“I’m trying to be consultative, asking all the right questions, but my prospects don’t seem interested.”
“I thought we had a great conversation, then he blew off our follow up call.”
“Sometimes, I feel like I’m leading an interrogation instead of being a good salesperson.”
At some point in your sales career, you have probably said or felt one of the above soon after a business development or prospecting call. It’s a sinking feeling and it sucks. It steals your optimism. It can make you question your self worth and wonder why you ever thought you should wear a sales hat. It has happened to everyone.
But, don’t despair. This is fixable. What likely happened is a connection failure: You failed to bond emotionally, and the prospect doesn’t feel any reason to get invested with you or your company. All you need is some T & A. Trust and Alignment, that is. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Above all other things, people buy from people they trust. So, it only follows that from the start of your initial sales interactions, you need to build a foundation of trust with your prospect.
So, what does this definition mean for sellers?
1) Assured Reliance – By your words and actions the prospect feels a guarantee on the rest of the definition’s elements
2) Character – You are someone of good timber. The words out of your mouth are direct, sincere, unambiguous and confident. They are not filled with vague promises or inscrutable industry-speak. You are professional, prompt and concise. Since the stereotypical sales interaction is usually negative, the prospect is beginning to believe that you are different, better.
3) Ability – You can describe how your company has helped solve problems and achieve goals for people in similar positions as the prospect.
4) Strength – and you do it well.
5) Truth – your stories and claims are both believable and verifiable.
To sum it up, you can begin to gain trust from a prospect by being sincere and describing your successes in a way that prospects can relate. Gain trust and buyers will want to continue to interact with you.
Along with trusting the seller, buyers or prospects want to work with sellers who understand them, who “get” it. Think about that for a moment. When you tell a loved one or a friend that you “get” it, isn’t that an emotional response? It’s like you are saying, “I understand you viscerally, deep down. I can now take action or respond in a meaningful way.”
Alignment: the proper positioning of two things in relation to each other (slight paraphrase).
In sales, alignment shows you “get” it. In the prospect’s mind – consciously or unconsciously – a seller only deserves to take up the buyer’s time if she “gets” it, if she and the buyer are in alignment. Sellers will be more likely to “get” it, and enter into and maintain alignment if they do four things:
1) Listen – patiently and quietly. Don’t interrupt, you will get your turn. And give your prospect a long runway to get it all out.
2) Recap – takes notes and then show that you heard and understand. Use the prospects own idioms to indicate that you were actively listening. If they gave you metrics, give them back. Your attention to detail will prove that you care.
3) Relate – Once you have recapped, you can now describe what your company offers and how it works. Optimally, you will describe a success story or a course of action that is analogous to what you have learned from the buyer.
4) Confirm – Ask if what you’ve described makes sense, could help the buyer, and is a reason to talk further.
So, if you get that sinking feeling that your prospect is blowing you off or doesn’t care, ask yourself two questions: Have I established trust? Am I in alignment?
You see, it’s all about T & A. Trust and Alignment.