One of the toughest things to do when you see an obvious solution to someone’s problem is to avoid blurting it out. Most of us have a friend or relative who have no problem telling us exactly what we need to do for a certain situation.
And even though the advice may be on target, you still may feel a pinch of resentment and self-blame (i.e., “Great idea… now why didn’t I think of that? Why? Because I’m a stupid brickhead, that’s why!”).
No one likes to be told to do something. Especially if it’s a great idea that someone realizes they should have thought of first. It’s what bosses do but great bosses find better ways to motivate their employees than dictating their every move.
And sales people realize it’s more powerful (and profitable) if they can get their prospect to come up with the solution that they’re selling. They have a few sales tricks they use when trying to get a prospect to cooperate with them.
Learn what matters
Everyone has a “why” inside of them. It’s why they make the decisions they do, why they choose what they do, and why they act the way they do.
In order to get people to cooperate with you, it’s a good idea to discover what that person’s “why” is and then shape your solution around it.
Instead of telling a person that you have the idea that will improve their life, let them tell you what really matters to them. Let them come up with the idea themselves.
A Smart Sales Rep
Gene had been trying to sell his design studio’s work to a prospect. Over the span of years, he submitted 150 ideas for designs and every one of them had been rejected.
Finally, Gene had an epiphany.
What if he submitted designs that weren’t finished and asked his prospect for more direction?
He did this by asking the prospect for help. He said, “Could you do me a small favor? Here are some unfinished sketches. Could you take a look and let us know how we could finish them so you could use them?”
The prospect said he would give it some consideration and to check back with him in a week’s time. Gene received the sketches back with some suggestions. His design studio followed those suggestions and submitted the completed designs according to the prospect’s ideas.
Gene got the business.
Turn on someone else’s idea machine
Gene realized that for years he had been trying to sell the prospect on his solutions. He never tried to find out what ideas his prospect had.
Most prospects have a pretty good idea of what they want.
In fact, I’ll share a copywriting secret: many copywriters will listen very carefully to what the client says and take detailed notes. Usually in the midst of such conversations is the golden nugget that will reap effective copy.
Listening is harder to do at times when we’re full of answers. But most people don’t want someone to just give them an answer. They’d much rather think of the answer, themselves.
Allow your prospect to help you by sharing with you their ideas. Once they do, there’s a good chance they’ll realize that what you have to offer is exactly what they need. Asking for someone’s opinion, ideas on how to accomplish something, or giving a prospect a list of happy clients may just be what gets the job done.
It’s a better approach than telling someone what they need. Allowing a person to discover it on his or her own will often yield a more successful outcome.