In the last post, we continued our look at an example of a “retail” sales dialogue – in this case, a homebuilder with model homes open to visitors. The prospect revealed in the last post that she is renting and her lease is terminating, she moved to Phoenix from Tucson because of family, she used to live on a ranch, and she worries about neighbors and noise.
Notice how the salesperson uncovers and deals with Pain, uses listening tools, and works toward developing trust by allowing the conversation to go beyond traditional bounds with discussions of the prospect’s concerns/Pain rather than just talking about the homes this company has to sell.
My comments regarding what’s going on in the conversation are in (parentheses).
Prospect: I’m in a big apartment with lots of people all around and lots of kids running around. My kids are all grown so I really don’t want kids around.
Salesperson: Okay. So is it just you, or do you have a partner? How is that, Sharon? (Asking.)
Prospect: Good question. It’s a little iffy there, so I would like my own place.
Salesperson: So, you would like a place of your own. You do not have people with whom you are living right now; it’s just yourself... (Demonstrates listening.)
Salesperson: And, you want some peace and quiet. (Listening.)
Prospect: Right, lots of peace and quiet.
Salesperson: And at the same time, you want to live in an urban environment like Phoenix. (Juxtaposes her two desires.)
Prospect: Well, I got a job down the road.
Salesperson: Oh, you did! Congratulations! What did you get? (It’s always good to express an interest in your prospect, and to show enthusiasm for something other than her interest in your product!)
Prospect: I got a sales job.
Salesperson: A sales job. May I ask with whom?
Prospect: Selling cosmetics.
Salesperson: Ah! So where’s the job?
Prospect: Well, I’m not really familiar with the area, but it’s just down the road a bit.
Salesperson: Okay. So you really need to be in this part of Phoenix then? (Looking for Pain.)
Salesperson: Well, I’m so glad that you came in to take a look at what I have here. Let’s talk about a couple of things. In terms of what you want, other than the privacy factor, I hear you saying, “I’d like to have a larger lot.” These lots look small to you. (Thanking her, and good non-defensive listening.)
Prospect: Well, and maybe we could also make the garage into a barn.
Salesperson: You were thinking about bringing some cattle up here? (Listening.)
Prospect: Sure, why not?
Salesperson: Well, you know, that’s an interesting question. I have to tell you that this community is kind of interesting. It’s got its blessings and its curses, I suppose. One of the things is that this is a “covenanted community”. What that means is, there are rules about what kinds of things we can do. (Answering her question.)
Prospect: I see.
Salesperson: So we wouldn’t be able to barn any cows or horses in the community. (Gentle honesty.)
Salesperson: On the other hand, that’s an advantage in that nobody else can either, so you don’t have to listen to other people’s livestock. (Contextualizing the negative, tying it to the noise concerns and Pain she expressed earlier.)
Prospect: Oh, that’s a good thing.
Salesperson: Yes, that’s good. It keeps your real estate value high. (That’s using beneﬁt language.)
Prospect: Well, that sounds really good.
Would you have responded as this salesperson did? Notice that she <i>never</i> resorts to building a case for her community—instead she inquires and she responds.
We’ll continue this conversation and analysis in the next blog post!
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