“Listening will create that empathy, that empathy allows you to get vulnerable with that buyer. And when you get vulnerable, you create an advantage that sets you apart from your competitors.” – Beau Brooks in today’s Tip 662
How about you? Do you ask tough questions?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Beau Brooks. Beau is the SVP of Sales and Customer Experience at Formstack, a workplace productivity platform used by over 27,000 organizations worldwide to digitize what matters, automate workflows and fix processes, all without code. Previously Beau lead Sales and CX teams at Signpost, and Customer Retention efforts at Dish Network. Here he is:
Beau Brooks: Have you ever been watching a movie and noticed as one character says to another, tell me something that no one else in the world knows about you. Well, that today is our sales tip. In those situations. Characters are trying to build a strong, emotional connection. We know in sales that customers buy emotionally and then justify it rationally in their heads. So as a salesperson, we are always trying to find a way to create a stronger emotional connection to get that buyer to think emotionally.
Everyone that we’re fighting within a sales process is generally following the same process. They’re using a sales methodology to walk through discovery, demonstrate their product or service, go through objection handling, and then move to close for you as a salesperson to set yourself apart, finding those emotional connections through difficult questions will put your customer into a state that will allow them to think differently, to think emotionally.
This seems like a very basic thing, asking tough questions. Obviously, we’re going to do that as salespeople, but it is so infrequently used because it is a very uncomfortable process to go through. Listening to what your customers say is the key to this. My encouragement is as you walk into a sales conversation, start with those one or two questions that you want to ask in order to understand why your buyer’s engaging with you. What problem are they looking to solve? And then sit back and thoroughly, listen to the things that your customer is saying. They will give you tons of clues in their answer as to what their withholding, what may be really bothering them under the surface that they’re not revealing. Those things can be seen in things that they repeat in things that they emphasize. And in tone and body language changes if you’re on video, that gives you a great way to sit back and listen and diagnose those.
Then you move forward through the sales conversation by replying with questions, responsively based on what they’ve given you, rather than following a script of questions that we do through your discovery and analysis of what your customer cares about. Being responsive to this process is key to creating an emotional connection.
And then last get vulnerable. As you’ve identified these areas where you feel, you can sense it, that the customer is not telling you they’re withholding something. That’s key to the reason that they want to solve this problem, get vulnerable with that customer, and ask them very directly, almost uncomfortably. What that thing maybe. It feels like you’re not telling me something, but there’s something that you really care about here. And I really need to understand that in order to help you solve this problem, that will cause the customer to pause and think, and hopefully drop their guard to give you a piece of information that not only helps you as you demonstrate your product or service and how you’ll solve their problem but also creates that stronger emotional connection that your competitors, that your buyer is also talking to won’t have.
Early in my time at Formstack, we had the great opportunity to work with one of the top four sports organizations in the U S and early in the sales conversation. The customer was asking us about taking online donations and volunteer information in a seamless way where they could facilitate their different teams in doing this process as well.
Through several product demonstrations and conversations, we showed them examples of how we’d solve this for other organizations. We walked them through how we would assist them in getting to a good spot. And the question kept coming up. It came up three, four times.
And finally, I looked at the CTO on a video call and I said, you know what? We have answered this question several times, but it keeps coming up. There’s something that you’re not telling us. And if we can get that out on the table, it’s really going to help us get to the root of the problem that you’re trying to solve. And I remember as clear as it was yesterday, CTO stopped. What out a big sigh took a pause and then told me, we screwed up. There’s something that we need to fix. And his job was on the line. His team was not looking good in the organization. And he confessed that to me. And it completely changed the way that we demo the product. We showed them specifically what they were needing to do. And by the end of that call, the CTO told us we’re done looking at competitors. We’re ready to move forward. Let’s figure out a way to get this done and that emotional connection by asking him a really tough question that nobody else in the sales process within our competitor’s organizations was willing to ask, created that emotional connection. That’s now led to a multi-year relationship with this organization that continues to grow, and we’re their trusted advisor and data capture.
So focus on listening in your questions. Listening will create that empathy, that empathy allows you to get vulnerable with that buyer. And when you get vulnerable, you create an advantage that sets you apart from your competitors. That’s it. Get emotional and ask those really tough questions.
Scott Ingram: We’ve got links for you to connect with Beau and learn more about Formstack at DailySales.Tips/662.
Once you’ve done that, make sure you’re subscribed to this podcast and come on back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!