It’s hard enough to get in front of a prospective customer, don’t spend your entire time talking. Once in front of a real prospect many small business owners have a tendency to start talking about themselves and their company. The entire presentation time is taken up with “the presentation” and another potential sale may be lost.
A good presentation should be a 50/50 split or even a 60/40 split with your prospect doing at least 50 to 60 % of the talking and the presenter doing the same amount of listening. To get the prospect to talk, you have to ask questions; then you can listen effectively and reach a clarity of understanding of your prospects needs, thus allowing you to make the appropriate response.
Asking questions is not an interrogation process; questions that begin with the “why” word may put your prospect on the defensive. My goal in asking questions is to find out the following:
- How did my prospect get to this point in his business?
- Where is he now?
- Where does he want to go?
A good place to start is by asking your prospect to tell his/her “story”. Hopefully during the story you can get answers to the three questions. If they are not answered completely, you can ask more specific questions starting with, “Tell me more….”
During your listening portion, focus on your prospect; don’t plan ahead for your next question. Keep a clear mind so you can recognize what is important and what emotional messages are being conveyed. You know your product/service well enough and can show that you understood the message by now demonstrating those benefits.
A few other caveats:
- Refrain from interrupting
- Maintain eye contact
- Be patient
Correct listening and asking the right questions is an “art” that has to be developed. Practice before you sit in front of an important prospect.
Nick J. Petra CFP Offering affordable and immediately applicable business support.