Overcome Indifference by Listening Instead of Selling

Overcome Indifference by Listening Instead of Selling

For those of us in sales, sales, our job is ultimately to sell people stuff, right?

If that was ever true, which is highly questionable, it certainly isn’t the case now. To successful sales reps, selling is the result of what they do, but it isn’t what they do.

Just think about it. Even as a sales professional:

• Don’t you hate to be “sold”?
• Don’t you get pretty uncomfortable when someone comes in and starts pushing you in a direction you don’t want to go?

Experienced, successful sales reps understand this dynamic better than anyone.

The last thing you will find them doing is putting their customers in that kind of position. If you have to work and stress and push really hard to close a deal, you are probably not closing very many sales.

There is a better way.

First of all, let go of the notion that you are out to “sell” anything. The whole notion of selling implies that your main reason for making the call is to do something that benefits yourself, i.e., earn a commission. Instead, begin to think in terms of being there to serve your customer, and help her find a solution to a problem that is an issue for her.

If you find the right solution, you may end up making a sale, but it won’t be because you wore down the customer’s resistance – it will be because she recognized that she needed something you could provide.

Consider for a moment the topic of customer indifference – the bane of many a sales rep.

You know you have a great product. You are excited about this product and are proud to be representing this company. You believe your product would provide a great benefit to your customer.

Unfortunately, your customer is not interested!

She may be too busy to listen, or she may be perfectly content with her current provider. She may actually be completely ignorant of the fact that she has a need, or that your product could totally rock her world.

After all, a mule and a plow look pretty good to someone who has never seen a tractor!

At any rate, she is not interested in hearing what you have to say. What do you do?

A lot of sales reps just start talking faster and louder. They beg for just “5 minutes” of the customer’s time. They make all sorts of amazing claims for the product. They keep pushing and prodding, hoping to find a crack in the armor.

And pushing and prodding just makes the armor stronger.

Of course, some reps will just fold at the first sign of “not interested” on the face of the customer and walk away without ever taking a shot. What should you do?

Instead of trying to make the customer acquainted with your product, spend the time getting acquainted with the customer!

You will have a hard time convincing her that you have something that will truly benefit her if it is clear to her that you have no idea what she really needs or what her situation is really like.

Your credibility – and that of your product – goes right out the door, because you were focused on selling instead of listening.

The next time you encounter customer indifference, follow these five simple suggestions, and I bet you start to close more sales:

1. Spend a little time getting to know your customer’s situation. Ask her what is working, what is not working, what she likes the best, and what areas pose the greatest challenges for her.

2. As you listen, be on the lookout for any problem areas where you know your company or your product could provide a valuable benefit. Keep asking questions, and keep listening. Don’t jump in too soon.

3. When you feel you have gathered enough information, and still without being pushy or too “salesy,” politely confirm with the customer what you think you have heard. It might be something like: “If I understood you correctly, it seems that your biggest need at the moment is X. Am I right about that?”

4. “Well, what if …?” The preceding phrase is the best opportunity detector in the business. Based on what the customer has freely told you, introduce a theoretical solution for her problem based on a benefit you happen to know your product can provide. You’re still not selling, only asking questions and shooting the breeze.

5. “I think I may be able to help you.” (Not, “I think I may be able to sell you something!”) Now you can explain the benefits of your particular product. If she believes you are really trying to help her, she will be ready to listen. Go ahead – be proud of your product! Explain how it’s the right solution to her need.

As long as you keep the conversation focused on her need to find a solution instead of your need to sell something, you may both walk away as winners.

Baker Communications offers leading-edge sales training solutions for sales makers and sales managers that will help you address the goals and achieve the outcomes addressed in this article. For more information about how your organization can achieve immediate and lasting behavior change that will uncover new opportunities, drive revenue, and boost your bottom line, click here.