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Sales Calls: 4 Key Rules to Make Them More Effective

I was looking through some interview notes and came across this excellent advice from sales guru Brian Tracy:

Rule #1. Pace the conver...sation so that the customer is never overwhelmed. The average customer can listen to only three sentences before becoming overloaded. If you become an information fire hose, the customer will simply shut down and say "I'll think it over" at the end of the presentation. (And then you'll call back three days later and the customer won't even remember your name.) Instead, use questioning and requests for feedback to pace the conversation.

Rule #2. Listen intently to build trust and rapport. When the customer talks, listen. Really listen, don't just sit there thinking about what you're going to say next. The golden rule of selling is to sell to your customers the way you'd like to be sold to yourself. Listening carefully also allows you to better sense the customer's true attitude and mood. Connecting with the customer in this fundamental way is the key element of turning a sales presentation into a sale.

Rule #3. Discover if the buying decision will be made soon. One of the biggest mistake that salespeople make is focusing on customers who aren't really aren't going to buy. The best way to get this information is to ask a question like: "if I show you exactly what you're looking for at a reasonable price, what kind of time frame will it be for you to make a decision?"

Rule #4. Push inevitable objections off the table. If you're reasonably certain that a particular objection is likely to surface, preempt it by admitting it before the customer surfaces it. Example: "Some people say that our product costs a little too much, but..." Admitting the "cons" to your offering as well as the "pros" also enhances your credibility and positions you in the role of an advisor rather than a salesperson.