You’ve probably been there before: It’s the end of the month, you’re trying to reach your monthly quota, and you need a miracle. Panic sets in, and you wonder where the sales are going to come from.
The bad news is that those sales won’t magically fall into your lap. The good news is I have five tools that will help you meet those quotas and become an extraordinary salesperson… write Greg Engle and Bob Moesta.
1: Frame the Problem
Framing the problem means figuring out what the customer is struggling with and understanding what solutions they want to find. This starts with recognizing the moment that they’re struggling and understanding the context and solutions the customer is looking for.
You can ask four types of questions to get this information:
- Push Questions: What are they struggling with? Where’s their frustration? Why are they doing this now? What don’t they like about their current product or service?
- Pull Questions: What are they hoping for? What’s going to be different once they have something new in their lives?
- Anxiety Questions: What are they worried about? What’s their greatest concern about getting rid of the old product or service and bringing in something new?
- Habit Questions: What are they willing to give up to get something better? What are they not willing to give up?
With these questions, you can understand where they are and why they’re doing what they’re doing. The answers to these questions give you more context, and you can then help them decide how they’re going to solve their problem and make progress with their life.
You can also try these three customer behavior frameworks to really dig into your customers and the progress they want to make.
2: Unpack Their Language
You need to understand vague words and concepts — words such as “easy,” “convenient,” or “fast.” Dig deeper with follow-up questions: “What does that mean?” “Tell me more about that.” “Can you give me an example?”
Unpacking is about getting down to the action. You can get down to this detail by asking “Five Whys” — asking “Why?” after each answer to get further down to the real reason why they feel a certain way or why they’re in the current situation.
In essence, you’re peeling back the onion and getting more information, and the more you know, the more you can help them.
3: Prototype to Learn
Prototyping is basically playing “let’s pretend.” Come up with contrasting solutions to the customer’s problem. For instance, if you’re a real estate agent, you want to show the customer three houses that are totally different. You might learn from looking at a ranch — something they didn’t want — that the buyer likes having the bedrooms close together.
Prototyping is about building contrast to create meaning. It’s about having a deeper conversation and getting more information about their situation before you’ve found a solution to their problem. It’s by finding what they don’t want that you find out more about what they do want. And when you find out what they do want, you can point them to the product or service that best meets their needs.
4: Design to Decide
To make it easier for a customer to decide on a solution, give them three possible options. People need to be able to eliminate options to decide, but they shouldn’t have too many options, or else they’ll fall victim to “analysis paralysis” and be unable to make a decision.
Let’s say you’re selling cars.
You should present the customer with options that are different but that all fit their budget. Studies show that when presented with three options, people almost immediately eliminate one option, leaving them with two. That’s where the difficulty starts: choosing between two options. The options need to be different enough so that the customer can compare and contrast the two and come to an easy decision.
5: Play it Out
Help the buyer look toward the future. Ask them questions such as, “How do you know you’ll be satisfied?” and “How will you know you made the right purchase?”
For example, if a customer bought a new car, you’d want to ask, “What are you going to do with the old car?” “How do you want to handle maintenance?” and “Do you need a roof rack?”
By anticipating these issues, you help them prepare and prevent buyer’s remorse. Playing it out involves things the buyer didn’t necessarily think of. It’s about setting expectations.
Think you’re good at listening? Listening is about actually understanding where people are going and what they are trying to do. You need to listen very carefully not only to what they are saying, but how they are saying it. Listen to the Listening episode of the podcast on this very topic.
A Toolbox That Works
These concepts are a part of any effective salesperson’s tool set. By applying them, you’ll not only get to the root of their problem, but you’ll also guide them through the buying process and help them make the right decision. You’ll make the sale, and suddenly that monthly quota won’t seem so impossible.