Uncover the prospect’s need while establishing trust and credibility.
Once you have a clear marketing and sales understanding of who your prospect is, how to find them, and how to get their attention, you must learn how to get them excited about what you have to say. This is a crucial part of the selling process, but it is not selling in the conventional sense of the word, because it isn’t highlighting your product.
You get a prospect excited about your product by talking about them rather than your product. The reality is, the best way to get a prospect excited about your product is to develop a relationship and find out what he is looking for from your product.
This information can only be ascertained by listening to your prospect rather than by talking about your product. Keep in mind at all times that finding out what the prospect thinks is more important than talking about your product. Close your mouth and open your ears during a sales call and two things will happen: you will discover what your prospect values; and you will develop trust that forms the foundation of a good sales relationship.
Consultative selling is the number one way to close more sales. It is an approach that shows you have the ability to focus on the needs of others. It shows you listen to others, put the needs of others first, and problem solve by listening carefully.
It makes sense. What do most people care about? Themselves! Life is full of examples of people wanting to talk about themselves: At parties, on the job, when they have problems. So indulging your prospect in this not only makes them feel good and establishes you as someone they enjoy talking to, but it enables you to learn what they are looking for. Once you have developed a relationship and learned this, nothing can stop you.
So lets learn how to set ourselves apart from the competition.
Avoiding The #1 Sales Mistake
The biggest mistake beginning sales people make is that they get in the door and are dying to tell their prospect about their product. They have so much product knowledge and are so eager to share it, that they forget to find out what is relevant to the prospect.
This is a mistake because you can’t sell unless you understand your prospect’s needs. You discover their needs by listening, not talking.
For example, you could visit four prospects who all need computers and each one will have different perceived needs for that computer. One brand of computer could, in fact, satisfy the needs of four different customers, but one pat sales pitch will not excite all of them. It definitely won’t sell all of them. Your job on a sales call is to find out what each prospect is looking for.
If you give the same sales pitch to all four people, you’ll be applying the fast food approach to selling. Your pitch will be satisfactory to everyone, but won’t excite anyone!
This concept is similar to what you do automatically in your personal life. Look at how you have solved the problems of others throughout your life. You help people with their problems based on what you know about them and their objectives. The same problem for different people is handled in different ways.
A reading problem with a child in school would be handled differently depending on whether it was caused by an issue with the teacher, a learning disability, or a family problem.
If you think about it, you’ll realize that life is full of examples of situations in which you have been effective because you gathered pertinent information about an individual and their situation so that you could generate an appropriate or customized solution. Remember, you could not effectively solve the problem without trust and knowledge. The same is true for the sales arena.
What is sales RADAR?
We solve the #1 mistake of not listening to our prospect, and therefore not learning about their needs, with RADAR. RADAR© is a method for developing a relationship with a prospect and for finding out what your client is looking for. It stands for four sets of questions.
R is for rapport building questions.
AD is for questions that ask about difficulties.
The second A is asking questions for affirming understanding of those difficulties.
R is asking questions that will tell you the results a person is looking for from your product.
RADAR© is a simple way to take daily conversation and problem-solving techniques, and with a structured step-by-step system, make clients feel comfortable and special. To mentally prepare yourself for using RADAR© most effectively in a sales call, don’t think of yourself as being there to sell a product.
Your main purpose is to solve your clients’ needs, something which can’t be done with a generic pitch. When you go on a sales call you already know your product, but you don’t know your clients’ needs. The key to selling is remembering to spend your time on a sales call finding out about these needs.
RADAR© Will Give You The Skills To:
* Establish rapport that creates a bond between you and your prospect. Rapport establishes trust and enables you to find out what your prospect is looking for.
* Ascertain your prospect’s needs and concerns. This is the precursor to telling the potential client that you can fill those needs.
* Ask the right questions to establish yourself as someone who understands your prospect’s needs. This is a crucial element of convincing a prospect that you are someone they can trust and work with.
* Go beyond a prospect’s initial statement of objectives and uncover what results they are looking for from your product. By tapping into this motivation you will be able to position yourself as the person to fill those needs and gain a powerful advantage over your competition.
The following examples show RADAR© at work. Each of the people in the examples uses RADAR© in the interest step to set the stage for a successful sales call. Pay special attention in each example to the fact that reps are not selling, they are building relationships.
Notice how they warm up to the prospect, uncover their needs and develop an understanding of the prospects priorities. They are never pushy but always friendly and interested in what the prospect has to say.
RADAR© Illustration #1:
Phyllis is a widow selling glassware to buyers for department stores in major malls. She is a successful sales representative and is getting her chance to try to crack what would be a lucrative account with a buyer that no one in the company has been able to crack.
