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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN

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How it will help you close sales.

You may have heard of the popular Sandler selling rule known as “reversing” and wondered what it was all about. No, it has nothing to do with backing your car up. Reversing simply means you answer every question from a prospective buyer with a question of your own.

For a lot of salespeople, this can be a difficult rule to follow, at least at first. Why?

Because salespeople are like everyone else. We are all taught from childhood to answer questions we hear from authority figures, and to answer them quickly. Think about it. When you were in school, didn’t you feel good if you could answer a teacher’s questions before another student in class?

That was then. This is now. Once you become a professional salesperson, you need to be a little more careful. That’s why Sandler suggests that when a prospect asks you a question, you should know what the intent is before you try to answer.

For instance: Someone who asks you if you can guarantee delivery within the next 30 days may be asking for several reasons. Is there a particular event on the calendar mandating that the delivery must happen within that timeframe? If so, what is it? Has a competitor promised a 30-day delivery standard as the normal turnaround time, and you must meet or exceed that to be considered as a vendor? Or is a key person about to leave the organization a month from now, meaning that the purchasing process will begin all over with someone new?

All of these are possibilities -- and there dozens more. You won’t know what intent lies the question unless you say something like, “That’s obviously an important issue. I’m curious -- why do you ask?”

When a prospect asks a question, set aside the urge to respond quickly. Instead, pose a question of your own to help get a better understanding on the motive driving the prospect's question. It’s rare for prospects to ask a question without some unspoken purpose. Usually, there's another, deeper question lurking beneath the surface of the one you’ve heard. If you aren’t certain about what that underlying question is, then you need to reverse the direction of the conversation, push back a little, and ask a question of your own.

If you don’t know the intent of the question, if you don’t clarify what the prospect’s motive is, you can end up making bad assumptions.

You will fill in a lot of blanks about what’s really going on in the relationship, and often, with bad information that pushes your closing ratios in the wrong direction.

Reversing gives you a better understanding of what’s going on in the prospect’s world. It gives you a clearer picture of what they are up against and what they are trying to achieve.

The more you know about what’s driving the other person, the better your conversations with prospective buyers will be … the more information you will uncover … and the higher your closing numbers will be.

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