In sales, I completely understand the purpose of the script. It is designed to keep sales teams on track and to follow a process. But what I have learned in sales is that the script is not king –the conversation is.
Without great conversations, sales don’t happen. Thus, relationships are king.
I have seen it far too many times – a salesperson selling past the close. Why does this happen? They are firmly following the checklist of messages they have to deliver to the prospect. What happens in this situation? The prospect actually gets turned off.
What is an example of selling past the close?
Following up with emails too many times: Odds are a prospect may miss one email, but when that number jumps to two or three, the odds go down. Chances are they have seen it and are ignoring it for some reason or another. Perhaps they are no longer interested and don’t have the professional fortitude to reply or perhaps they are delaying because they don’t have the answer. The easiest solution in an active sales process would be for both parties to agree to a mutually beneficial sales cycle – but, that will never happen. There is certainly a percentage of people who CAN be sold; but in most cases, your role is that of a facilitator, thus, don’t overdo it with too much communication.
Not listening to the true questions of the prospective buyer: Body language, questions and engagement are all aspects of conversation. Far too often, telltale signs are ignored. You should evaluate your prospective buyer based on the questions they are asking and the language their body is displaying. Do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? You are in control of the next destination – and you love it because of the control you have in a seemingly controlled atmosphere (a book). What if in sales, your process allowed the lead to guide the direction – and you are simply the sales guide.
Disclosing opinions, not facts: There is still an art to the sale. Sometimes, salespeople share too many of their opinions that stray away from the facts. This can create sales confusion that leads to wavering in the opinion of the buyer. Know your facts and deliver them in the most confident way. Even when you are anticipating questions, make sure you deliver the answers in a sincere way. Honesty and empathy are vital to establishing the relationship.
Understand that not all sales are created equal: Be flexible and nimble. When you know your stuff, it’s easy to do this. Let the flow of the conversion lead you to your next move. In a game of sales chess, not every move that is planned is executed – meaning, you must be prepared, but also willing to adapt.
I believe development is much easier than sales. Lead the buyer to the trigger, but don’t force them to pull it. If you have something worthwhile to sell, they will gladly pull it themselves. And those who are not completely oversold in the process of buying will also more likely be successful validators as time goes on because they will never be able to say they were duped into buying something they really weren’t sure about.