There are some bad sales habits that might be costing you BIG MONEY.
I call this one: Leading the Witness
If you find yourself leading the witness in your sales conversations…then imagine you hearing me say…like a voice in the back of your head:
And your prospect who ultimately is the Judge saying…”Sustained”
Many sales trainers have espoused this mechanism and it's still alive and well today, killing deal after deal…
What is leading the witness, and do you wield this deal-killing sword?
Let's find out.
Do you ask questions that suggest an answer in the question itself?
Do you ask questions in such a way as to elicit a “yes” or “no” response?
Do you know the answer to the question you are asking?
That is leading the witness…Do you see that I just led you with those questions?
There is a place for leading questions but most people in sales roles don't use them when they should...AND use them when they shouldn't.
When it comes to consultative selling…if we disconnect the brain of our prospect from the process of transformation…then we can find that we have great conversations but very little conversion.
Do you have a written financial plan?
Do you have a written estate plan?
Do you have a this or that?
Your prospect the Judge: “Sustained”
This line of questioning doesn’t require much thought from the professional or from the prospect.
We see this behavior in salespeople who want to talk about their SHTUFF as soon as they can.
We also see this with the salesperson who is seeking approval from the prospect or believes that the sooner they can talk about their stuff, the more likely the prospect will sign on…
Insert leading the witness questions…because it’s a really easy way to gain approval from the prospect and feel like you understand the prospect and they understand you.
But…seeking approval from the prospect rarely leads to conversion.
Our goal is that we have both good conversations and transformational ones.
Our goal is not to sell them or convince them of anything.
If the prospect doesn’t understand all the reasons why they might need a bunch of different deliverables from you…asking if they have them doesn’t strengthen the need or desire for them.
Let’s look at an example of asking about deliverables while having a high degree of certainty in their response.
Salesperson: Do you have a written financial plan? Do you have a budget? Do you have a this or that?
Prospect: No, no, no, no
Salesperson: (acting surprised/concerned by the answer even though they knew the answer): Hmmmm…well, you really should have one because…
This is leading the witness…It’s a form of pushing the prospect toward the thing you want to sell them…
This is not powerful, it’s not empowering, and it doesn’t build trust. You will see why in a moment.
Instead, shift your conversation and questions so that your prospect becomes self-aware of the need for such a solution. This is important because if they become self-aware of the real gap, they will then ask you for the solution without much friction…
The best salespeople allow the prospect to convince themselves that they need help….and they need it from you and your products and services.
This is a simple idea: Conviction leads to Conversion.
When you lead the prospect to draw their own conclusions based on their own evidence and situation…
You will find that you have way more fun and your prospects move forward with a lot more conviction.
Here are some examples of how to transform our questions into powerful conversion conversations:
Salesperson: How much money do you need every month to fund your ideal retirement lifestyle?
Prospect: I’m not sure…I have $2m in investments and my house is worth $600K…I don’t really know…our expenses are X, and I’m going to get about this much money from SS…I’m not really sure.
Salesperson: Is $2M enough then?
Prospect: I’m not sure, I think it is but I really don’t know…
Salesperson: When will you have this figured out and why is that important to you?
Prospect: I don’t even know where to start because of XYZ reasons….that’s why I scheduled this call with you. I need to figure this out because if we don’t…I don’t really know how much I can draw from our retirement accounts without running out.
Salesperson: I understand, can you answer a few more questions for me?
Salesperson: Are you comfortable not having this figured out?
Your prospect the Judge: “Overruled, I'll allow it”
Prospect: No, not a all, I need some help in this area.
Salesperson: Got it, when do you think it would be important to start solving this problem?
This is a simple example but the emotional conviction is much higher without leading the witness because the prospect is forced to face the reality of their situation.
Without their conviction, the prospect is free to simply go through the motions without the need to change anything…at least for right now.
The path to conviction is longer, it requires focus on the part of the salesperson…but it helps the prospect realize the need for a solution that is different than whatever they have been doing.
Getting your prospects to a place of conviction will often (not always) lead them to conversion.
It’s how people are wired.
The most popular book in history is the Bible.
This is not a theological discussion but a framework to help illustrate the point of how conviction leads to conversion.
The Bible is pretty simple…It’s a letter from “God” to “People”
Here is how the letter goes…Dear People, the world is broken and because of your sin you are condemned forever… I gave you the 10 Commandments so you can see the problem.
Some people have Conviction here...not all. This then leads to a conversion conversation...
Jesus died on the cross so you don’t have to live condemned forever…Jesus paid the price for your sins…Trust in him to be forgiven and restore a right relationship with God through grace.
The message in the second most popular book is the Quran, which is similar but different…
You are broken: Conviction
You need to work out your redemption through a process: Conversion
Same idea, different mechanism…
Do you see how it works?
Let me know your thoughts below…and start to test this in your own sales conversations.
In the next post…I will share the Mike Tyson Way: Never pull your punches in sales…
Till then…Put this into practice and watch your sales conversations become more powerful by empowering your prospects to move to a place of conviction that they need help….
If you can do that…
The help they seek...
Will likely be with you.
Want to join our insiders where we review your sales process and prospect conversations 1-1 to help you fix your bad habits in sales so you can get more clients and customers faster? Leading a team and wanting help to create a scalable client acquisition system...Just message me below or in the chat...Would be happy to help get you dialed in and turn more conversations into clients.
Coming up next in the the sales mastery series:
The Mike Tyson Way: Never pull your punches in sales...
Even Doctors need a Physician - (Don’t tell your prospects how good they are doing…that’s not what they are there for)
Are you Pitching or Advising
Heaven or Hell…Where are you sending your prospects?