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The Persuasive Power of Listening

A business has to grow.  It is essential to generate new leads and new customers for products and services. Selling requires 7 critical steps for success. Before you engage potential customers, remember it is not about you.  Selling involves putting yourself in the customers shoes, seeing the exchange from their point of view, and sharpening up your listening skills.

1. Do your Homework.    Before you meet with a customer, research all the public information you can find. Google the company and the owners and/or CEO, Check out all the social sites and read up on what’s current. You want to up to speed on what is current with your customer. Prepare for the meeting by doing significant online research.

2. Learn more in the Meeting    The most important skill is your ability to ask solid, open-ended questions to deepen your understanding of the customers situation. What are the issues are they facing in the next 30 days? 60 days? What has changed in the competitive landscape? Your goal is to solicit information that helps you develop a clearer picture of your customer.  And building a relationship during the process is a positive.  People do business with people they like.

3.Understand the Customer End Game    Understanding the future gives you insight about the present.  Your goods or services should reflect solutions that contribute to the longer term vision.  Is your customer growing market share? Entering new markets? Learn what the future means by asking question to deepen your knowledge.

4. Figure out if You can Add Value.   Once you have garnered additional knowledge, figure out if your product or service will add value.  If the pain can be solved by your product, you can be confident in serving up a solution. If you are saving time or money or both, then you have a reason to move on to step 5.  Be very confident, as in 100% confident.  If not, you are not going to make the sale even if you have the solution.

5. Serve up the Solution. Present your idea using key phases and solutions from your conversation. Stick to a clear, concise delivery. Present facts confidently. Don’t wander off target and add additional blather for filler. Your solution must be crisp and easily understandable to move forward.  It is not the time to tack on additional features or other new products that have just popped into your head. Problem and solution should be a linear conversation, not a wandering monologue.

6. Determine the Next Step.   Outline what has to happen next.  Determine the action steps and who is taking the action. Write down the steps to move forward. If you are speaking to the decision maker, close the sale. The best time to close the sale is when the decision maker clearly understands the solution and wants to take the next step. Business owners are busy people.  Once the conversation is over, you have made your case or not.

7. Follow up as Agreed Upon.   How many times did you leave a potential client and then fail to follow up?  Timely follow up is essential to making the sale. A sale is not a sale until you have the order.  Your goal is make the sale. And if you build a relationship and follow through on your commitments, you should have a satisfied, new customer.  Make certain the customer is delighted with the relationship and your company. How will you know?    Call after the sale and ask!

There you have it.  A process that takes the pain and angst out of selling.  Go make a appointment and listen up!

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