By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
In our business, we are often asked, “What is the biggest mistake salespeople make?” Of course, we tend to term them “opportunity areas” rather than “mistakes” but whatever you want to call them, the most common is the area of questioning. The second area that goes hand-in-hand with number one would be the seeming inability of typical sales professionals to quit talking and listen after they’ve asked great questions!
The average salesperson is high in the “D & I” of the DiSC personality assessment, which means that they are “dominant” and “influential”, they like to control their environment and generally, they love to talk (to learn more about the DiSC profile, send us an e-mail for a sample). While these are critical personality traits for a sales professional to possess, they can also be their Achilles heel. In a meeting with the prospect, they think that selling is best done by being the one who talks the most. Their best definition of communication is “taking turns talking”!
The shortest course on selling is “ask questions and shut up”. Good use of open ended, closed and probing questions allows you to accurately determine your prospect’s priorities, challenges and needs. How can you truly provide a solution, which is an overused word in sales these days, without knowing precisely what the problems are and where the opportunities are? You should never go into a sales presentation without a list of well thought out questions. At Northbound, we’re hesitant to even use the term “presentation” as it implies that the salesperson is “presenting” while the prospect carefully listens while it should be just the opposite.
If you’re a sales leader, Northbound’s “Questions Are The Answer” workshop includes a solid skills building segment in this area. For more information or pricing, contact Michael Caron at [email protected] or 416.456.1440.