>You have done your research and planning, you stated your purpose and you have asked great questions. Now it’s time to get down to business. Up to this point, you have been learning all about your prospect, gathering information in one form or another. Now it is time to make all that hard work pay off!
The purpose of a sales call is yes to get more business, but it is also an opportunity to really learn about business and the person running this business. This is my favorite part of a sales call. It is so interesting how and why business owners started their businesses, how they run their businesses and how they make their businesses successful. The sheer guts, creativity and innovation it takes to run a business.
It is from this learning process, that we as sales people can identify where, when and how we can help this business owner. This is what call the support statement. The point in the call where we start talking, and we start sharing with the prospect how our service, product, ideas can help them and their business be more successful.
To deliver a good support statement, you need to shift your paradigm. Adapt the mindset that a sales call is an opportunity to discover if this prospect could benefit from your product or service – the call is about them not about you. So many people approach sales calls as a way to get what they want rather than an opportunity to discover how to help others get what they want. You set up a sales call to go out and learn about what particular opportunities and challenges this business is facing, and if your product or service could be of benefit. From this process, you discover (through conversation) opportunity. This opportunity is your support statement, the opportunity is the answer to the question how superficially can I help this prospect? So how do you discover and deliver an effective support statement?
1. Discovery is the key. Support statements are not something that can really or should really be pre-planned. You need to ask great questions and listen to the prospect talk, and through this process discover how and why your product or service could be of benefit. If you have done great research and developed a strong purpose you may have ideas for your support statement, but to deliver a solid support statement it needs to come directly from what you just learned during the sales call from the prospect.
2. Connection is your credibility. By connecting the support statement directly to what the prospect just told you, you raise your credibility with the prospect. They know you were listening, they know you care and they believe you want to help. In others words, by connecting to exactly what they just told you, you made this call about them and not about you.
3. Involvement is your permission. If you involve the prospect in the support statement then they are far more open to your suggestions and ideas. Share with the prospect the problem or challenge you believe you heard and clarify you got it right. Then state what you believe they want the outcome to be and again ask them if they agree. Then offer your solution (product/service) to help your prospect reach their goal.
Let’s look at an example. This was my support statement earlier this year when calling on a Travel Industry Executive in regards to their selling strategy. “Jen, thank you for sharing so much information with me. I just want to make sure I understand you correctly, your biggest challenge right now is how to motivate and support your sales team in their efforts to sell in this competitive environment. Is that correct? Great, and while you feel you have an exceptional team, you do not feel they have been supported with proper training and clear objectives. This is all new to you, as this team just came under your supervision and your main focus is marketing and public relations? Terrific, thank you. I would love to offer a few ideas and suggestions of how to solve this challenge. Great, thank you. I offer a sales strategy and coaching program that I feel would be perfect for you. First, it would efficiently and effectively establish a sales strategy so you and your team could establish clarity on what specifically needs to be accomplished and how it should be accomplished. Second, my coaching program would provide the structure to help your team develop the confidence, skill development, and accountability they need to put the strategy easily into action. The entire program engages the team so they feel involved and in control, and it provides you with the information you need so you can easily manage them while still remaining focused on your main objectives Marketing and Public Relations.
Now, I won’t share with you how I closed that call as that is our next rule! However, you get the point. If you want to turn your prospects into customers, then you need to transition to the sale with a meaningful support statement.