Susan has been doing well in her sales career for many years. She knows how to make cold calls,
follow up on leads and referrals, and provide excellent customer service. Yet she’s amazed at how much more successful her colleague Michael is. She puts much more time and effort into her work than it appears Michael does. So she wonders what is missing in her approach.
The key difference between Michael’s and Susan’s approach is the fact that Michael has trained himself to be an “active listener.” He uses the sales TRIUMPHS model to help him maximize his sales deals. The model works for virtually any product or service. And even when Michael’s not selling, it’s a powerful technique that helps him communicate effectively with his wife and teenage children.
The components of your sales T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S.
Treat your client/customer with respect and value.
Developing a rapport with the prospective client or customer is a crucial first step. Smile, position yourself at the same level (sitting or standing, depending on what the client/customer is doing) and slightly lean toward him or her, maintaining eye contact. Make sure your cellphone is on silent, and you give undivided attention to the customer.
Listen to what the prospective customer is saying and don’t shuffle papers or start thinking about your response. Just listen. Regardless of what the person asks, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to answer immediately. It’s OK to say, “That’s a great question. Give me a day or so to research our products to find the one that precisely addresses what you asked.” Some prospective customers can be long-winded, nervously asking a lot of questions, especially with expensive products.
Cutting off a speaker may prevent you from developing the rapport you need to cultivate with the client. Always give the speaker the courtesy of finishing a point before you interject yours. Again, take notes so you won’t forget what you wanted to say.
Reflect the meaning of what your client is telling you before you actually respond.
The best way to understand your prospective customer is to make sure you are listening carefully. The optimal way to do that is to reflect or paraphrase what you heard him or her say before you comment on it. For example, “What I’m hearing is you are not certain our product will serve your needs.”
“I statements” are powerful.
As you paraphrase and reflect back what the buyer is saying, you can use “I statements,” which are powerful. For example, “I am getting the feeling that you are uncomfortable with this product and would like some other options.” Starting with “you” would be much more threatening for the buyer: “You don’t like this product?”