Sales professionals spend countless hours cold calling, prospecting, attending meetings and making pitches. They invest countless hours working leads and relationships in hopes of getting their foot in the door. These professionals dedicate time to fine tune their pitch. They know their products and services more than anyone else in their company and don’t hesitate to share what they know with prospects who can benefit from buying. The problem is they don’t just share, they overshare. They don't stop talking long enough to learn what is of value to the prospect. Instead, they spend too much time dictating what is.
Consider the last time you sat with a sales professional. It’s likely they spent most of your time together trying to convince you to buy. They talked, and likely a lot. For those in sales, sharing is what excites them. They are eager to educate others in ways they can help. Unfortunately, they rarely take the time to understand the prospect's problem to the same degree they know their own solution.
I once worked with a successful sales professional in the pharmaceutical industry named Krystal. She had recently started with a new company and was eager to grow her neglected territory. She became quickly frustrated when doctors wouldn’t buy, despite her best efforts. Krystal would go from office to office attempting to capture just a few moments the doctor's time. When she was successful getting in the door, the doctors were often dismissive and distracted. Trying to educate them of her company's product offerings in what little time was available, she would overshare to the point that doctors tuned her out altogether. Never once did Krystal ask the doctor what was important to their patients and their practice. Instead, she shared what she considered to be important – her products. Krystal figured since she knew her products better than anyone else, she should do most of the talking. She was mistaken.
The key to more sales is to talk less and listen more. It means understanding their needs well enough that you can propose the right solution, not all the solutions. When you attempt to show how knowledgeable you are, without knowing what’s important to them, you become distracting. This creates doubt and hesitation for the customer. They become reluctant to act on what you say because you’ve said everything. They’re confused and overwhelmed.
To change momentum and close more deals, shift your conversations and get to K.N.O.W. your clients’ specific needs. This helps you quickly adapt the message and customize it to suit your audience.
K – Knowledge:
Ask Yourself: What does my prospect already know about my products and services?
Most prospects today are 70% of the way through their buying process before they ever engage a sales rep. They know more than you might imagine. While you may fully understand everything about what you can offer, but your audience doesn’t need to hear it. Don’t spend time communicating details that aren’t relevant to the conversation, especially if your client is already familiar with them. Refrain from using industry jargon instead, language they clearly understand.
N – Need:
Ask Yourself: What does my prospect need to know that will cause them to act on what I say in the shortest time possible?
This question helps you quickly scale down your message to just the essential information. It frees up time that allows your prospect to talk more. The more they talk about their problems, the more you can fine-tune your solution to fit their exact needs.
O – Opinion:
Ask Yourself: What is my audience’s opinion about my topic and how will that make them respond to what I say?
Many buyers make decisions based on their opinion regarding an organization, so understanding any preconceived notions will help you pinpoint and practice an ideal response. If they’ve had a less than stellar experience in the past, you can better prepare for objections, concerns and questions by knowing the details. When you can address these early in the conversation, you communicate how much you care about their priorities.
W – Who:
Ask Yourself: Who is my specific audience? Who will be attending the meeting?
Recent research indicates an average company will have up to six people involved in the purchasing decisions. Knowing your prospect well helps you identify key players and understand whether the person you're speaking with is the right person to make the decisions. Save your time and the time of the client by ensuring all persons of influence and decision makers are present.
And, as for Krystal? She implemented the K.N.O.W. strategy and as a result, sales soared. More doctors were willing to try her offerings because she customized her message to suit the needs they had, instead of centered around what she was trying to sell them. She spoke less and listened more. She evaluated their responses and more clearly heard their needs. Krystal moved doctors to action by tuning into their specific needs and focusing exclusively on them.
To win more sales, listen more, speak less, evaluate often and customize your conversation. When you put your prospects needs above your own, they’ll act and you both win.