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As salespeople, looking to gather information from our prospects, we create a list of questions we need to get answered. However, we can sometimes sound like we are in an interrogation. Firing question after question, with minimal pausing or thought in between.
In some cases, we haven’t built rapport, disarmed our prospects or created a safe space for them to let their guard down. In this situation, they typically will do 1 of 2 things.
One- give us short one-word answers, closed body language letting us know they are not engaged and a willing participant.
Or two- tell us what they think we want to hear. Neither one helps anyone out here. So how can we invite them to share information with us?
There are two techniques I use that help my prospects disarm, and continue speaking without feeling pressured and scripted. They are Mirroring and Labelling.
Mirroring is repeating the last few words in the middle or end of thesentence with an upward inflection, like a question. This invites our audience to continue speaking and add more detail.
Prospect: “We’re happy with our current provider”
Sales Rep: “Your current provider?
Prospect: “Yes, we‘re pretty content with the level of service they’re providing”
Sales Rep: “Level of service”
Prospect: “Yes, we have quarterly business reviews, and we track our service progress; things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Sales Rep: “Interesting, curious if you have compared your levels against other companies or industries as a benchmark”?
We never asked a question. We used the language our prospects used, allowing them to feel heard. They continue to explain and add more detail to the conversation.Mirroring creates more of a conversational tone, vs ping pong questioning back and forth. Labelling is another communication tool we can use. We use language like “sounds like”, seems like",“looks like”, “feels like”. We are labelling what we heard them share. It starts as an assumption, and we are not completely certain it is correct. However, what it does is it invites our audience to either confirm what you said, correct us or continue adding information to justify or validate their position. Either way, they again are sharing more information.
Prospect: “We are all set; we aren’t looking to change providers”
Sales Rep: “Sounds to me like you have everything sorted out”
Prospect: “Well not everything, I’m sure there are a few things we haven’t thought of”
You can add a mirror “haven’t thought of” in an upward inflection, again inviting them to add more detail.
This is a subtle way of getting more information while keeping the conversation moving and, in this example, you created an opening.What started as a potential objection, you acknowledged what you heard through labelling. They added more, and you are now finding out things aren’t completely perfect, you are getting inside information. These two tools are subtle ways to get your audience to continue speaking, by making them feel heard and adding more details to the conversation in a non-threatening or “salesy” way.
I encourage you to try this out as a team first, it does feel different initially, but you will realize when you use these tools, your audience offers more information without hesitation.
For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.
Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.