b2b Sales TipWith only 45.9% of B2B sales reps making quota last year (Source: CSO Insights), most sales people are doing many things wrong.

One of the things I’ve found they do incorrectly, over my 30+ years of training and coaching sales people, is how a sales person handles the first few moments in a new sales call.

Many times a prospect will start the conversation by asking a question;
• What are you trying to sell me today?
• What can your products/services do for me?
• Tell me about your products,
• Etc.

Then, most sales people think this is the opportunity they have been waiting for. And they jump into a verbal barrage of their products and/or services.

They may even sprinkle the odd benefit in there as they ramble on. But that goes unnoticed, because the prospect has stopped listening by then.

These types of questions, that the prospect asks, are really a great opportunity to set the stage for the right thing to say for the sales person.

What is that right thing to say next?

I have always found that asking a question, similar to the following question, gets the prospect talking about his/her goals and issues.

“That is a great question, and I’d be happy to explain what our products (services) might do for your company. However, before I do, let’s see if there really is a fit with what our company does, and what you need. Can you give me an idea of what you want to achieve this year in your business, and what hurdles you see that may prevent you from achieving your goals.”

By asking what his/her goals are, you get an idea of what they really want to achieve, in the short and long term.

And by asking what issues they face, after you know their goals, you can see if your products/services can help them reach their goals.

Always keep in mind that the issues that people want to overcome are related to the goals they want to achieve. Otherwise they wouldn’t have any issues, if they didn’t have any goals.

So if you talk to them about their goals, you will build a better relationship, then simply asking what their issues are.

And certainly by understanding their goals and issues, you can then find out if your products/services are a fit for their company, which should be your main goal for the first visit.

Please leave any comments below about how you approach your first communication with a prospect.