Buyers invest in possibilities and outcomes, not specifications, features and benefits. Yet at some point in every one of our selling conversations, we find ourselves lapsing into talking-head mode. Even the best of us fall prey to this habit. We start blah-blah-blahing the stuff that’s written on our websites, marketing communications collateral, and CAD drawings. Do you find yourself regurgitating, instead of conducting valuable and relevant selling conversations?
Regardless of whether you are an established business or a startup, if your selling conversations, and your outcomes, are not quite what you anticipated, start listening to yourself when you communicate with colleagues and customers. Give those emails another read. It could be that you are at a loss for words. That’s when you start regurgitating, and you stop those selling conversations. Your facts and spiel end up being conversation filler, instead of being a conversation enabler.
It’s hard to break those habits, especially if we come from professional disciplines which are steeped in facts, figures, and details. If you are a sales engineer or an engineer, you are trained to always have the right answer. You are in command of your professional expertise. If you are in a sales role, you’ve done your homework; you have statistics and info graphicsgalore. You are looking for a trigger in your conversation to open the floodgates and spew forth all of your fabulous information. That’s not a selling conversation.
Stop yourself. When you are regurgitating, you are showcasing your salesmanship or your company’s expertise. You are talking about yourself and your own knowledge about your company. You exclude your customer.
Stop yourself. When you are regurgitating, you are filling the gaps in the selling conversation. Nature abhors vacuums. So do sales and engineering folks. Dead air time is filled with chatter – usually yours – much to the chagrin of your customer.
Stop yourself. Give your colleagues and customers time to collect their thoughts. What you bring to their business development table may cause them to think of the same-old, only differently. Allow them to articulate this insight to you. Did you ever think about your selling conversations in this manner?
This week, work to eliminate filler from your selling conversations. If your customers take a while to answer your emails or respond to your conversation, get the dialogue re-started with a question like: “I can see you are pondering what we we’ve been discussing. What are you thinking about regarding possibilities and outcomes?”
That approach may shift you out of being perceived as a walking brochure on legs and into the category of thought leader, valued resource and collaborative partner. Congratulations! You’ve stopped regurgitating. You’ve started relevant selling conversations.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups.