Sales scripts, processes, and systems can play a large role in the life of a salesperson by helping them increase their chances of success. Each have the potential to help him/her focus, prioritize daily actions, stay organized, as well as test and implement new and effective practices.
Though born out of good intentions, these tools can sometimes hinder the effectiveness of a salesperson. For example, sales scripts are great for a number of reasons; they help you stay efficient, allow you to A/B test messaging, and they open the door for more effective sales training. On the flip side however, sales messaging has the potential to make us sound robotic, less genuine, and can even distract us from being present with prospects if we read scripts like a teleprompter.
The same can be said with other tools as well. They are designed to streamline the sales process and make us better sales people, but they can become a distraction and/or make us seem less genuine if we don’t use them properly. So here are three must haves to make yourself more human throughout your sales process, because after all, people tend to buy from people who they like and trust.
1. Create a Buying Atmosphere
The main idea here is to help your prospect(s) feel comfortable and to remove any potential defensiveness that may slow down the sales process. The keys here are to be both intentional and sincere. Let your prospect know that it is ok for them to say NO, and equally that they can say YES! Let them know that the purpose of your sales meeting isn’t to sell them but rather it’s to decide together if what you have is a good fit for what they want. Some call this, “consultative selling” and there is no one-way to go about it. Here is an example of what a buying atmosphere could look like:
“John before we jump in I wanted to thank you and Mark for meeting with me today. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to sit down with you today as well as the potential opportunity to work with you both.
I’ve put together some great material for us to review today, and at the end you’ll know if moving to the next step makes sense for you and Mark. As we walk through everything please stop me when you have any questions or if you want to dive deeper into something specific. Whether we are a perfect fit or you and Mark would like to take a different direction, I’ll be happy either way. Any questions before we start?”
This is the key that will unlock the door to a genuine sales conversation. Tell people they can do whatever they want! Now it becomes less about “who can sell who” and more about finding a solution that works.
Bonus: Integrate a mutual connection by using their name (if relevant and if you’re allowed to).
2. Ask Insightful Questions
This is a hard one to write about because it’s challenging to teach via a few short sentences. With that said, there is a general “rule of thumb” that may help: Once you’ve done some research on a prospective client you will create a few assumptions in your head. These assumptions can be very valuable to you if put into the correct context – for example:
As opposed to saying…
“John I noticed you make your sales team do both lead-gen and close new business. I think you should consider doing XYZ. What do you think?”
Ask a question…
“After some due diligence on your company I noticed your organization has sales people do both lead gen and closing new business – help me understand the value of consolidating the two for your business?”
This is also where you become more genuine as you are probing to learn more as opposed to telling them you have a better way to do their job.
Lastly, when you ask a question… LISTEN. This may seem rudimentary but it is very important. Too often people ask loaded questions only to hear a specific answer, or they have lots questions and care more about getting them answered than they do the answers themselves. Listening to others will not only let you show you are a “real person,” you will also learn more about how to sell them! The best part is that you will be able to ask NEW questions direct from what they say. This means that new information you didn’t think to ask for will come up and they won’t feel like that are being “forced” through a sales process.
As you begin to ask better questions and improve on listening more, make sure to keep yourself and the room focused. You are there to sell your product and/or service, not just have a great conversation. So as soon as the meeting starts to feel unproductive, introduce a new question to re-focus the conversation back to the task at hand.
Bonus: When you do your follow up, remember: No one likes long, boring emails. Instead, add in some key information that you took away from the meeting from just listening to them talk (i.e. “it was great to learn more about your management style and where you want to take the company.”). Be straightforward, honest, and to the point.