When used at the wrong time, your product knowledge and expertise can be intimidating to your prospects. If you use buzzwords, technical terms, or industry jargon early in the selling process, before determining if your prospects are familiar with those terms, you run the risk of making your prospects uncomfortable.
At that point, they have two choices: They can be up front and tell you that they don't understand some of what you said and ask you to explain (which might make them more uncomfortable). Or, they can remove the source of their discomfort…YOU! What would that sound like? "Well, Tom, I didn't realize that we would get into such detail today. I'm running a bit short of time. Why don't you leave the information and give me some time to review it and then I'll get back to you."
Your product knowledge and expertise enhances your confidence. Having a vast amount of information about your product or service may increase your comfort level with and control of your sales meetings. But, that doesn't mean that you have to flex your intellectual muscle in front of your prospect. Product knowledge should not be used to overwhelm or wow your prospect.
During sales meetings, be sensitive to your prospect's facial expressions and body language. If you suspect that you've made your prospect uncomfortable, back up. Here is what that might sound like: "Bill, I just ran through that information much too quickly. Let me back up." Then, review what you've just said using more appropriate language.
Stop “Selling” and Close More Sales
When you really want (or possibly need) to close a sale, it’s easy to drop into “convincing” mode. You begin to sound like the stereotypical “high-pressure” salesperson explaining the benefits of the various features of your product or service and “justifying” the costs. These are precisely the things you shouldn’t be doing. Why? Because, when you drop into “convincing” mode, you talk too much—which will decrease your chance of closing the sale quickly, or perhaps closing it at all.
Less is more…relevant. Prospects don’t need to know everything about your product or service…only those aspects that directly address their concerns, problems, issues, goals, and objectives. Overloading them with additional information may raise doubts or bring to the surface additional elements they need to “think about.”
During a sales call, the objective is to help prospects discover how you can help them solve their problems, meet their challenges and reach their goals…not tell them. Learn to educate with questions and third-party stories.
Also, recognize when the sale is made…and then stop “selling.” Salespeople who talk too much soon become victims of the 5/55 rule—they make the sale in the first 5 minutes of the meeting, and then spend the next 55 minutes “buying” it back. Once the prospect has made a buying decision, trying to reinforce the decision by adding additional information will most often do more harm than good.
Learn to Identify the Prospect’s Point of View
As the saying suggests, “walk a mile in their shoes” before making judgments and recommendations. Before you can really understand what your prospects want or need, you must understand what they feel.
Respect their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it. Learn to empathize with them. This doesn’t mean that you give up your own point of view; it only means that you can understand theirs.
Caution! Don’t confuse empathy with sympathy. Understanding someone’s point of view and thinking process allows you to more fully grasp their situation or problem. You are then in a better position to determine if you can help and exactly what type of help is most appropriate. However, when you allow your understanding of the prospect’s situation to affect your own position, you move into the realm of sympathy. When that occurs, you are likely to lose your objectivity, your focus, and quite possibly, the sale.
Sending Literature Closes More Doors Than It Opens
When you contact prospects and request an appointment, it’s easy for them to ask for literature first, before committing to the appointment. Many salespeople believe that sending literature will pave the way to the appointment and eventually a sale. However, the practice may actually create roadblocks rather than eliminate them.
Why? If you send the literature, when you call back to schedule the appointment, it’s now even easier for prospects to put you off. They tell you that they didn’t have a chance to look at the literature yet, but they’ll call you just as soon as they do…if your product or service is something in which they are interested.
If a prospect requests literature, you can suggest that it might make sense to first meet and discuss relevant issues and concerns, after which you will supply whatever literature is appropriate. While literature does have a place in the selling process, creating roadblocks is not one of them.