Have you ever been “sold to” by somebody? You may be familiar with the experience of chatting to a sales professional and even though that person is very knowledgeable about their product or service, you have a nagging feeling that they are more interested in making the sale to you than doing what is right for you and your business.
When you have that feeling of being “sold to” you instinctively tend to put barriers up, and conversely, are unlikely to become a buyer. In short, you don’t have trust in the person trying to make the sale and that lack of trust prevents you from becoming a buyer - however much information the sale professional may share with you.
The great Zig Ziglar put it best when he said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
As the owner of an IT Solution Provider or Managed Service Provider (MSP) business, consider for a moment how you or your team behave when you’re in front of a new prospect. Do you listen to the prospect and try to show them you understand their situation, or do you make assumptions about what they need and swamp them with information?
However knowledgeable you are about your product or service, the prospect is unlikely to listen to what you have to share unless they start to trust you and feel that you are working in their best interest.
The best way to earn this trust? Listening.
Most prospects will happily share what they want if only you listen. Say a prospect tells you that they want a new server system. If you immediately jump in and start offering them options on new servers, it’s unlikely the prospect will actually listen to what you have to say.
But if you ask pertinent questions such as “Can you help me understand why you want a new server” then you’ll start to get a bit more background about the issues and importantly, how they effect both the company and the individual who is buying.
In the case of a new server system, when asked why, the prospect might volunteer that the current old server slows down employees. A follow-up question of “How does that affect you?” may then uncover the emotions involved -- frustration, annoyance, anger -- all emotions that you can show you understand by empathising with their situation.
By listening to the prospect share their emotions, you can then start to understand the true motivations for their potential purchase.
The old server system that causes employees to become frustrated while trying to do their job, which in turn leads to complaints to the company owner which causes him frustration -- that is a situation you can picture and when you put yourself into the prospects shoes, you can feel.
By expressing to the client you understand how they are feeling -- empathising with their situation -- you are showing that you care.
When you’ve showed you understand the prospects situation and that you care, then you can start to share a potential solution with them. Then, and only then, will the prospect be ready to listen.
If you show up to your next sales meeting and immediately start to try to solve the prospects problem and impart information on to them, then don’t expect to make the sale. None of us like being “sold to”.
By listening to the prospect explain the background to the issue they’re experiencing -- and importantly, the impact it has on the business and them as individuals -- then you can start to put yourself in your prospects shoes.
By demonstrating that you empathize with their situation and see things from their perspective, then, and only then, will the prospect be ready to listen to the information you have to share.
Richard Tubb works with MSP's to help them focus on what is important, free up their time and make more money. You don't have to do it alone any more!