Phyllis used RADAR: During the first step of RADAR, Phyllis establishes rapport with the buyer by asking questions that allow her to learn about her prospect:
How long have you been with this particular department store?;
What brought you to New York?;
How do you like the city?;
How did you get into retailing?
It’s at this point that the buyer reveals that she got into retailing because she was widowed. Phyllis is also widowed and as they discuss that common ground, rapport is instantly established. Rapport building establishes trust and creates a bond between prospect and sales representative. It breaks down the barriers that are present in any sales situation.
Once Phyllis feels she has established rapport with the buyer, she begins asking the difficulty questions:
• What’s been your biggest difficulty being a widow in business?;
• What problems have been coming up for you in your job?;
• With all that’s going on in your life, what could I do as a sales representative to makes things easier on you?;
• What problems have you had with vendors?
What the buyer told Phyllis was that having someone to tie up details like calling her when the delivery comes in and taking care of paperwork would make her job easier. She said she would be thrilled if Phyllis would prepare all the paperwork on each order for signature so she wouldn’t have to bother with it. She said she would also feel better if Phyllis would handle credits on any broken merchandise so she wouldn’t have to bother with it.
Purpose: The reason you ask difficulty questions is that they teach you what is valuable to your prospect besides price. Keep in mind that offering good service is not enough. You must state your offer in a way that fills the need that your prospect has expressed. When you can position yourself as someone who is serving the specific need expressed by the prospect, you become much more essential to the prospect. In the case of Phyllis, the issue of service is not nearly as important as the fact that she could handle the details of delivery updates and eliminate tedious paperwork. By presenting the benefit of great service in the exact way the buyer defines service, Phyllis dramatically increases her chances of getting the sale.
For affirmation Phyllis says: “So if I understand you correctly, what you need from me as a rep is to totally cover all aspects of sales, including order taking, overseeing delivery and preparing all paper-work for signature.”
Purpose: Phyllis makes the buyer feel comfortable working with her because Phyllis demonstrates that she is someone who understands her and offers the services that are important to her.
Once she has affirmed to the buyer that she understands what she needs, Phyllis wants to get to the next level and understand what motivates the buyer to want these details handled. The question here is: What would be the major benefit to you if I did all these things for you?
The buyer tells Phyllis if she could handle paperwork and the buyer could deal only with Phyllis, she would no longer have the aggravation of wasting time onpaperwork. She said she wants to stop having to worry that all the details won’t be taken care of. This would ultimately lead to stress reduction and job security.
Purpose: What Phyllis finds out is that the buyer wants her life to be more simplified, her stress reduced, and her job security enhanced. By knowing this, she knows what motivates the buyer.
This example illustrates how Phyllis is selling much more than glassware, and that glassware is only part of what the buyer is looking for. It also shows how Phyllis can use her innate traits to ascertain this information.
Rapport questions established the trust; asking difficulty questions uncovered the prospect’s concerns; the affirmation question established confidence and trust in Phyllis and showed that she listened and understood what the prospect really needed; the results question allowed Phyllis to learn that the buyer’s real motive in working with her is stress reduction and being freed from paperwork.
The reason RADAR© is essential is that in a sales situation there will be many other reps competing with you on price and style. You have to get the sale by establishing a relationship and showing the prospect you are the representative who really understands their needs.
RADAR© Illustration #2
Terry sells mailing lists and he is selling to a man who buys lists for his catalog company. Terry needs to be able to set himself apart from the other representatives who have banks of names to sell. What he needs is to make himself become the product, because almost the exact same lists he sells can be purchased from any number of people.
When Terry goes into the buyer’s office he notices the prospect’s watch. He admires the watch and asks what the ‘300’ on the face stands for? What he finds out is that the man bowled three perfect games. This accomplishment is something he is very proud of and is very comfortable sharing with Terry. In fact, he talks for ten or fifteen minutes about it, after which he feels very at ease with Terry. A bond has been established.
Terry used rapport building effectively because he noticed specifics that the average person wouldn’t have picked up on. He utilizes his listening skills to show genuine interest in what the prospect was saying. His sincere interest in the prospect makes him much more likable than competing salespeople.
Purpose: The rapport building made the prospect comfortable and made him feel that Terry is someone he likes and can relate to. Even more important, he has evidence that Terry listens and has a real interest in what is important to the prospect.
For difficulty questions Terry asks:
What is the biggest difficulty in selling your product to lawyers?;
What is the hardest part of getting your product in front of lawyers?;
How does your competition try to reach this market?;
What makes you better than the competition?;
Why don’t you think the lawyers know that?
Because of rapport building, this prospect is already in the habit of opening up to Terry, and he’s happy to listen and learn.
