The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2013 - (Page 38)

SALES & LISTEN MARKETING Get Your Game On Listen To Your Customers BY NORM CLARK F aced with continued economic uncertainty and an ever changing business environment, it is important to really understand our customers’ businesses and how they are being affected by these uncertainties. When is the last time you had a conversation with customers in which they opened up to you about issues they were dealing with and hoped that you could help them find a solution? There is an art to engaging another person in a conversation and having that person feel comfortable enough to share things that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with just anyone. Here’s a look at some techniques for engaging people and making them feel comfortable enough to open up and share some things that could put you in a position to provide them with solutions. Diagnose Before You Prescribe When you think of professional people, what kind of people come to mind? Doctors? Lawyers? Bankers? When you meet with these professionals, what do they normally do before offering you advice? Most likely, they will first ask you a series of questions to better understand your situation. Would you agree? If so, then would it be fair to say that we consider people to be professional – at least in part – based on the degree to which they ask questions before offering advice? If so, does that apply to sales professionals as well? Will prospective clients consider us to be more professional if we ask 38 MHEDA | themhedajournal.org questions to better understand their business situations prior to presenting information, demonstrating products or otherwise trying to make a sale? Here’s the analogy that makes the point very well. Let’s assume you are traveling and wake up one morning not feeling well. You go to a doctor whom you’ve never met. As the doctor walks into the examining room, you make the comment, “Doc, I’m from out of town and I’m not feeling well. I hope you can help me.” The doctor says, “Sure, you’ve certainly come to the right place.” The doctor picks up a prescription pad, writes out a prescription, tears it off, hands it to you and says, “Here, take this. It will make you feel better.” As a patient, how would you feel about that doctor? You might believe that the doctor didn’t have a sincere interest in your Will prospective clients consider us to be more professional if we ask questions to better understand their business situations prior to presenting information, demonstrating products or otherwise trying to make a sale? condition. Maybe you would think the doctor was trying to see as many patients as possible to increase his or her income. Whatever you would think about the doctor, it probably wouldn’t have much to do with trust or confidence, and you probably wouldn’t want to see that doctor again. I know no one reading this has ever done what I am about to describe, but I have seen salespeople go into meetings with customers and prospective customers and prescribe before they ever diagnose. It happens all the time. Salespeople sometimes show no more of a genuine concern for the customer’s situation than the doctor did in the scenario described. Now, let’s look at the same scenario with a little different outcome. You are traveling, wake up not feeling well and go to a doctor that you have not met before. As the doctor walks into the examining room, you make the comment, “Doc, I’m from out of town and I’m not feeling well. I hope you can help me.” This time the doctor says, “Well, I certainly hope so,” and then goes on to ask the following questions: • “What seems to be the problem?” • “Is that a sharp pain or a dull pain?” • “Have you ever experienced this before?” • “Have you taken any medication for it?” • “Did the medication help? “ After hearing your responses to the questions, the doctor picks up a prescription pad, writes out a prescription, tears it off, hands it to you and says, “Here, take this. It will make http://www.themhedajournal.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2013

President’s Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Ask Your Board
MHEDA Member Profile
At Work
The Next Economic Cycle
In Case of Emergency – Disaster-Proofing Your Supply Chain
Annual Convention
Convention Program
Exhibitors' Showcase Floor plan
Absorption Measures Performance and Sustainability
Exhibitors’ Showcase Product Guide
The Parachute Congress Made
Get Your Game On
An Expert, Advisor, Resource and Single Point of Contact
What Looks Good on Paper
Instilling Work Ethic in the Emerging Workforce
How to Get People to Do What You Want Them to Do
Search Engine Marketing Value Proposition
New Members
Spotlight on Association News
MHEDA University Calendar
MHEDA Milestones
New Products
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2013

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