by Nikita Tomlinson

There are countless ‘Top Tips for Sales Success’ out there. The information overload is immense, and while there is absolutely some quality – there are also tips and tricks that are outdated. The world we do business in is constantly changing.

It’s affirmed to me more and more as I speak with clients that relationship really is the key to mutually beneficial success. With our lives becoming more automated and tech reliant, we increasingly want to deal with people we trust and faces we know when it comes to the things that matter.

Keeping this in mind, what should your early interactions with a prospective client look like?

These three simple things have been powerful tools for me. If you can master these, they will help you on your way:

  1. Questioning
  2. Active listening
  3. Be quiet!

If relationship and trust are key then we need to stop! Slow down. Ask great questions. Ask surprising questions. Surprising questions make you stand out – especially from the four sales people that came before you. Be different.

You’ll get more information – and different information. Depending on how deep you are prepared to go, this builds that all important rapport and relationship. 

Try things like:

  • “What’s keeping you awake at night at the moment?”
  • “How did that experience make you feel?”
  • “If you had a magic wand, and could change X – what would it look like?”

It’s one thing to ask a question. It’s another to actively listen. This isn’t waiting and preparing for what to say next. This isn’t about listening for the point in the answer where you can do your ‘sell’. This is about really listening. Turn off your phone. Get rid of distractions. Stop. Look. Pay attention. Engage. Listen. Active listening can create empathy. And empathy creates - you guessed it - rapport and relationship. 

And quiet. 

This is honestly one of the best things I have ever learnt! In the silence, there is gold. Silence can be awkward and unpleasant. Resist the urge to fill the gap.  Ask a surprising question and then simply wait! 
It’s these moments where you’ll really hear what their challenges are and what is most important to them in a supplier relationship. Objections and opinions will all of a sudden reveal themselves as your prospective client tries to fill that awkward silence. 

Try it. 

You never know what you might learn.