a question. (Confirmation questions, clarifying questions, trial close questions, not necessarily direct close questions.)
Your low producing salespeople probably end most of their answers with silence.
If you mapped out their sales call, it would probably look like this:
Prospective buyer: Asks question
Salesperson: (answer) Statement + silence
Prospective buyer: Asks next question
Salesperson: (answer) Statement + silence.
Why does that combination--making statements to answer a question followed by silence-- lead to poor sales performance?
1. Merely giving information and answering questions is providing customer service, not selling. Selling is a two-way dialog. When your salespeople end every answer (a statement) with silence, that is a one-way conversation.
2. Why must salespeople engage their prospective buyers in conversation? Because participating prospects are buying prospects!
3. Ending statements in silence signals prospective buyer to keep asking questions. That means the prospective buyer is in control of the direction of the conversation. When that occurs... the topics of discussion usually veer away from making an immediate buying decision!
Should the salesperson answer the questions of prospective buyers?
Yes, but they should end most of their answers with questions of their own. Then the salesperson can keep the sale moving forward by asking a question that focuses the attention of the prospective buyer on the most important dynamics needed to make an immediate buying decision (or in a multi-step sale, immediately take the next step in the buying process).
There is a lot more to discuss about how to use the three activities of persuasion. But this one facet--your salesperson ending all her or his selling statements with silence--is often the key difference between your top selling team members and low selling team members.
Helping your low sales producers develop the habit of asking questions at the end of their statements is the single most powerful way to increase their sales.
You may need to remind them there are two basic types of questions they can ask.
1. Closing questions
A closing question asks prospective buyers to take some type of action: authorize an agreement, fund a purchase or in a multi step sale, take the next step in the buying process.
Most salespeople are familiar with this type of question. But here's the catch: many low producers resist asking closing questions because they don't want to be "pushy". Therefore, you may need to teach them how to use the second type of questions...
2. Communication questions
Communication questions clarify and confirm that the prospective buyer understands what the salesperson has said. Unlike closing questions, communication questions do not request action. Instead, they give prospective buyers the chance to process the information provided by your salesperson:
"When you said ______, do you mean...?" (Clarification question)
"Does what we've covered so far make sense?" (Confirmation question)
"Are others involved in this decision or do you have the final say? (Discovery question)
"if you were move forward on this, would A or B work better for you?" (Trial close question)
"You mentioned earlier that you want ________, right?" (Tag question)
Communication questions invite participation. And participating prospects are more likely to become a buying prospects!
When low producing salespeople realize...
... they will be more open to engaging prospective buyers in a participating conversation throughout the sales call.
Bottom Half salespeople typically believe that selling is making statements. Top producing salespeople know that statements provide necessary information but asking questions is ultimately the most persuasive activity.
Part of your task as your sales/service team's mentor is to help them develop the skills to become experts in asking effective questions that lead to an immediate buying decision
Low producing salespeople who don't want to be "pushy", often hesitate to ask any questions!
Features the world's first complete model of persuasion that enables you to never become "lost in the sale" again. You will learn how to: