Traits of Top Salespeople

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Tag: curiosity

The Quintessential Salesperson: Navigating Trust, Value, and the Art of the Ask

The Quintessential Salesperson: Navigating Trust, Value, and the Art of the Ask

In the exciting world of sales, getting swept up in targets, quotas, and the rush of closing deals is easy. Yet, as a young salesperson just starting out in your career, it’s crucial to remember the essence of your role: You’re not just a seller; you’re a valuable addition to your customers’ lives and their companies. You offer a benefit that goes beyond the product you sell – you provide solutions, help achieve goals, and in doing so, create value that far outweighs the monetary cost of your product.

The Value Proposition: Solving Problems, Achieving Goals

In sales, the first step is always about understanding your product and its inherent value. Your product is not just a commodity – it’s a tool that solves a problem and facilitates the achievement of a goal. Your customers are not merely trading their money for your product; they are investing in a solution that is valuable to them and helps them conquer challenges and move closer to their aspirations.

Remember, if your product doesn’t solve a problem or help achieve a goal for your customer, they probably shouldn’t buy it. It’s your responsibility to ascertain whether the product you’re selling aligns with your prospect’s needs. Hence, the questions you ask before they become a customer are crucial. Those questions are designed to allow you to help them. The design of those questions enables you to discover if the prospect has a problem that your product can help with and if they have a goal that aligns with what your product offers.

In the memorable words of Jerry McGuire (a sales movie masquerading as a love story), discovery questions are simply asking the prospect to help you so that you can help them.

Trust: The Foundation of Sales Success

As a salesperson, trust is your currency. Your belief in the ability of your product to solve a problem worthy of solving is the foundation upon which you build your sales strategy. Your job is not just about making a sale but transferring that trust from you to your customer. And doing it quickly enough to matter to your timeline, be it this quarter, this month, or this year.

The trust you build with your customers also extends to understanding that your product might be a better fit for some companies. Discerning the right fit requires asking probing questions to determine if the prospect has a problem big enough and a goal valuably sufficient to warrant the investment of the company’s resources.

The Art of Asking: Confidence and Curiosity

As a salesperson, your strength lies in your product knowledge or persuasion skills and your ability to ask the right questions. This requires a blend of confidence and curiosity. Confidence stems from your belief in the product and the value it provides. Curiosity comes from your genuine interest in your prospect’s needs, challenges, and goals.

You’re not merely trying to sell a product; you’re attempting to do your prospect a favor by offering a solution that will make a difference in their lives or businesses. This perspective empowers you to ask difficult questions. It gives you the courage to delve deeper into your prospect’s needs and challenges to discover the true extent of the problem they’re trying to solve and the value of the goal they’re trying to achieve.

Remember, as a salesperson, you’re a problem solver, a goal facilitator, and a trusted advisor. You offer a benefit, provide a solution, and create value. Your job is not just about closing deals but about making a difference. And that, a young salesperson, is the essence of a successful sales career.

The Pride of Problem-Solving: A Salesperson’s Badge of Honor

In the grand tapestry of business, the role of a salesperson is often underestimated. The skills and tenacity it takes to close a deal are frequently overlooked, and the value a salesperson brings to the table can sometimes be undersold. But if you peel back the layers of what it truly means to be in sales, you’ll discover a role that’s integral, important, and worthy of great pride.

As a salesperson, you’re not merely a cog in the business machine but a problem-solver, a facilitator of goals, and a conduit of value. You’re the key that unlocks the door to solutions for your prospects, the bridge that carries them toward their goals. And that’s something to be incredibly proud of.

When you help a prospect solve a problem or achieve a goal, you do more than just sell a product. You’re making a tangible difference in their lives and businesses. You’re helping them overcome hurdles, reach new heights, and achieve success. The pride that stems from this role isn’t merely about the deals you close or the targets you hit but the real and meaningful impact you have on the people and companies you interact with.

So, as you step into the shoes of a salesperson, remember to carry with you not just your product knowledge and sales techniques but also a sense of pride in your role. Because you are more than just a salesperson – you’re a problem-solver, a goal-facilitator, a value-creator. You are a catalyst for change and a harbinger of success for your customers. Wear your salesperson badge with pride, for it is a testament to your ability to make a difference, one solution, one goal, and one sale at a time.

Header Photo by Mizuno K
Ask Better Questions To Close More Deals

Ask Better Questions To Close More Deals

Asking questions is one of the most effective conversation techniques for a sales call. It shows that you’re interested in the customer’s business and demonstrates your curiosity about their needs. Asking questions also gives you an opportunity to gather the information that can help you close the sale. However, it’s important to avoid asking too many questions or coming across as pushy. The key is to strike a balance between being interested and being intrusive. By using questions strategically, you can build rapport, gather information, and ultimately close the sale.

Asking questions is key to uncovering the initiatives and goals for the company during the Discovery phase of your sales process. The more that you discover with your questions, the more that you will be able to tailor your sales efforts to appeal to the various decision-makers within the prospect. You will also be able to decide if your product’s benefits are valuable enough to spend time selling to the prospect.

Not all questions are created equal. To be effective, questions should be carefully crafted to elicit specific information. They should also be asked in a way that shows genuine curiosity and concern. When used correctly, questions can help you to create a deeper connection with your prospective customer and increase your chances of making a successful sale.

In order to build rapport with a prospect and earn trust, you need to be an active listener as well as a skilled speaker. This means asking questions to get a better understanding of their business, their needs, and their goals. It also means showing genuine curiosity and interest in what they have to say. Only by taking the time to truly listen can you hope to build the foundation for a successful business relationship.

