Saturday, September 1, 2012

Question Based Selling, Part One

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel as though you’re not getting anywhere with a prospect because you don’t know what to say next to make the person want to buy from you? If you’re like most people talking comes very easily for you and when somebody asks your opinion, via directly or indirectly, you immediately go off into sales mode and then somewhere down the road you catch the prospect looking at his watch and telling you that he needs to “think it over.”
If so, then a book written by Thomas Freese entitled, “Secrets of Question Based Selling: How the Most Powerful Tool Can Double Your Sales Results” might very well provide you with the ammunition you need to separate yourself from the competition and give you the tools to get the job done. I’m going to offer you something fun…something exciting…something you’ve never heard before. Are you ready? Sales professionals talk too much!
Yes, it’s true; part of the reason why some people have disdain for people like sales professionals is because we won’t shut up. Rather than learning more about a prospect and his needs, fears, hopes and dreams, we regurgitate the same canned sales pitch that we used on the last 10 people that had the same effect. Rejection without accomplishment!
This books does a very good job at illustrating a basis paradigm, a foundation shall we say, about what is needed to win…that is, to get a sale and help the client feel proud and secure.
Have you ever wondered why people some seem to flock to the gas stations every summer when gas prices go up $.05 like flies to honey? How about the beanie baby rave or the crash?
Thomas uses his sales experience to illuminate a basic social psychology principle entailing what motivates people in a group. The sad fact is that most people would jump off a bridge if everybody else did! But you’re not like everybody else right?
Everything we do when were prospecting, selling, etc. can be stripped down to its core. Namely, we need tools that will enable us to increase the probability of succeeding. Thomas does a good job at illustrating ways to build credibility through asking questions, avoiding mismatching, using a social psychology theory (herding) to generate interest and using rewards and risk aversion to sell a product.
Surrounding prospects with the perception that “everyone else” is already moving in a certain direction is a very powerful QBS technique.
Let that sink in for a moment. He explicates that in order for a sale to be made; credibility must be built; questions must be asked and addressed; interest must be peaked; while building value in a presentation so a the proper solution can be offered that will help a prospect find a reward and avoid risk.
Thomas uses 259 pages to illustrate exactly what I said in the preceding paragraph. He even throws in a chapter about cold calling that is a must read for anybody serious about taking some stress out of cold calls. He says that the success rate for contacting prospects is between 2-5 person!
That means that out of every 100 hundred sales calls, the average performer can expect to generate only a small amount handful of opportunities. The other 95 to 98 percent of these calls end in rejection.
My personal experience is averaging right around 10%, meaning 10 out of 100 people I talk to end up as a lead. I’m not an average insurance agent though!
In conclusion, I give this book an 8 out of 10. The only reason why it’s not a 10 is because he needed more examples of his questions that didn’t rely on his computer background. I spent about a week reading this book, making notes and making some changes to my presentation and cold calling techniques. One change can be found here
I had a hard time correlating some of his computer questions to the insurance lingo. I stopped watching Star Trek about 15 years ago (movies excluded), so I’m not up to speed on quantum-flux capacitors and how they relate to health savings account. I had no idea what he was talking about upon the first reading, but with the help of another book (Christmas present) I’ve been able to almost double my reading speed and increase my memory retention.
In Part Two, I’ll show you ways on how you can apply the aforementioned sales techniques to sell more insurance using real world examples. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying out various techniques and I’m looking forward to sharing my results.

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