Clearing the Lines of Communication
If you can eliminate communication breakdowns between your clients and yourself, the result will be more sales with less headaches. Breakdowns occur because no one took the time to check if what was communicated was understood by the people engaged in the conversation. Here are four easy steps that will assist you in getting clear with your client's wants, needs and expectations.
1. Ask a Question:
Assume you have no idea what the client really wants. The only way to uncover their needs is to first ask questions. Some useful information gathering questions are: "What is it you are looking to gain from this investment/product/service? What is most important to you? Why? How do you determine which company/product is best for you? What do you already know about..."
2. Process the Information:
Listen carefully to their response. Never interrupt a client. I know it’s hard to stay quiet, but just remember, you don't learn anything that will help you sell from listening to yourself talk.
3. Interpret the Information:
What is it they are actually saying? If you are not clear, instead of making false assumptions, ask more questions such as, "Can you say more about that?" It shows you are genuinely concerned about understanding exactly what they are expressing.
4. Confirm the Information:
Summarize what they have shared with you, then respond with a question to confirm understanding. "So what you are looking for is..." or "What I am hearing is..." or "From what I understand, you are currently experiencing a situation where... "Is that correct?"
Checking to see if the exchange of communication was clear will make the client feel comfortable with you and the decision making process, since they are dealing with a sales professional who takes the time to understand what they really want. This will enable you to fill your client’s exact needs and best service them the first time around, thus preventing costly mistakes due to faulty communication. Imagine never hearing, "This is not what I expected," again. Instead, you’ll be hearing the words that make every professional smile. "Hey, that’s exactly what I wanted."