Can I Help You?

Before we begin, let’s get one thing straight:

You’re not in the selling business; you’re in the people business.

You’re in the business of helping people get what they need and want.

Your job is to contact, connect, and communicate with people and help them with a product or service that aligns with their purposes.

But how often have you heard a sales clerk insincerely mouth the words, “Can I help you?” only because some sales trainer told her to do so.

I’m sure you’re often tempted to ask, “I don’t know, can you?”

It’s frustrating isn’t it?

People are touchy about help. Too often they’ve been sold on help that was not help. They feel betrayed resentful. And now they resist or even resent any help from anyone, even it really could help them.

So, if you begin talking about how you can help them and your words fall on deaf ears, save your breath.

They may be listening but they’re not hearing.

And what’s more, your idea of what they need help with, may not be what they think at all.

So, instead of wasting your time and theirs talking about what you can do for them, why not first find out if they want help at all?

Ask question about what they’ve done to handle the problem in the past. They ask how it worked out for them.

For example, they say, “We’ve they’ve tried every promotional angle and nothing works.”

Ask, “What didn’t work?” Let them tell you all the things they’ve tried.

Most often you’ll find that the program was never done; it was paid for and started, but left incomplete,  so obviously, the program didn’t work.

Another example:

They tell you, “We paid for the lead generation program and we didn’t get the sales we were promised.”

Ask, “What was actually done?” (non-threatening, not challengingly)

Did the leads get into the hands of the salespeople?

“And, were these people trained to follow-up on the lead, get an appointment and a presentation?”

Too many times, you’ll find that there was a weak link in the selling process, not the lead generation program.

The apparent cause (poor leads) was a red herring; the real source of the problem was lack of training with the sales force.

The prospect will not want help unless it addresses the specific issues they’re having trouble with. If you can provide that, they’ll be interested.

But that requires that you roll up your sleeves and get interested in what’s really going on with that prospect.

Then you’ll be helping the customer where he really needs help, not just selling them something that helps you!

To avoid making trouble for yourself and your prospects, first ask yourself these questions:

1.  Do they actually believe they NEED help? If not, find out why not?

2.  Do they WANT help? If no, find out why not? Then find the real problem that they need and want help with.

3.  Can I actually PROVIDE THE HELP they need and want?

4.  WHY is my product or service the best thing for them?

After you’ve satisfied yourself that you have the correct answers to these questions, you’ll discover it’s easier to maintain your interest in the customer when your focus is entirely on them – what they really need and want that you can deliver.

The rest is easy.

 

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