Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ask, Listen, Repeat (If Necessary)

Repeating the Question is a communication tool used to ensure you receive an answer to the question you asked. If you don't use this technique, you let people off the hook from answering your questions.

Instead of asking the question again, the sales rep will move on to the next question, allowing the original question to be avoided. In many cases when this occurs, the rep isn't actively listening to the customer. If you allow decision makers (DMs) to evade answering difficult questions and you're not able to get a full understanding of a situation, you have little hope of resolving the situation -- and making the sale.

If you are seeking to understand and you believe the DM did not understand your question, ask the question again. In this circumstance it may be appropriate to rephrase the question.

If you believe the DM is trying to avoid answering the question because they don't want the truth to be known, ask the question exactly the way you asked the question the first time. This allows you to get a real answer. Also, it exposes the DM to the fact that you know what they're doing and you won't let them off the hook. In this case, you will be getting more aggressive. This means you also need to be more empathetic.

Here's an example of Repeating The Question from the Jameson Publishing archives (names changed to protect the innocent, of course): Mark worked the ABC account for about a year. While at a trade show, Mark was able to meet with the VP of Marketing. Mark asked the VP if they would advertise with Jameson during the upcoming year. The VP responded to Mark with a lot of words, none which answered the question. After the VP finished talking, Mark asked the question again. ABC's VP of Sales (who watched the exchange) laughed and patted the VP of Marketing on the shoulder and said, "Yeah, are you going to answer his question?" The final result was ABC advertising with Jameson the following year.

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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Please take note of the Swing for Habitat Bob Baran Tournament, scheduled for June 4 at Lakeview Country Club. Named in honor of Erie mortgage consultant and Erie Sales Club member Bob Baran who passed away March 22, the event benefits Greater Erie Area Habitat for Humanity. If you'd like to participate, please contact Nancy Milkowski at (814) 454-7025 or by May 30.