Monday, July 23, 2012

Want The Truth? Be Skeptical.

Skepticism is important because it ensures that a sales rep operates on facts and truths, allowing them (and their company) to make the right choices. Conversely, a rep won't achieve desired outcomes if he or she doesn't operate on facts, and they'll waste time and money.

As answers or information surrounding a topic or situation are presented, continually ask yourself:
1. Do I have the full story?
2. Do I need to know more?
3. Do I believe the information being presented?
4. What holes can I poke in this?

Avoid saying the words, "I don't believe you." Find a more palatable way to question the contact, such as, "That's great if that's the case ..."

Validating your skepticism is important because it ensures that you gain enough facts to ensure an answer is clear and accurate. There are three steps to validating your skepticism:
1. Ask questions to gain a full understanding of the situation until you are satisfied that you know the truth.
2. Hold our for specific facts as opposed to words conveying feelings or vague explanations.
3. If needed, look for other sources or data to compare with what you know so far. This will help you confirm what you know so far or lead to additional questions.

For example, the contact tells you, "I like your product. If the budget is there, I think I'll give it a try. Give me a call later and I'll let you know." You can apply skepticism (and ask validating questions) to almost every phrase of what they said.

"I like your product": Do they really or are they just saying that to be nice to you? What specifically do they like about your product?

"If the budget is there": Who determines the budget? How and when does it get approved? How big was the last budget? Do you expect it to increase or decrease? Have you ever allocated budget for a product like this before?

"I think I'll give it a try": Why are they non-committal -- why aren't they more excited about your product? What is there to think about?

"Give me a call later":
Why do we have to have another call? Why can't we close the deal now? Can we look at the current budget and cut something less valuable so you can reap the benefits of the product now? When is later?

"I'll let you know":
Let me know what -- that you are going to buy right then or that you'll still consider my product? What would cause you to say "no" when we talk again?

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.