Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Conversation Helpers: Segues And Bridges

Segues (pronounced SEG-ways) and bridges are important to executing your line of questions (LOQ) effectively. Segeues are logical, smooth transitions into another line of questions. Segues usually feel very conversational. The customer may not even realize you have shifted to another LOQ. Bridges are more abrupt changes in your questions. It will feel to the customer like a change in the direction of the conversation.

Sometimes you can make the bridge feel like a segue by using what the customer has previously said to make the transition into anther LOQ topic. Example: "... so to tie that back to what you said a few minutes ago about meeting with Jason Smith next week, how is he involved in the decision making process?" This provides two benefits -- it shifts the conversation where you want it to go and it shows you are actively listening to what they're saying.

Usually it's required and appropriate to segue from one of your LOQs to another to fully understand one Value Opportunity. This means that you will often segue to another LOQ topic before fully exhausting the current LOQ topic. If this occurs, you must segue back to the original LOQ topic later in the conversation to ensure you gather all of the necessary information in that LOQ. That could be kind of hard to follow, huh? This is why we encourage you to take good notes during your sales conversations.

Some LOQs will warrant deeper probing and more questions than others. Ask yourself, "What do I need to know to about this subject to sell this account?" Once you have gained that information, move to the next appropriate LOQ topic. You should go to a depth necessary to close them before moving to another LOQ without overselling.

Reading The Prospect
Prospects may provide a cue to prompt you to segue. Examples include:
* Tone of voice: The customer may be excited or particularly animated with their response to your questions about a specific subject.
* Repetition: The customer may mention another LOQ topic several times.
* Their Answers: Trial close them and ask for feedback.

When a prospect throws out a cue to segue to another LOQ topic, you should:
* Recognize the cue and if it will move you off the current Value Opportunity you are discussing
* Decide if you should segue right then or not. If you are going down a path that is important to them, stay with it. It is preferred to fully understand the Value Opportunity, give value, and get acceptance before covering the next VO.

If no cues are presented, move to the next LOQ topic once you have a good understanding of the current topic. When moving to the next LOQ topic, refer to the customer's responses to the previous questions that you noted to keep the discussion conversational.

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

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