We conducted a virtual interactive coaching workshop with a technology client’s sales team on how to improve the outcomes of sales calls and meetings. These workshops often involve video role-play simulations so salespeople can hear things they say during prospect and customer calls.
Salespeople want to ask good questions or say the right thing, but over time, we tend to drift away from what we want to communicate by not paying attention to the words that come out of our mouths.
I’ve summarized a few things we heard during the workshop that salespeople should never say or ask:
DO NOT Ask Questions That Reveal a Lack of Preparation
It’s a mistake to waste valuable time asking details that you can learn through pre-call research. And, buyers become frustrated right off the bat by answering fundamental questions about their company.
Questions that typically fall into this category:
‘Can you tell me a little bit about your business? What do you do?’
‘What products do you sell?’
‘How long has your company been around?’
‘How many locations do you have?’
‘Who are your competitors?’
DO NOT SAY THE FOLLOWING:
‘Is now a good time talk?’
A reason not to ask this: Asking permission may seem polite, but it opens them to the option to say “no” and hang up.
Instead, you can say: “I’m glad I caught you” or “It’s good to speak with you.”
‘I hope you are well.’
A reason not to say this: When you speak to someone for the first time, you don’t usually know the people you are calling. That makes it difficult to express sincere concern for their well-being.
Instead, you can say: “I’d like to talk to you about …” or “I suspect you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.”
‘I thought I’d reach out because …”
A reason not to say this: A prospecting call needs to stay focused on the prospect, and less about the salesperson. So benefit needs to lead.
Instead, you can say: “You’re on my radar because …” or “We’ve worked with companies like yours and….”
‘Are you interested in …?’
A reason not to ask this: You are probing for interest in your product, feature or benefit with a closed-ended question. If the prospect isn’t interested in what you have in mind, you’ve effectively ended the conversation.
Instead, you can ask: “You value X, and this has proven to do Y. How would we best explore how to increase your confidence that this can work for your firm as well?”
‘Oh, I hear that a lot.’ B2B Selling Tips and Tricks
A reason not to say this: Prospects and customers believe they and their challenges are unique. You don’t want to make them feel like you’ve heard their problems a hundred times.
Instead, you can say: “Can you clarify what you mean by that?” or “Why?” or “Can you tell me a little more about how this affects you?”
‘I’m just checking in.’ B2B Selling Tips and Tricks
Reason no to says this: You aren’t just checking in; you have an agenda to move a potential sale forward. Don’t waste their time checking in. Give them value.
Instead, you can say: “I want to follow up on our conversation last Tuesday and answer any last questions you have. Then we can finalize the next steps for moving forward.”
‘I don’t want to waste your time.’ B2B Selling Tips and Tricks
A reason not to say this: Whether it’s said because you’ve realized your solution isn’t a good fit for the prospect, or you want to seem courteous of their time, just saying that sentence wasted time. It’s better to get to your point.
Instead, you can say: “It doesn’t look like this the right (time, circumstances, reason) for us to work together.” Or “I will (walk you through the demo, show you the cost analysis, compare models, etc.) now.”
‘Call me anytime about anything.’ B2B Selling Tips and Tricks
A reason not to say this: You might think it’s a good idea to be available for customers all the time for anything. But no one can really fulfill that big of a commitment. It’s better to let customers know they have a team available to help them.
Instead, you can say: “You can contact our service team anytime at (number, email, and social media handle). We have a fabulous team available around the clock.”
B2B Selling Tips and Tricks
If you are interested in more B2B selling tips and tricks, read my two previous posts: