DON’T PITCH, ASK QUESTIONS: Selling is about the customer, not you.
The main reason why any business exists is that the owner/founder identified a problem in the Market and decided to create a solution for it. As an entrepreneur, you need you to understand what the potential buyer’s challenges and concerns are before you can start pitching your product and it’s amazing benefits. When people feel like you don’t understand, they’ll never buy from you.
People aren’t interested in what you’re selling, they only care about their problem and finding someone who can fix it. A pitch is a statement, a presentation. So if you start the conversation with that, then you are going to come across as someone who’s greedy and trying to push sales by all means necessary. Which will cause you to lose that prospect because you haven’t applied effective questioning to even know for sure that what you’re offering them will be a great fit or not?
Why ask questions? When people are speaking, that’s when they are most engaged, rather than when they are listening. Because when listening it’s easy to drift off and start losing focus. So when you’re selling, don’t go on and on about yourself, your product or company. Instead, ask questions because people love to talk about themselves. They love talking about what their goals and challenges are. And that’s how you build trust and increase sales.
Imagine visiting the doctor and immediately after greeting you he enthusiastically says “Hey, I have the following qualifications which I acquired over a period of XYZ and I’ve got over 20 years experience”. Or “Hey we really have this incredible procedure”. Instead, he will ask the following questions; “where are you feeling that pain?” or “what’s going on? help me understand.”
This way, it becomes a two-way dialogue instead of a “Pitch”. That’s why after visiting the doctor we don’t feel like we’ve wasted our money. Instead, we feel like we got value for money because they made us feel cared for and important. Avoid pitching from the onset. Pitching kills a lot of sales. Take a step back.
Look, it’s human nature to want to pull back or resist, whenever we feel like we are being pushed into something that we aren’t completely convinced about. You have to put yourself in their shoes to understand why they would buy from you and what they care about.
When a prospect comes to you with a problem or challenge don’t say “Guess what you’re at the right place we have the all the right products to help you”. That’s how an amateur salesperson tries to close sales. Instead, do it like a professional and ask questions like, “what would you say this problem is costing you?”
It’s very easy to talk to anyone about our problems at a surface level but if you want to build trust and increase sales you have to go deeper into their problems or challenges. Remember “whoever asks the questions controls the conversation”. Only after you’ve thoroughly listened to their concerns can you now make your sales pitch.
– Nomsa Chauke
Co-Founder of Platform4change NPO
Director at Nu Radar Business Solutions Pty Ltd
Season winner of SABC 2’s entrepreneurship competition, Game Plan (2019)
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Facebook: Nomsa Chauke