Sunday, March 20, 2011

Playing Back Their Words

An effective (yet often overlooked) sales communication technique is Playing Back Their Words. This occurs when you repeat the words the prospect said so both of you clearly understand what was said. This technique allows you to get to the truth, especially if the prospect is being evasive with you. It also shows that you're actively listening to the prospect; you can't Play Back Their Words if you don't know what they're saying. This technique also can buy you time while you determine what to say, do, or ask next.

How To Play Back Their Words
1. If the prospect isn't being straight with you, you can use their words to expose them to their faulty thinking. This put the onus back on them. Example: "So if I have this right, your current vendor isn't meeting your deadlines, it's causing extra work for your team, but you won't consider changing vendors?"

2. There is often value in being redundant -- having the prospect repeat their words more than once to reinforce their importance. "So say that again for me, please. Your current plan covers only what?"

3. Play Back Their Words if they're talking long and you feel they need to know you're listening. "So, in general, your connection to the Internet is slow. Got it. OK."

4. Recap the conversation. This can help you clarify the situation ("Let me make sure I understand what you're saying. You've been doing this in house for 10 years but it's become too time-consuming for your staff ...) or clarify the takeaways from the meeting ("Let me make sure I'm on the same page with you. By next Wednesday you'd like a proposal that includes three different levels of service ...)

This communication technique must be executed sincerely. If you overuse it, it can be incredibly annoying. And the prospect can feel as though you're challenging them or mocking them.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of three leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, and VertMarkets.

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