While asking questions and listening are at the heart of ethical selling, there will come a moment – more likely several – where the buyer wants you to say something.
Answer a question, explain something, repeat something…
That’s a crucial moment, because the way you handle that determines whether or not your sales conversation will go smoothly, or instead ends up a struggle.
Most people, when it’s their time to talk, will go for ‘interesting’, which leads to statements like:
“We’re the world’s largest blah blah”, or “I work with some of the most influential authors” or, “We’re an award-winning agency”, or “I was talking to Richard Branson about that last week”, or whatever message is thought to add weight.
The problem is not that these statements don’t make you look interesting – the problem is that they do.
And a buyer doesn’t give a damn about how interesting you might be.
A buyer wants to know how interested you are in them.
And not in the money they might pay you: they want to know how interested you are in understanding, and solving, their problem.
And for all you regular, normal, non-world’s-largest, not-connected-to-celebs business owners out there: the good news is that even if you’re as boring as a wet sheet of paper, you can still sell your stuff, and at good prices too.
By being helpful, obviously: If your thing doesn’t help, people have no reason to buy it.
And if you want a buyer to understand how much you could help, and how useful you could be, you show them.
And the most useful person is someone who shows an interest in whatever problem or challenge we’re facing.
So when it’s your turn to talk, don’t start with things that make you look interesting.
Instead, say things that are useful: share insights, ask clarifying questions, suggest ideas or changes, and above all, and before anything else: make sure the buyer knows that you really get their situation.
Because it’s super useful to talk to someone who gets us: there’s no way we won’t get something useful out of the conversation.
And even if they don’t buy then, they’ll be happy you spoke, and you’ll be welcome when you reach out again.
There: an easier conversation, with better positioning.
AND an open door when you follow up, just because you didn’t try to look interesting.
Ain’t that useful.
P.s. You can learn how to have conversations like this, where buyers love the way you show up and learn them, here.