If you’re doing it right, you go into every sales call with a clear idea of your goal, your prospect’s needs, and the strategies you’re going to use to connect the dots. But a strategic and well-planned approach isn’t the same as a single-minded approach. Keeping multiple options open when working through a sales conversation can often lead to unexpected rewards—as long as you keep those options top of mind.
That’s another benefit of careful and intentional listening. The needs of your prospect may be perfectly aligned to the product you’re selling them—but that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the endpoint.
Listening closely to the complete story—and being careful to listen between the lines—may open up an opportunity for you to trot out one of my favorite phrases: “Oh, by the way…”.
You see, your discussion may have been focused entirely on defining and fulfilling “Need A.” But as soon as you see a glimmer of “Need B,” you need to be ready with an answer to that one as well… with one of the many other solutions you have neatly filed in your mental briefcase.
Know your stuff.
This, of course, starts with product knowledge. Cross-training and upselling are two topics I frequently address when conducting appraisals of a company’s sales process. Not because everyone needs to be an expert in everything….but because a working knowledge of your entire product line can position you to capitalize upon just these opportunities.
You don’t have to be an expert, nor do you need to have all the answers when pursuing an “oh, by the way”… you can round up that info later, or better yet, refer your prospect to the appropriate colleague.
But you need to know enough about these other products to provide a quick description of them without getting tongue tied or lapsing into a desperate but hopeful silence.
“Oh, by the way” may be a deviation from your playlist, but while it’s not something you can script, it needs to be kept handy. Your top-of-mind during a prospect visit should go beyond where you’re headed for lunch after the call.
If you go in visualizing a complete array of opportunities that might fill their unanticipated needs, that “oh by the way” may turn into another “thank you for your business!”
And that is a big step toward helping you achieve your goals!