Purpose: In the process of answering these questions the prospect is telling Terry which business issues are his main concern. The questions allow the prospect to see his own problem, which allows him to be smart in coming up with the solution. He also sees the importance of Terry’s service and the need for him to be there.
To make sure he’s in synch with what the prospect is saying, Terry uses affirmation questions. They include: If I understand you correctly, you need lawyers to see the benefits of your product even though you don’t have the powerful marketing budget of your competitors, is that right?
Purpose: The affirmation proves to the prospect that he and Terry are in synch.
Next, Terry asks the prospect what results he envisions for his company if each lawyer in the area saw a comparison of his product versus the competition. The prospect answers that he’s sure his market share would increase
dramatically and that’s exactly what he needs.
Purpose: Terry finds out that he’s motivated by increased market share, not just the best price on a mailing list. Terry can then focus on the results generated from his product’s quality and reputation, rather than focusing on the price issue.
RADAR© Illustration #3
Monica is a representative who sells financial products and in her first year made the $1,000,000 round-table and has remained a member ever since. She uses RADAR© very successfully and on a recent sales call Monica met with Gary, a successful advertising executive who is in his late twenties, single and really on the move with his career. Normally someone like Gary would be a hard sale for life insurance.
The first thing Monica did was ask questions such as: “What a great photo of you on skis; do you ski often? Where do you usually ski and what is your favorite place for skiing?”
Through these questions, Monica learned that Gary loves the active lifestyle, that he loves to get a ski house every winter and that he wants escape weekends to be part of his lifestyle forever, not just his youth. Since she also appreciates skiing, she quickly established the bond of being a young, active professional who appreciates both working hard and playing hard.
She moved into asking about difficulty questions with the statement, “Saving is hard with our active lifestyle.” Gary agreed, and then she asked him what type of structured savings plan he currently followed? What’s been your biggest problem saving consistently? What is your biggest concern with investments? Can you tell me about any difficulties you have encountered with past investment experiences?
From these questions she learned he often spends money needlessly and could easily put more aside, and that although his ability to follow a plan has yielded a great reward in business, he admitted he has been negligent in applying the same amount of discipline in his financial future.
Monica then asked: “If I understand you correctly, you appreciate the importance of a plan?” Gary admitted this was true and even gave some weak excuses why he wasn’t following a plan, even though he knew it was important.
Now, rather than jumping on this opportunity to sell Gary a financial plan or life insurance, she held off, knowing from Gary’s answer and her experience that this type of prospect does not see the urgency of an insurance plan while single and feeling they will always be healthy and making more money.
So she asked: “If you could be handed $250,000 in 20 years, where would you build a ski house? If I could guarantee the result of saving money when you’re married, plus have a dream ski house in 20 years, all without changing your spending patterns, how would this be for you?”
As Gary described the ski house and fun with his future family, he was convincing himself of why this might be the right time to invest in life insurance.
Monica now has all the info and knowledge about Gary’s motivations to create a sale. The foundation is set for the sale. It is now up to her to present facts and benefits about her products and services to show Gary how his dreams will be moving in the right direction by working with Monica. After learning about her prospect’s needs, Monica can present her product in a way that gets Gary to see himself benefiting by doing business with Monica now.
Why RADAR© Works
It’s the sincere genuine interest that makes rapport building effective. That is where the top producers set themselves apart. Remember, all things being equal, people do business with friends and people they like. Even when products and services are not equal, business is still more often done with people who are pleasant to deal with.
Personalizing RADAR© to your own presentation:
Following is a list of sample questions to give you the tools to start using RADAR© immediately. Obviously these questions should be shaped to fit your personal style and the situation you are selling in, but use them as a structure within which to work. Notice how these sample questions uncover the type of information that a sales rep needs.
Sample Rapport Building Questions:
Rapport is the foundation for RADAR© and the precursor to the rest of the selling steps. Rapport building questions get people talking to you. When they talk to you about little things they are comfortable in sharing, they’ll begin to feel safe and secure with you, which will help them share bigger things, such as what they need from your product, and what their ultimate goal is.
Rapport building questions establish trust and friendship. This friendship breaks down the defensive wall that naturally exists between prospect and salesperson when they first meet. Here are some sample rapport building questions:
• How long have you been in business?
• What made you choose this area for your business?
• How did you get in to this line of work?
• What made you decide to go into your own business?
• I see you’re active with your local scout troop. What is your involvement?
• That piece of artwork is exquisite, for how long have you been painting/collecting?
• I like the background music at your restaurant. How do you find such good CDs?
• Based on your accent, you’re not from the US. What brought you to America?
