You’ve finally gotten a prospect in front of you who wants what you’re selling. Eureka!
You proceed to qualify them by asking questions about what they need and how they'd use what you are selling. You think it goes well. Then you go to present your solution. You think it has everything they want. Only … it turns out you missed quite a bit and your "solution" won’t solve their problem after all.
Most sellers, in their quest to start pitching, have a habit of whizzing through the most important part of a sale: Discovering exactly what the client wants. They hear a statement, it goes through their own internal filters, and they race to the finish line like a cat presenting a prize mouse. Here it is! Look what I did! Aren't you proud?
But there’s a link missing here. The most important step the majority of sellers bypass is confirming what they think they heard with a client. In other words, that critical process of repeating the prospect’s statements and answers back to them to ensure you got it right.
What does this do? Tons!
It shows the client that you were really listening. Unfortunately, a high number of salespeople do not possess this skill, and clients appreciate it in such a way that they feel more connected to you.
It shows a high level of respect.
Using your buyer's own words in their order and sequence is subconsciously an immensely pleasurable experience for them.
It keeps them engaged, because they will "approve" what you said to them, giving them the "job" of listening to what you're saying.
On the off chance that you got something wrong, they can correct it for you before you go and search the country for a powder blue car instead of a midnight blue car. This gives them the opportunity to "help" in the process. And everybody likes to help.
More often than not, they will add information to what you repeat back to them. "Now, you wanted a pool in the backyard, is that correct?" "Yes, AND we would like a jacuzzi, too!" Not only did they add an element (that hearing you say their words back to them triggered), they added dollars (hello, volume) to the sale amount. Brilliant!
Sadly, most sellers would rather be covered with honey and hung beneath a beehive than take that most important step in the sales process and confirm what they think they heard.
Take it from me: The subconscious (as well as the conscious) bonding and respect, and the amazing savings of time (and pride) associated with focusing on who's in front of you instead of that voice inside of you (the one insisting "It's okay -- I got it, I got it") can turn a flailing salesperson into a top producer.
Originally published Sep 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017