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Why the Prospect Should Do 80% Of the Talking in Sales Conversations

by | Aug 3, 2020 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

In the Old Model of Selling, we’re taught that we, as the salesperson should ask a few questions to find out the needs of the prospect, and then start talking about our solution. We strike up a conversation, then launch into a sales pitch of everything the prospect should know about the product or service that we’re selling. The basis behind this model is rooted in a falsehood: that consumers buy based on logic. If they did, this model would be considerably more effective. We would share the logical reasons why they should make a purchase, they would listen logically, and then they would agree. 

However, emotions rule for consumers when it comes to buying decisions. Sure, the logical details help them to feel good about their purchase. But to make the decision to buy, they have to feel emotionally tied to the problem and wanting to solve it. Unfortunately, talking AT the prospect is not the way to spark the emotional reaction needed to persuade a purchase. This only works if the prospect has emotionally persuaded themselves that they need what you’re selling before they got on the phone with you. The only way a prospect will emotionally persuade themselves within a sales conversation is if they are the one doing most of the talking, from your skilled questions that draw out their pain of what the problem is doing to them.


The Typical Sales Conversation (From the Old Model)

Let’s take a hard look at the Old Model of Selling that most salespeople have been taught. First, it begins by trying to establish trust with the prospect, or seem ‘friendly’ with them, which never quite feels right when you’re on the receiving end as a prospect. This is usually done by talking about the weather, or who won the football game this week, or maybe they see a picture of the client fishing and they talk about how they like to fish as well.  This has nothing to do with why they’re there, and is wasting everyone’s time.

Do you pick up on this when a salesperson is trying to sell you something?  That’s the first 10% of time spent with a prospect. It feels phony and ingenuine right off the bat, which makes it challenging for the prospect to trust you. In fact, it may be the reason why they immediately don’t trust you.

After that, the next 10% is typically about identifying needs.  The salesperson asks a few generic questions such as this one: “Can you tell me 2 to 3 problems that you're experiencing now and what you'd like to see happen to fix those problems?”  The prospect would then rattle off a few generic problems to the salesperson, with simple logical answers that are just the surface of what is really going on. 

At that point, the salesperson goes into their “sales pitch” or presentation all about the features and benefits of what their product or service can do, how great their company is, and that they have the best this and the best that … which, by the way, every salesperson says, am I right? As you can see that’s 50% of the old model. This presentation portion takes up about 50% of the total time spent with the prospect with the Old Model.

Then the last 30% of the sale, they go in for the close … and what happens?  The prospect throws out objections.  Then the salesperson has to try and overcome their objections, and try to close them again and again.  At this point, the salesperson then starts to chase them to try and convince them to purchase.  Does that sound familiar to you?  


A Breakdown of the Old Model

Let’s look at the composition of time spent on each activity within a conversation from the Old Model of Selling… that was 10% spent building trust,“getting to know the prospect”, 10% identifying needs, 50% on the presentation, 30% asking for the sale and dealing with objections.  So, as you can see here, only about 10% of the time is about building trust (and, that’s if you can count ‘small talk’ as a method of building trust, which small talk has nothing to do with building trust with today’s information-aged buyer).

The modern salesperson knows that TRUST is KING in sales, and that this is no way to build trust. Without trust, the sale isn’t going to close. That’s not a suggestion. That’s a fact. A lack of trust is the reason that prospects have so many objections. If they don’t trust you, they certainly don’t trust the chance of investing money with you or the business you represent.

The Old Model of Selling DOES ask some questions.  But, 97% of salespeople don't ask the ‘right’ questions at the right time in the conversation.  They just ask ‘surface’ questions which only get you the superficial answers from your potential customers. And, these questions aren’t enough: you need to make sure you are asking “under the surface” questions which pull out the prospect’s emotions of what the problem is, the root cause of the problem, and how it’s affecting them. 


The New Model of Selling

In the New Model of Selling, trust is built in the following ways:

1.The focus of the conversation is immediately placed upon the prospect in a way that feels genuine to them. Asking if they caught last night’s football game is not a way to place the focus in the right way, because that’s the same question you could have asked to the 17 other prospects you called right before (and, you probably did). Diving right into what they need help with is a way to place focus. People want to talk about themselves.

2. The prospect does 80 percent of the talking. I advise my students of this rule all of the time. This means that your job is to ask the right questions at the right time (through Neuro Emotional Persuasion Questioning), then steer them to where they need to go. This means your job is to listen. You may think, “How are they going to persuade themselves unless they know all about what I’m selling?” 

Here’s what’s critical to understand: the prospect does not care about the logical benefits of what you’re selling, all they care about is if you can get them the results they want and solve their problems. And, you can’t identify which benefits or features of your product will do this until you understand the root cause of their problem and how it’s affecting them personally.

To learn more about the exact questions needed to guide the prospect through their own  emotional persuasion, take the NEPQ course at 7thlevelHQ.com.