I´ve been a sales trainer for the last 10 years and been involved in specialized sales (big Pharma) for the past 20.
Specialized sales is probably one of the most challenging: is not driven by any sense of urgency (no last minute offer). In fact most of our competitors promote a product with the same quality as ours. We must thrive on the “little differences” and magnify their impact.
One of the most common mistakes new sales reps make is to try to convince their customers that their product is the right choice, highlighting the “best” attributes of it.
Problem is that if your customer is not actively listening, there´s no actual interaction.
Here are according to my experience 3of the best tools you can use to capture your customer´s attention.
- Build rapport
Mirroring and matching are two techniques of Neuro-linguistic Programming used to gain rapport at the unconscious level. Rapport means according to the dictionary: “a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy”.
What this means is that through observation whenever two people have an engaging conversation something interesting ocurrs: their body movement (hand gestures, standing, sitting) is similar (mirroring) and their tone of voice, speed, volume is also very similar.
If you begin to “match” their body language and their speed and tone of voice, you have a better chance to communicate.
Rapport will get them to listen to you, but the first thing you have to make sure of is to let them know you are listening to them and their needs.
Empathy means putting yourself on the other´s shoes. The concept in theory is easy, however when applied to sales is another.
Let me explain: Before you fire up all your “selling arguments” make sure you understand the customer´s position. The best way to do this is by recognizing their position and understanding their reasons for it.
For example if they tell you your product is too expensive, recognize cost is an important aspect to consider but never tell them that you recognize that your product is expensive. Recognize the need but do not validate their position. We want to let them know we understand their need but not necesarily agree with their position.
3. Active listening
Once you stablish empathy focus on gaining all available information about the customer´s position.
For this practice active listening. Ask for their opinion or reasons for their choice and then really listening.
Listening means not to just stop talking. Every time you ask try to remember as much as you can about what he/she is saying. Use common tools like paraphrasing (during the conversation ask: if I understood what you said, you mean that …), short verbal signs that we are listening (aha, right…).
It is only until you understand their reasons that you´re going to know which benefits your product offers is aligned with their needs. Then is not just a sales pitch, is a benefit they can relate to their need.
This 3 step process will help you increase significantly the impact of your sales pitch. You´re not just eductating them about your product, you´re letting them know what your product can do for their needs.