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Listen for the "Problem-Trigger" Words

JAN 21, 2011 11:54am ET
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Quiz time. Here's a situation. Think of the very next thing to leave your mouth in response:

On a call with a prospect, someone who has contacted you after visiting your website says, "Our issue is that we need to_____."

And then let's assume she mentions a problem that your product or service helps solve.

Ok. Did you respond with something like, "Oh, well let me tell you how we can fix that?"

If you did, BZZZZZ, wrong!

That would be pitching, in a non-sports sense, as opposed to finding out exactly why she said what she did. And that will give you the reasons why they will buy from you. Plus, then they are selling themselves, which is much better than you trying to sell them.

Too often sales reps hear what I call "problem-trigger words" and then begin puking out a presentation.

These words are signs that your prospect/customer has, or perceives, a problem.

They might not explain it fully without your prompting.

Listen for:

"We need to..."

"We're thinking about..."

"We're considering..."

"We're noticing..."

"The challenge is..."

"We're planning on..."

"The problem is..."

These are all invitations for you to zero in on these areas to root out the specific reasons they will buy from you.

For example:

"Tell me more about that..."

"Let's discuss that a little more..."

"What do you think is causing that?"

"What other effects is that having?"

And of course you want to quantify their pain or problem whenever you can:

"How long has that been going on?"

"How often does that happen?"

"What is that costing you?"

The keys to success here?

1. Listen as if your livelihood depended on grasping every word that comes from your prospect/customer.

2. Take notes and write down the specific terminology they use, so you can repeat it back to them in your questioning, and eventual recommendation.

3. Do not jump in with your recommendation until you have fully developed an understanding of their issue. Which also carries the benefit of them thinking more about the problem, therefore making them more receptive to your suggestion.

Art Sobczak is president of Business By Phone Inc., Omaha, Neb. More information is available at http://www.BusinessByPhone.com. His blog is located at http://www.TeleSalesBlog.com and he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ArtSobczak.

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