Investigative Selling™ in Practice
In the conventional sales approach, while attempting to win over a new customer, you might find yourself trying to impress them with all the product features, while you preach about why this particular product is the perfect panacea for all their problems. Everything seems to be perfectly aligned as you begin to feel quite proud of your salesmanship and performance.
However, that euphoric feeling is abruptly shattered when the prospective customer unexpectedly asks: " So tell me why I should consider you over the other hundred salespeople who approached me over the last couple of weeks with what appears to be equally good products with very competitive prices?"
You suddenly feel as though you have been punched in the stomach and all the wind taken from you. You waver on the precipice of another failed sales attempt as you try to regain your balance. You feel quite nauseous as you try to stammer and splutter yourself back to equilibrium.
In a conventional sales approach you might persist in holding forth about the success of this product and the satisfaction experienced by other customers. But besides boring the prospective customer with mindless monologues, this seldom works because you are not engaging the them.
In an Investigative Sales™ approach rather than preaching and pitching, you will unleash and exploit the power of effective questioning. You might respond to the customers resistance with: "That is a very fair question. Tell me, what standards, measures or criteria would be important to you in choosing one particular product over another?"
With this approach you have put the ball back in their court, so to speak, and regained control of the conversation. Additionally, you have engaged them in a discussion that will provide you with important and useful information. Furthermore, by engaging them in this way you are building trust and rapport.
They may respond for example, that what is really important to them, is a strong support service and a highly effective training program in the use of the new product.
You will then apply your negotiation skills further as you pursue the line of questioning by perhaps asking: " What would the components of 'a strong support service' be, and what might be the benchmarks of 'a highly effective training program' that you would like to see?"
With this Investigative Selling™ approach, you are now better equipped to propose and negotiate solutions that address the customers true need in a very effective and authentic way.
To manage this process fluently and seamlessly requires awareness, discipline and practice. As in any skill. the more you practice, the better you will become, and in time you will notice that you are able to respond to all challenging situations effectively, with composure and grace.