Sample Difficulty Questions:
Your job as a salesperson is to solve your prospect’s problems and satisfy their needs. To do this you must know what your prospect’s problems and needs are and make them realize the urgency of their concerns. Although each of your clients may have similar needs, you will not know the specifics of each client’s situation and their perception of their most pressing need unless you ask about their difficulties and problems.
It’s crucial to ask a prospect to describe difficulties to you, in their own words. You may assume you understand his problems, but you may be assuming incorrectly. Only by allowing the prospect to express difficulties himself can you find out exactly what he needs fixed.
• What are your biggest difficulties with delivery?
• When it comes to vendors, what are your biggest difficulties?
•; What are your greatest concerns about the competition?
• Why do you feel ___________ is your greatest competition?
• What is the most important benefit you offer your customers?
• What makes you different from the competition?
• What is the greatest challenge in getting customers to appreciate all you offer?
• What is the biggest problem you had with a supplier?
• Tell me about the biggest difficulty you are currently facing?
Sample Affirmation Questions:
The purpose of affirmation questions are twofold: They allow you to check if
you are understanding what a prospect has said to you; and they allow you to notify the person you are talking to that they are being understood. Affirmation questions are essential because the potential for misunderstanding someone in communication is so great. Only by accurately ascertaining what your client needs can you effectively sell to them.
Also, remember that every business person is yessed nearly to death by
employees, contractors and salespeople who do things incorrectly after they claimed to understand instructions. If you let a prospect know that they are talking to someone who understands them, they will want to work with you.
Not only will affirmation questions allow you to do your job right the first time, they will strengthen the bond between you and your prospect as they think to themselves, “This person understands me.” Also note that these questions get the prospect to say yes to their needs.
• If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is ___________________?
• So your main concerns is ___________________ isn’t it?
• The main problem you need to solve is ___________________, is that right?
• If I could solve ___________________, would that give you what you need?
• Isn’t what you want me to give you ___________________?
Sample Results Questions:
Results questions are the most difficult. People are reluctant to tell you their innermost reasons for what they want. Sometimes they don’t even know themselves. You really have to probe and listen carefully “.
Phyllis was able to listen closely and uncover that the glassware buyer wanted stress reduction in her life. Terry had to uncover that his prospect wanted to gain market share.
• What would it mean to you if (main need) was fulfilled?
• By my delivering what I promised, how do you see yourself benefiting?
• How will my coming through for you help you reach your goals?
• What is the end result you want?
• How do you see yourself personally benefiting by working together?
• How do you see yourself using the $100,000 minim uum return we guarantee on your investment?
• How do you envision your business growing by us working together?
• What will a X% growth in your department mean to you?
• Where does an X% return on investment fit into your overall goals strategy?
• What is the main satisfaction or objective I can fulfill for you?
Avoiding The 5 RADAR© Obstacles:
1. When people find that RADAR© doesn’t work, they are usually asking yes or no questions. RADAR© questions must be open-ended. If you must ask a yes or no question such as, “Is that your wife in that picture,” follow up with a question such as “Where did you meet her.”
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If a prospect hurries you, it’s usually not worth doing the sales presentation. If you’re being rushed, try this response. Say, “I need to know my clients so I can serve them effectively. If I can’t ask you a few questions, I won’t be able to serve you effectively.”
3. When you begin your dialogue of asking RADAR© questions tell prospects you’d like to ask them a few questions and save time by determining if your services are appropriate for them. By doing this you are offering the prospect two possible benefits, saving time and putting them at ease by possibly not having to buy from you.
4. People like to feel that they don’t have to buy from you, but what happens in the course of the sales call is that they answer your questions and tell you why they need you. The key is, they still feel as though they’re in control. The perfect phrase is: “To save you time and see if my ideas/product is even appropriate for you, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
5. The fifth and most deadly sales sin regarding RADAR© is not using it. Reps who are over-confident in their presentation and understanding of the prospect’s needs go right into talking about what they have to offer rather then getting the prospect clearly tuned into why both parties are meeting, which is to help one another.
RADAR© is not used to sell your product. Notice in all of the examples in this chapter the reps were not selling — they were finding out what their prospects were looking for. You MUST learn the needs of your prospect before you can position your product to solve them.
If you use RADAR© and do what Phyllis, Terry and Monica did you will be exceptionally effective. Most salespeople don’t delve deeply enough into their prospect’s specific needs to find out what it means to have those needs satisfied.
A salesperson makes a sale when he goes beyond a prospect’s statement of “I want more business” to find out that the prospect really wants a chance to expand their stores or fight off competition.
So relax, talk to your prospect, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Conversation is your greatest sales tool, and remember you have the natural skills for the greatest sales tool. You have the natural skills for RADAR©.
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