It doesn’t matter whether we’re meeting with a prospect or talking to an existing client. When we meet with someone, we need to get enough information from them to know whether we can help them or not. It should be all about asking them questions.
If we don’t ask them questions, we’re doing them a disservice. Because when we don’t, we’re not uncovering their reasons, but focusing on our reasons instead.
So how do we make sure we get answers to our questions? There are two key elements to making sure that happens.
Bonding and Rapport
First, we’ve got to start with good bonding and rapport.
If we do a good job of making them feel comfortable, they’re going to want to share information with us. If we don’t do a good job of bonding and rapport, it’s really difficult to do well at the rest of the sales meeting.
Of course, bonding and rapport is not about finding things in their office to comment on. That can be dangerous! It’s about connecting with them subconsciously through great communication. Because if we make them feel comfortable, they share.
Up Front Contract
Once we’ve established bonding and rapport with someone, we need to have a clear agreement regarding the rest of meeting. At Sandler, we call that an Up Front Contract.
One of the big elements of an Up Front Contract is to let them know in advance that we will be asking them some questions. If they might be difficult questions, we need to warn them rather than surprise them!
In practice, that may sound something like, “I’m going to ask you some questions that might be difficult. Is that going to be okay?”
Of course, the right tone and body language really play into that. Remember that only 7% of communication is the actual words you say. The rest is the tone and body language.
Here’s a great example of how this plays out. I was at a meeting the other day with a prospect. It was our first meeting, and I had worked hard to establish bonding and rapport, and we had a very clear Up Front Contract. As the meeting progressed and I was asking some difficult questions, he pulled up their financials on his computer.
Suddenly he realized (and shared with me) that nobody else but his CPA had seen those financials. Not even his spouse had seen those numbers, as there was too much pain involved. And it was our first meeting!
Sales is not about you! One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is when they make a sales call about themselves. A sales call should be all about the other person or other parties. And by making it all about them, by making them comfortable, you’re more likely to get true answers to know whether you can help them or not.