Have you ever been in the middle of a sales conversation, thinking that things are going really well, only to have a potential customer totally shut down on you? It’s easy to brush it off as the customer’s problem, but it might be that you have unintentionally done something to turn them off. And while everybody’s different, there are certain things that almost always turn customers off pretty much instantly, including:
This one seems painfully obvious, but a lot of people have a hard time listening during sales conversations, whether because they’re nervous or because they simply haven’t been trained. It’s so important that you make it very clear to your customers that you’re listening to what they have to say — in fact, I’d say you can’t close a sale without it — so make it a priority.
Asking closed questions and “why” questions
Along with not listening, asking the wrong types of questions can put people off you really quickly. Closed questions (those that have a yes or no answer) are a common culprit here. The way they’re phrased instructs your customer’s mind to find the shortest, easiest answer, which makes for stilted conversation. Similarly, asking “why” questions, as in “Why did you choose that product?” or “Why were you thinking that?” may seem innocuous enough, but the phrasing instantly puts people on the defensive.
We-ing all over the place
By which I mean using sentences like “We’ve got 10 years of experience” or “We’re the number one agency in the region” rather than sentences that start with “you”. This is boring and off-putting … but thankfully extremely easy to fix. Just use sentences that start with “you” instead, as in, “You’ll benefit from XYZ features.”
Breaking or ignoring rapport
As I’ve said before, rapport is the fairy dust of sales. It makes everything so much easier and more enjoyable. While it sometimes happens naturally, you can’t expect that to happen every time, you need to work at it, or risk customers going off you at a moment’s notice.
The flip side of this is to make sure that your efforts at building rapport are natural and true to you. There’s nothing worse than starting to feel a connection with someone, only to realise that they’ve been faking it the whole time. Even if you’re not faking it, make sure to avoid doing things that give the impression you are, like being obvious in matching your body language, talking out of your natural register when matching your tones, or using language that you’re uncomfortable with.
Ultimately, it comes down to making sure that your customers know that you’re there to listen, help, and respect them. All simple enough things to understand … so just make sure you’re acting on them!
Until next time,