Yesterday we began laying the foundation for our discussion of what I refer to as the three buying languages.  Your mastery of them will increase your sales success.

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Today we will jump into the first buying language – Understanding.

The starting point of speaking the language of understanding is to focus on your prospect.  All great books geared toward developing your people skills have a common theme.  People are interested in what interests them – not necessarily what interests you.  That concept makes common sense to most everyone.  However, sometimes we need reminders on the subject.  If you’ve never read How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Adversaries Into Allies by Bob Burg, you should do so immediately.  The fundamentals of interpersonal communication are very well laid out in both books and should be added to your success library.

So how do you learn to speak their language of understanding?

First, do your homework.

You should always walk into your sales conversations being prepared.  You should seek out information about your prospect from as many sources as you can.  If you are in B2B sales, you can find a wealth of information online about most companies.  You may even be able to find out if the company uses your product or service already and who they’re doing business with at this time.  Thirty years ago, I was completely at ease beginning a conversation with the question, “Tell me about your business – what do you do and how long have you been doing it?”  However, I think today that same question leaves you behind when others are walking in their door already having an understanding of their business.  Do your homework so that your questions come from a position of being knowledgeable about their company and industry.

Second, ask great questions.

Part of how you are going to build your relationship with your customer is through a good understanding of their business and their industry.  But don’t misunderstand my point.  You must still ask great questions that lead your prospect into the discussion about their needs, wants and desires.  Your prep time helps give you a shared frame of reference, which is very important.  But great questions are the key to determining where your prospect prioritizes their issues – and to discover other issues that you have not considered.  Carefully created questions will get your prospect’s issues on the table and help guide your sales process in presenting the solutions that will benefit them the most.

But most importantly, asking great questions and listening to the answers builds the relationship between you and your prospect.  It is that relationship that turns a prospect into a customer.

Tomorrow we will discuss the next  buying language: Knowledge.

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