Last week I met a manager who complained that he had to keep telling his salespeople the same thing over and over, and yet they still couldn’t do it right. “They don’t listen!” he grumbled.
What the manager didn’t understand is that most people don’t learn by listening. They learn by seeing and doing; salespeople particularly tend to be more visual and kinesthetic learners.
The best way to internalize an idea or a technique is by rolling up our sleeves and practicing, practicing, practicing. As adults this is the way we learn.
The same is true in the sales process. Our customers learn about our program and become comfortable with it by seeing and doing. Too many salespeople rattle off facts and attempt to educate their customers without visually and actively involving them. Rather than telling your customer a piece of information, encourage them to participate more. Have them flip through the exchange directory to find their next vacation destination. If you have touch-screen technology, encourage them to do the touching!
Here’s something else you may want to remember: Anything that can be told, can be asked. I’ve always felt that people believe it better when they say it, rather than when we say it. For example, by telling your couple that vacationing helps keep romance in the relationship, you may get them to agree. But if you ask them about the benefits of a vacation, just the two of them in a beautiful tropical location, you will probably see them get emotionally involved and give you the answer you were looking for.
And for the sales manager above: Ask, don’t tell! Instead of lecturing on the proper steps of the sale or the best way to turn the table, ask your team what they think. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the answers.
So rather than having me share more about this with you, what do you think? What else can be asked rather than told? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.