Honesty Sells

Yesterday we commented that a funny thing happens as sales people become more and more experienced with their company or product. They also become less and less effective. We took a look at Engage customer Lisa and her success relative to the time she sent talking vs listening on a sales call and determined that the more we listen, the more we learn. The end of Lisa’s story is this:

“For the first time, this month I’m 20% over quota, and I’m positive it’s because I’m making sales that I wouldn’t even have thought of before.”

Now let’s examine why this happened to Lisa and how you can use her experience to better your sales (without having to have a bad cold to make it work for you!)

Try on someone else’s shoes. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. Would you want to deal with a sales person who thought they knew what was best for you?

Although in the past Lisa had been right about 25% of the time in identifying how her customers could use her products, she was also wrong 75% of the time. This was clearly affecting her ability to close sales. So as soon as she was well again, Lisa agreed that she needed to continue asking questions and actually listening to the customer’s reasons for buying, instead of telling them her own.

Using the tools she had learned at our seminar, Lisa continued to initiate conversations with prospects who seemed to be heading to the competition. She actively sought out their advice, and asked questions about how they could make the product work for them. Voila! By understanding the source of her ineffectiveness, she was able to change her attitude, and eventually achieve her goal of 120% over quota.

Consider this: who would you rather work with? Someone who thinks they’re always right? Or someone who is sincerely open to the possibility that he or she just might be wrong?

The better we understand that we’re often mistaken, the more open-minded we will be in our sales interactions, and the better we will be able to communicate our point of view.

Here’s an example of how this might sound:

“I noticed that I haven’t received a response to our e-mail asking for feedback on the proposal. I’m imagining that perhaps you didn’t like the price, or that the information wasn’t comprehensive enough. But maybe I’m also off-base, so let me just ask you: What are your thoughts about the proposal?”

If you prefer, you can make it even simpler, and just say something like: “I noticed I haven’t heard back from you. I suspect you may have some questions about the proposal I sent. Will you please give me some feedback?”

The key to resolving difficult issues effectively is to approach them with the true belief that we may be wrong. This week, adopt this sincere mindset in at least 3 sales situations. Once you have just watch the positive effect it can have on your communication with others.

This and yesterday’s lessons have been adapted from a chapter in my special report Honesty Sells, my collaboration with honesty expert Steven Gaffney.