Question: When presenting my product or service in the sales process how can I best judge the prospect’s interest level?
Arte: Judging interest level is a step that is done AFTER rapport—a connection would be another way to express it—has been established (without which actual interest could be submerged due to lack of affinity). In the Hubbard management system we refer to it as a “communication line”, meaning there is a palpable connection from salesperson to prospect.
There are several steps to be considered BEFORE one is concerned about interest level. In fact, the interest level is CREATED by these earlier steps.
Having established a “comm line”, one must then determine, discover, and remove any barriers which are present due to prior poor experience with your or similar product or service.
Note well: You cannot get a valid interest level in your product or service if the actual/real interest potential is suppressed by a prior negative of some nature (which could be personal experience, negative word of mouth or rumor).
Having cleared the barriers, you may THEN begin to judge interest by determining WHY they might want the product or service AND to what degree. This probing section is where you are interested, not interesting. What is the prospect trying to handle or why do they feel they need your product? And, knowing what your product or service DOES handle, and handles well, search for their needs. How? By KNOWING the “ideal” for their area/industry/product or service within which they deliver. What would it look like if it was operating optimally (see chapter 22 “The Ideal Scene” in my book The Natural Laws of Management: The Admin Scale at www.adminscale.net).
When comparing your concept of the optimal condition for the prospects company or activity, you can then determine the area or areas most likely in need of your product as the comparison will reveal a departure from that optimal condition. You will then be able to more easily perceive a potential need and explore it for prospect reaction. And if it is proving fruitful, pursue it deeper with further questioning in the area. The rule here: Possible area of need? Dig Deeper.
Here’s an example of a huge amateur mistake: Prospect tells you they need the product or service because they are “not very good at explaining the product” and the salesperson then proceeds to explain how their product or service totally handles that and here is why…blah, blah, blah. When, in fact, through digging deeper for exactly WHAT troubles they have in “explaining the product” you may well discover that they have very poor communication skills as the real difficulty. Another possibility is they, in fact, don’t think the product or service is actually that valuable (real event in my sales career more than once). And there can be other possibilities such as they do know how to present but someone in their environment is invalidating their abilities.
So, how do you know if your prospect has interest? By determining, through the 3 steps indicated above, the most important reason for their purchasing your product or service—from their viewpoint—and THEN explaining why and how your product or service handles THAT.
When you provide the solution to a problem that the prospect knows he has but has not been able to handle, you are in positive buying attitude on the part of the prospect. When you discover A NEED THAT THE PROSPECT DID NOT KNOW THAT THEY HAD, WHICH IS CONTRIBUTING TO OR ACTUALLY CAUSING THE UNDERLYING SITUATION WHICH THEY ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT, you are Golden. Done Deal. Wrap it up and take the order.
What about the “Close?” Oh, that? That comes NATURALLY and effortlessly when having done the above. It is simply Natural Law.
Arte Maren has 40 years experience in sales and administration and is the author of The Natural Laws of Management: The Admin Scale. For more information: www.adminscale.net.
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