Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Listening, Are You Listening to Your Prospect?

How well do you listen to your customer?

Really, are you listening and have an understanding of what they want and how they want you to get them there?  Over the years of selling "down the street", I've learned to let the client do most of the talking and I'll do most of the listening.

Of course I'll ask a few key questions like "why are you considering a new solution", or "how much is that costing you", and even "do you have any pains in your day to day business that involve your printing or copying hardware". It took many years to understanding that listening is the key to consultative selling and the key to success in being a top producer.

Most customers have a round about way of telling you what they want from you and your company. Like telling a story about a previous experience and or a bad rep that they had to deal with (listen to this carefully, they are telling you what they want from you when they tell you about their past experiences). I hear many complaints from clients about the pushy reps, the ones who only want to sell what they thing they should have and not what the customer really needs. Heck, we had one guy at the office and 90% of his sales has been a 35ppm box, how is that? Customers will appreciate that you listened and comprehended their needs, in return they will shower you with references down the road.

Today, I was at a clients account and would have liked to pitched a 25ppm color system to them, this customer has an 18ppm digital system that scans, prints, copies and faxes, plus they also a have a color laser printer that prints up to 11x17. They printed more than 100,000 pages on the printer and only copied, faxed or printed 36,000 pages on their 18ppm digital system, plus they get service as they need it (break & fix) for both units.

I would have loved to sell them a 25 page per minute color device to replace both of the units, however the customer stated that business was slow and that they may look to buy the 18ppm from the leasing company. I listened..... and then asked to schedule another appointment to discuss their needs for the next three years.

What to Do?

From listening to the customer and finding out that they were at least in favor of getting a price from the leasing company for the 18ppm system, I knew that in order for them to lease or buy that I would need to present and cost analysis for them.  That's right put the time and effort into figuring out their existing costs for both devices.  Then cross your fingers and hope that you'll be able to save them "x" amount of dollars per year with a new system. If the cost analysis was not presented, then the customer would have bought the 18ppm from the leasing company and continued to do business the same way.

The key to listening in this case was that their current business is slow (lower revenues, profit, etc).  Most companies when presented with a cost analysis that presents the existing costs and proposed cost will move forward with the new proposal as long as they have a savings!  Another tip to keep in mind is that is the monthly savings is low 20-30 per month, then show the yearly and term of lease savings.  When the monthly savings is high per month, show the month and not the yearly or term of lease savings.

Listening is some you develop over time, and in some cases prospects will close themselves and hand you the order if you let them talk enough.

-= Good Selling=-

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