byLowList5008-10-201710:16 AM - edited 08-10-201710:16 AM
Unfortunately, as sales people we often get caught in our rut and start to do the ‘same ole-same ole’ with our customers; we ask a few questions, listen for our cue to pounce, and move in for the close. Customers can smell this a mile away. Time to get fresh! Time to really be curious and listen.
“Your job in these meetings is to play Columbo, the unassuming and always underestimated detective from the classic TV show that started in the ’70s and ran for more than three decades. Your job is not to show off or demonstrate how smart you are...
You want to have big ears and a small mouth in these meetings. You want to ask concise questions that take no more than a couple of seconds and then listen deeply to the answers, considering them with every fiber of your consciousness as you write your notes on paper—just like Columbo.
Listening like this will serve two virtuous goals, the first being that the [customer] will feel heard and understood by you. If people believe they are being deeply listened to, they will talk more.
This is why, when you talk to your therapist about your mom, they say “hmm...” while tilting their head and looking at you with sympathy. Then they add, “Tell me more about your mother,” or “Unpack that some more,” or simply “Your mother...”"
Focus on your customer, not what you want to hear from them, and seek to learn something you did not know. What are you listening for, you ask? We borrow from the world of Design Thinking to transform how people sell. Design Thinking would tell us to listen for:
Surprises (what surprises you because it is unexpected)
Hacks (what has someone done or created to get around a system or process to make it work for them)
Inconsistencies (what does not square up – they said one thing, but you heard/saw something else)
Passion (High emotion/energy, either positive or negative)
Instead of listening for the problem you know you can solve, listen for these four nuances in a conversation, and when you’ve stumbled upon one, double down and get more detail. These are your clues, Columbo! Clues to what is meaningful to your client, and where you can add value.
We’ve seen countless sales professionals use these clues to go deeper and wider with their clients, and the payoff has been increased client partnership and much bigger deals. And sales professionals have talked about how much more fun their work is. No more ‘same ole-same ole.’
Want to learn more about Design Thinking and how you can apply its principles to learn more about your customers, and ultimately increase your sales? Join us next Thursday, August 17th, at 10:00 am PDT for our webinar, Naked Sales: Use Design Thinking to Reveal What Customers Care About & Drive Revenue. You will learn why most sales teams' Discovery process leaves much to be desired, why you should shift your focus from increasing sales to customer-centric discovery, and three tools you can start using right away in your Discovery process to up your game. Click here to register for free!
Ashley Welch is the Co-Founder of Somersault Innovation, a Design Thinking consulting firm which provides a unique approach to sales development and consulting services to companies such as Salesforce, Facebook, Microsoft, GE, Merck, Ellie Mae and others. Prior to founding Somersault Innovation she spent 20 years as a leading sales professional, managing a multi-million dollar portfolio of global clients for a consulting firm. She has a strong wanderlust and loves to travel with her family. Closer to home, she founded and now co-leads an annual TEDxYouth@Wayland event in her hometown to enable students to tell their stories, spread inspiring ideas, and infuse the town with energy and activism.