How many times have you seen a salesperson leave a sales appointment knowing little more about the customers situation relative to when they went in? Failure to really understand the situation drastically reduces win chances.
This is quite common for those sales people who are lacking confidence and therefore fall back on the good old “Pitch”. For many they fail to see how much more effective it is to sell to a need and that by understanding the customers situation in greater detail will help to improve the customer experience.
We have seen a number of pieces of research that support this view. For some extreme cases a one hour meeting will see the least effective will talk for almost 50 minutes to pitch their idea, concept or product. Surprisingly the client doesn’t kick them out!
In part the issue is knowing when to start and when to stop transmission. Whilst it is important early in the meeting to demonstrate credibility to the client (and this requires a “hook”) once this has captured client interest it is time to stop talking and start listening, asking questions and understanding their situation.
In practice this requires a shift in the mindset and approach for the typical salesperson. The language used in discussion varies significantly,
Of course, there are a number of reasons why the client does not want to open up to you. More on that here.