Armed with this information, we go see a lot of people, select only those people who might benefit from our product or service and ask them questions about why they might need whatever it is we sell. The best salespeople talk twenty percent of the time and listen eighty percent of the time. When it's our turn to talk, the best salespeople ask questions to keep the customer talking. When the customer talks, he will say things that take us closer to our sales goal, in which case we agree with him and support him in his astuteness. He will also say things that take us away from our sales goal, in which case we withhold support and let him have his own opinion, all by himself. Experience tells us that most objections, in the absence of support--positive or negative--from the salesperson, will simply go away. The best salespeople know that we never argue with a customer, as in arguing, the customer locks himself on the idea that he is right and we are wrong. His objections become hurdles impossible to overcome.
When we have firmly established in the customer's mind that he has a need for our product/service, we demonstrate the benefits of our program to help him fill his need and satisfy his wants. We need to establish a position of NET GAIN,where we have something the customer needs and wants and cannot get from anyone else. When we have created a net gain, we have largely eliminated problems like price, color, delivery and other objections. They just fade away into relative unimportance.
We then obtain a commitment from the customer to do business with us. Please notice I did not say close the sale. The best salespeople do not "close." I hate to be "closed" and so do you. When someone "closes" you, you feel that you have abrogated control over your life to someone else and that is a very uncomfortable feeling--rather like a turtle on his back. In fact, in my later years, I've grown to dislike the word "close." "Close" is a final sort of word, meaning the ending of things. I fly a lot and hate it when they call those buildings airline "terminals." The pilot says, "We are now on our final approach." Don't tell me that. No, I don't believe in "closing," but I do believe in opening. If we can open enough relationships of sufficient quality, we need never worry about "closing" again. Our success is assured.
The best salespeople then follow up with the customer to nourish and cultivate the relationships they have so painstakingly built. This relationship selling minimizes the necessity of prospecting and eliminates any need for "closing," "overcoming objections" or the trickery and chicanery that have so long sullied the reputation of we salespeople. Every time we make a sale, we make a friend and make all the following sales just that much easier and faster.
I find the preponderance of time at any sales meeting, or conference, is dedicated to increasing product knowledge. Product knowledge is important. If we don't know what our product does, how will we know what sort of questions we should ask? Product knowledge is only about twenty percent of a salesperson's effectiveness, however. Eighty percent is people knowledge and that's what our programs work on.