Less talking and more listening

I’m being asked all the time ‘How can I motivate my client to buy when engaging on the telephone’

What a great question, this is one of the tips we share in our 30 Telephone Sales Techniques that will catapult you to success

To truly understand your customer, you need THEM (the client) to be doing the talking. 

This starkly contrasts with what most salespeople do: they land up doing all the talking! They talk ‘at’ a client, ‘telling’ them what they need without actually knowing if it is indeed what the client needs.

Master being curious, investigative and intrigued. To provide the right solution and really get to grips with their situation, you have to pose the right questions. Ideally you need to have crafted and comfortably practiced a minimum of 100+ questions. Why? Because you never know where the conversation may go. If you’ve only prepared a few questions you will push your clients down your own question path missing out on valuable information. 

A great sales call is when the salesperson is asking relevant questions and the client is doing around 90% of the talking. The salesperson will be listening, understanding the situation to now know / propose the right solution.

Your mantra is ‘Seek to understand’. 

That way you will know how you can help and give the compelling reason(s) to buy your solution, aligning what they need with what you have. 

Open questions are best at getting them discussing their situation, they will give you insightful answers that can help you understand them better.

You need to always go with what question feels natural and right at the time. It needs to be relevant and meaningful. Throughout the conversation it’s imperative you be mentally present. 

Watch what you are asking (I.e. not overstepping the mark in your relationship with intense questions about their business if you don’t know them well enough or they don’t yet see you as the trusted advisor e.g. how much money that will make you). Basically, if it feels right to ask – it probably is, if it feels wrong – it probably is. If they are an introvert, then make it easy for them to chat, ‘walk me through’ is more appealing than ‘talk me through’. 

Example open questions:

Walk me through…

What did you find was working well on [blah de blah]?

Where does this fit [blah de blah], into the future?

How would you describe your experience with … [blah de blah]?

How does [blah de blah] work?

When this situation happens, [blah de blah], what happens? 

What would be most helpful for you to know about [blah de blah] right now?

How will your team manage this situation over the next 6 months?

How will they handle this challenge? 

What are your main concerns or questions about [product/service]? 

What persuaded you to call us today/use someone else’s solution?

If this [blah de blah] happened, how would that roll out?

And why was that /why is that/why? (I’m assuming your tone and intent is honourable and as the trusted advisor here – not interrogational).

If your call is to a new client, then the first questions you ask will be ones to get them talking, so choose intriguing yet easy questions for them to comfortably talk with and open up to you.

A ‘hard’ opening question will put them off and they will divert and say they are busy. I.e. saying ‘how does the next 6 months look?’, would be suitable for a client who knows you, but unlikely to land well as one of your opening questions if cold calling, coming across as too hard and too personal.