Have you ever sat in on a sales presentation only to ask tough questions. You may do it sometimes to test salespeople, determine if they are genuine and see how they respond to customers’ questions. When customers ask questions, they are looking for much more than an answer. They are looking for the way in which the salesperson answers the question. Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared three tips for handling tough customer questions. Today, we pass along four more tips.
1. Provide an expert point of view. Never forget, your customer would rather do business with a trusted consultant who has intimate knowledge of the industry than an ordinary salesperson who simply understands how the product works. In fact, you are not actually there to sell anything. Your goal is to become a trusted advisor by intently listening to the questions the customer asks so that you can apply your expertise to solve the customer’s business problems or complete his initiatives. Ideally, once you have established yourself as an expert the conversation will flow into an off-the-record talk about the politics of his organization and his ulterior motives.
2. Redirect inane and unfair questions. Don’t get flustered when you are asked an inappropriate question. Simply redirect the question by saying something like, “The question you really should be asking is … ”
3. Respond with Metaphors. Metaphors are stories, parables and analogies that communicate ideas by using examples that people can relate to and identify with. Metaphors enable complex concepts and theories to be explained in an understandable, interesting and persuasive manner. The most important metaphors are examples about customers who are successfully using your products and services.
Instead of barraging the customer with point-by-point facts and figures, structure your answer in a logical way using an existing customer’s impactful storyline.
4. Demeanor speaks volumes. The most powerful response to the most difficult question isn’t solely the answer you give; it’s also how you say it. Regardless of the question, keep a calm and confident demeanor. Most of all do not get defensive. Stay positive. This is a critical lesson. When confronted by someone who disagrees with your opinion, it’s okay to disagree without being disagreeable.
The demeanor and communication style used to deliver your answer should be collected and matter-of-fact. However, you want to build momentum as you make your response and finish on a high note. This is called a “build up.” Whenever you speak to a customer, you want to confidently peak during the final sentence of your paragraph. You don’t want your voice to trail off, signaling uncertainty or lack of conviction. Practice these tips when answering your customers’ questions and you’ll be seen as an expert.
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Source: Steve W. Martin is the author of critically acclaimed Heavy Hitter series of books about enterprise sales strategies for senior salespeople. Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics: 101 Advanced Sales Call Strategies for Senior Salespeople (2011) is the most comprehensive book about sales linguistics, the revolutionary new field of study about how customers and salespeople use and interpret language during the decision-making process. A highly sought-after sales trainer and keynote speaker, Martin is both entertaining and enlightening. He has helped more than 100,000 salespeople become top revenue producers at companies including IBM, AT&T, EMC, Oracle, NEC, McAfee, Cadence and hundreds of companies.