Gosh you hate doodles.
And as you're speaking to a client, they're doodling away. Random, scribbly drawings on a sheet of paper are causing you to get more hassled by the second. Because somehow, it seems your client really isn't paying attention.
And this lack of attention might cost you the sale.
So how do you bring your client back from la-la land? And what do you need to do in the first place that would keep the client from drifting off a squillion miles away?
Ever visited a doctor?
You're sitting at the doctor's clinic and notice who's doing all the talking. Why, goodness gracious, it's you. If you notice carefully, the doctor isn't saying much.
All she seems to do, is ask you a whole bunch of questions.
The questions are a control mechanism
The one who asks the questions, controls the situation. So if you want your client to pay attention, it would be logical to ask the clients all the questions, right?
Right, but you're jumping the gun
Before you start playing doctor, doctor, let the client do the questioning first. When you meet a client, always let them ask the first questions.
The client wants control. Give him the control.
He'll ask you to tell him about your business. Or he'll ask you some other question, but be sure that the client will be first off the block with the questions. And you'd better not interrupt.
Not just yet!
It's vital that a client speaks first!
Luckily, clients usually speak first because they have questions to ask. And make sure you take between 5-7 minutes to answer the initial questions.
Bing! Your 5-7 Minutes Are Up!
So you've answered a few questions. You've done your good deed for the day. Now don't sit there waiting for more questions to be sent your way.
It's time to take control. Put on your doctor coat and fire away.
Ask the questions, then clamp up
Stop your yakkity yak, ask the questions and then start listening. And the only way you can do that is to have a series of questions that you have prepared in advance. Your biggest mission in a meeting should be to ask dozens of questions.
Questioning is sales ping pong. Hit the ball on your table, not some other table.
And there's a solid reasoning why you need to play this ping pong. The human brain can process about 500 words a minute. You can only speak at 200 or so. So the client has ‘300 words' to think about lunch, his wine cellar, that magazine he wants to buy, his tax return, etc, and other thoughts that can't be printed here. 🙂
When he's speaking, he can only focus on what he's saying.
So he speaks. You listen. You take notes.
Notes? Why take notes?
Oooh, good question! You take notes because of a couple of reasons. Your memory isn't what it used to be, so yeah, some of the important facts are going to pass you like that proverbial ship in the night, if you don't jot down the information.
That's reason No.1
Reason No.2 is that clients feel a whole lot better when you're taking notes. It means you're paying attention to what the client is saying. And lordy mama, don't we all love attention?
But it's reason No.3 you're really after
If you've asked all the right questions, you should have one solid page of the client's problems. Every itty-bitty hassle they've been experiencing, is nicely sitting on your sheet of paper.
Now do me a favour, don't launch into a presentation.
No. That's not you want to do. All you have to do at this point, is simply read back what the client has told you. Yes, in the client's own words.
Now, now, don't be distracted. Stick to the script.
So let's say you sell software
If the clients are concerned about website security, then talk about website security. If the client is concerned about encryption, then talk about encryption.
Don't you dare go rambling into talking about server space or some bizarre topic that's unrelated.
Then you bring in the NEXT STEP
Here's what I do: I just summarise and tell the client “If I understand clearly, these are your problems.”
And I simply repeat the problems the client has just told me.
Then I bring up a solution. “If I get it right, you'd expect us to do this, and we'd expect to do this, by this date.” And I shut up.
And the client either agrees or disagrees.
If he agrees, you're doing fine. If he disagrees, this would be a good moment to get the facts straight.
Your job is to listen and summarise, not to go blah, blah.
Not unlike the visits to your doctor. You pound your doctor with all your ailments and what does she do? She doesn't give you a presentation of her skills, does she? She doesn't tell you which university she attended and when she last did a brain surgery.
She listens. She asks questions. And then she summarises. And then she recommends how you can fix the problem you're having.
And you nod like a puppy
You take her advice and feel she's the best doctor in the whole world. In short, you give her your business and give her loads of referrals too.
Be a doctor: Listen. Question. Summarise. Recommend.
Clients don't get distracted when you're listening, questioning, summarising and recommending. Because all you're doing is talking about the client, the client, the client.
And when you're speaking about the client, they're paying full attention 🙂
You may or may not get the sale. But at least you won't have to put up with that darn doodling!
Recommended Product: Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don’t): The Brain Audit