Of course, questions must be used wisely. You will come across as pushy or intrusive if you ask too many questions. But if you use them judiciously, questions can be a powerful tool for building relationships and closing deals.

Great basis for questions

You probably shouldn’t ask these specific questions but they will probably get you started in the right direction.

  • What is working?
  • What isn’t working?
  • When it works, what good things happen?
  • When it doesn’t work, what bad things happen?
  • Who is affected when it doesn’t work?
  • Who is affected when it does work?
  • How much does it cost when it doesn’t work?
  • What are their goals?
  • What challenges are they facing?
  • May I ask you some questions about your business?
  • Could you tell me about your business?
  • What happens in the world that causes you to lose money as a company?
  • You specialize in X. Why did you choose that niche?
  • What does your manager hope to accomplish in the next year?
  • How does your company evaluate new products or services before buying?
  • Why would you commit time and resources to something that’s low to medium priority?
  • Tell me about your average day. How would this solution impact your daily work?
  • What’s holding your team back from reaching your goals?
  • Was budget a barrier in solving this problem previously?
  • Why is this a priority for you now?
  • Why haven’t you tried to solve the problem before?
  • Who are you doing business with now? Why did you choose that vendor?
  • Is there anyone else you think I should speak with?
  • What is the business problem you’re trying to solve?
  • What are the priorities for your business/team this quarter?
  • What are your biggest pain points?
  • What events are you attending this year?
  • Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth?
  • When is a good date to follow up?

Showing that you understand their needs will make it more likely that they’ll want to do business with you. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your sales calls are more effective and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Many sales campaigns are effective because of the questions that the salesperson asks. Good questions display business acumen and curiosity, two qualities that customers respect. They also give the salesperson an opportunity to understand the customer’s needs and pain points. Asking questions also shows that the salesperson is engaged in the conversation and is truly interested in helping the customer. Consequently, questions should be a key part of any sales call.

Photo by Alex Green: https://www.pexels.com/photo/attentive-female-counselor-listening-to-male-patient-5699484/
Curiosity May Not Kill The Cat, But It Definitely Kills Your Quota

Curiosity May Not Kill The Cat, But It Definitely Kills Your Quota

Salespeople are often told to “pitch” their products and services. This is ineffective because it leaves the prospect feeling like they were manipulated and ignored. Instead, the successful salesperson should use curiosity; curiosity is an emotion that encourages people to find out more about you or your company. 

If you want to increase your success rate at closing deals with prospects, try incorporating curiosity into your conversation by asking open-ended questions.

Podcaster Robert Gillette recently interviewed me for his podcast, Reclaiming Sales. In that podcast (which you can listen to here and read the transcript here), I said that salespeople fail because they are not curious.

Some sales trainers will encourage salespeople to be incredibly knowledgeable about a prospect’s business to show situational awareness. In almost all cases, this is a bad strategy. Why would you know more about how that company runs than the managers of the company do? To suggest that you are more capable of running your prospect’s company than they are leaves you open to appearing overly pompous. It is much better to be humble and ask sincere questions about their operations.

“You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

For decades, marketers have known that the best way to keep someone’s attention is by piquing their curiosity. If they’re interested in what you’ve got, they’ll stick around and interact with your message. It seems like such a simple idea, but it’s one of the most powerful tools in marketing today.

The same principle of generating curiosity applies to salespeople, too: if prospects are curious about what we can offer them, they will be more likely to invest time working with us on their request or inquiry than not engaging at all. For this technique to work, though, there has to be something worth being curious about–something that captures people’s imagination.

Recent research suggests that salespeople who are curious about their prospects and customers are more likely to close deals than those who only focus on what they need from them. Curiosity helps us get our prospect’s perspectives to understand better how they think and why they act as they do, which allows us to connect with them on an emotional level and make them want to buy from us.

Salespeople have a unique ability to create curiosity. They can do this by asking insightful, thought-provoking questions that pique the interest of their prospects and customers. To maximize their success in creating curiosity, salespeople must be knowledgeable about what they are selling and how it can benefit the customer or prospect. A salesperson creates curiosity when there is an air of mystery with an underlying promise of satisfaction for those who invest time learning more about the product or service.

The best salespeople create curiosity and capture the attention of their prospects. They do this by creating a dialogue about themselves, their company, or the product they’re selling. You accomplish this through storytelling, humor, and empathy. These are the three legs of your offering that I often discuss on this site.

There are a few ways to use your presentation skills to engage with your audience and generate curiosity. Here are some examples:

  • Quote someone famous, like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, who has said something about their business
  • Give them a story from just last week or last month where they helped someone solve a problem they were having
  • Ask, “What are your biggest business challenges?”
  • Ask, “How do you measure success in your organization?”
  • Ask, “How did you justify that old purchase to your executives?”
  • Ask, “What’s essential in life for you?”
  • Ask, “How do you feel when this happens?”
  • Ask, “How does that work?”
  • Ask, “How did you decide to do it that way?”

In addition, by asking prospects about their company’s goals, salespeople can better understand how they work and what tools they need to succeed.

If you’re a salesperson, it’s essential to know the business problems your customers are facing. That way, you can make sure that what you offer will be relevant and valuable to them. It also helps if you have some ideas for solutions. At least have a list of questions about what they’re looking to accomplish and their company and personal goals. The more information you have about their needs, the better you’ll identify potential solutions and put together a tailored proposal specifically for them. So next time someone asks, “What do I need?” remember these three key points:

  1. Ask why they need it;
  2. Figure out how this will help solve their problem;
  3. Make sure it fits with other items on their agenda.