Reader Bernd Nurnberger posted a great comment the other day in response to this blog post. His comment was:
Yes, well put. “But can it do X?” is another question that signals readiness to buy, yet destabilizes some salespeople. When selling electronic measurement devices, I made it a point not to say anything like yes of course, but to offer proof, look it up in the catalog for the customer or if I could not find it, admit I did not know and get (at least promise) a quick answer from the technical specialist.
Which brings up the question of what do you do now that the buyer is asking questions that indicate their interest in purchasing whatever it is you’re selling? In the example of Bernd’s questions, too often technical sales people are so excited about what X can do that they not only answer that question but they vomit all over themselves telling the buyer all the wonderful things their product will do. That might sound like a good thing to do but it’s the worst thing to do if the buyer has not indicated that they have an interest in any of the wonderful things you’re telling them about.
You’ll actually turn them over and put them into snooze mode. Some of them may be offended either because they perceive you’re talking down to them (they already know all the stuff you’re spouting off) or they are offended because they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and they don’t want to seem like an idiot.
Either way you lose.
Never begin telling your buyer anything about what it is you’re selling until you have established that what you’re selling is going to address their needs, solve their problems, or answer whatever it is they are looking for. And, the only way to do that is for you to ask your questions first.
“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” ~Yogi Berra