If you as the salesperson are the one doing most of the talking on a prospecting call, then the wrong person is doing all the talking.
Telling is not selling. Most agents are super eager to talk about who they are, what they do and try to close for the appointment or sale way too early. They often have diarrhea of the mouth, otherwise known as a massive “vowel” movement.
Conversely, asking good questions and leading prospects to their own conclusion is what great salespeople do. Great salespeople know that what they hearing from prospects on the phone isn’t all there is to the story. They know that there are layers to every conversation they have with a prospect and that the outer layer is just a small fraction of what the prospect’s overall situation looks like.
You see, great salespeople have a “Spidey-sense” that tingles when a prospect sends a nugget of useful information their way. When that happens, they pounce on the opportunity and ask information-gathering questions that will lead them to the natural conclusion they seek—a sale.
The same thing goes for ISAs.
ISAs need to be able to hear what’s being said “behind” what’s being said to get enough information to decide whether or not to set an appointment for you. The only way to do this is to listen very carefully to what the seller prospect is saying and then ask lots of good questions. The better the questions and the deeper your ISA goes, the better the quality of the appointment they get you (or do not get you because it doesn’t make sense to set it).
Some people are naturally curious, which gives them a leg up when it comes to being a top-notch ISA. The reason is because they have a gift that allows them to ask questions from a position of unconscious competence, without having to think about what questions to ask as they navigate their way through a sales call.
Other folks aren’t wired that way, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t master the skill of asking good questions to obtain the same result. Here are a few tips your ISA can use improve his/her natural curiosity, which will enhance his/her information-gathering skills when speaking with seller prospects:
- Calm Your Inner Guide. It’s the voice that keeps on talking to you when listening to someone speak, and it often favors your opinion over that of the person speaking. The bad news is that we often listen to that voice instead of processing what is really being said. That voice prevents you from listening with an open mind and can often make you unable to hear the full intent of what’s being said. Your job is to focus more on the person speaking and less on your inner voice.
- Fight the Good Fight. If you’re unable to quiet that voice down, do your best to make it your friend. As soon as your opinion starts to creep in, make a concerted effort to fight the urge to let it happen and instead, hear what’s being said. In the end, you’re looking to find out where you’re wrong and where the speaker is right. Worst-case scenario is that you’ll now be open to getting other people’s opinions.
- Fake it Till You Make It. If you can’t be curious, at least act like you are. There are some advantages to being a naturally curious person. When you listen to people speak, take notes to remember what is being said. At the same time, write down questions that you could ask the speaker to enhance your curiosity. This will allow you to learn more and to show the speaker you are listening and actively involved in the conversation.
- Seek Nuggets of Truth. Every thought and idea has a beginning point and to that end, even the craziest of things someone might say may have a nugget of truth to it. So, even if you have trouble swallowing the whole story, be a detective and look for what may be true in what’s being said. Your deductive reasoning will certainly improve and you may even be able to give the speaker feedback to improve his/her original idea.
- Don’t Ignore the Messenger. Sometimes, we disregard what someone says because of who they are. Unfortunately, doing this can be detrimental to the learning process—especially if the person talking has some great information to share. The same can go for when we’re talking with someone we know really well. Oftentimes history and familiarity with someone can skew what we listen to and give credit to. Do your best to remove the messenger from the message so you can listen objectively.
Again, whether you’re naturally curious or not, you can arouse natural curiosity within yourself using these five strategies. Curiosity adds a tremendous amount of depth to every prospecting call and gives you an upper hand on your competition who are simply looking to get a sale.