Despite the state of discourse in general these days, in a one on one settings, like a sales meeting for instance, most people are helpful by nature. As a sales professional, we need to walk the line of leveraging that to help us make a sale, while not taking advantage of it.
I know some days it is hard to convince you that people are helpful, especially when someone just hung up on you, or you’ve run out of ideas how to get a response from someone who said thy were ready and would have the order ready a month ago. But, when you can put those moments aside, there are things you can do to help both the prospect and you succeed.
As with many elements of sales that are more subjective in nature, how effective we are will be influenced by personalities, and how you approach things. People who naturally social, who draw attention the minute they walk in the room, find soliciting help much easier than another rep who may take a more cerebral style; the difference is in how they solicit help, not their ability to leverage people’s helpful nature.
A simple example is one used by many in prospecting into companies they have not dealt with before, ya, cold calling. One lady I worked with does this extremely well, she pours her maternal self into every call, and with the warmest and “lost voice” she will call her intended target, and start with the following:
Seller: Is this Mr. Chapman?
Seller: I am hoping you can help me.
She then goes on to introduce what she sells, not a product riff, but as a true graduate, she speaks to objectives and outcomes she and her company have delivered to other similar buyers. She ends her intro by asking:
“Who should I be talking to about that?”
When the person identifies themselves as the right party, she continues:
“Wow, that was fortunate, ….” She then continues to close on the appointment.
It is important to remember that this does not guarantee an opportunity, people will still evaluate the premise of the offering, timing, and more. But she does have more conversations, and is able to explore further than in scenarios where the call does not start with a call for help.
The main reason for this, is that by asking for help, we help the mind focus and understand that they are looking for an answer to the caller’s “dilemma”. When they get a plain cold call, it is perceived as an interruption, and the mind listens and weighs their perception of the call vs. being interrupted. As soon as it is labeled an interruption, the mind shifts to “we gotta get rid of this disruption, and get back to my work.” When we start by asking for help, the mind shifts to “I gotta listen and see if and how I can help.” Again, I am not suggesting that asking for help will lead to an instant prospect, but it will lead to a more attentive one, and by extension, and better shot.
Hope that helped!