How to sell: You, Me & the Next Step

next steps

By Frances Pratt.

When people ask me how to sell in various scenarios, I often come back to this is a simple sales structure.  It’s a sales technique that I use for sales meetings, phone calls and everyday life. 

At the end of the day … sales is about knowing your customer, knowing what you offer and seeing the pathway that can delivers value to all parties involved.  Selling is also about being able to influence the other person (that doesn’t mean manipulate) … but to positively influence them so that they will consider listening and engaging with you.

Part One:  You! (which is really them)

Always start with where the other person is at.

When you haven’t met them … this can be a bit tricky… but the best thing to do is be prepared. 

  • What do you know about them?
  • Who do you know that knows them?
  • What can you find out about them on the internet?

Make some educated guesses from this information and what it tells you about the person you want to approach.

When you go and make the first approach, use this information up front.  Tell them that you are serious about connecting with them by showing them that you have taken this call seriously and done your homework on things that you think they are interested in.

Warning:  Be careful not to be too presumptuous.  Use words like … I see from your website ……. and so I am thinking that you might be interested in ….. >  Then wait … let them tell you if you are right or wrong and use this to explore further.

The purpose of You is to get them talking about themselves and opening up to you so you can learn about them, what makes them tick and what they are wanting to achieve.  Think about yourself as a journalist … your job is to ask lots of questions and allow the conversation to go where this leads you.

In any conversation with someone new – this component should take up 80% of your time / email.

Part Two:  Me (which is really you)

Once I know a little more about them, and I think there is some value in taking this further … this is where I talk about me.

This component should only be 10% of your time or email.

Your ‘me’ component should (wherever possible) relate back to what you now know about the person you are talking to.  Obviously this is harder to do in an email, but the same principle applies.  Think about your key messages and which you think are going to resonate with this person.  This is a great time to use stories and testimonials so that you aren’t so much talking about yourself … but what others have said about you.

Part Three:  The Next Step

Ok … you now know more about the other person and they know more about you.

Here is the perfect time to put out there what you really are looking to achieve and what the logical next step might be.

One of the things that I know about sales (and in life) is that if you don’t ask – they can’t say yes!

Have an idea on what that next step is for you.  It might be a meeting, a proposal or something else.  If they say yes, make sure you also get a date and time for your next call or contact so you can know when to follow up with them.  Making this date and time now, while you’re talking to them is a great way to get over the reluctance of picking up the phone and talking to people.

Warning: Be prepared for them to say no.  No is ok – and doesn’t mean you have to stop.  Thank them for their time, ask them why - so that you can learn for your next call or email.

Some words that might help are:

“Thanks for your time, I have enjoyed talking to you.  Can I ask you one more question? I am approaching other people about this, would you mind telling me why this isn’t of interest to you so I can learn from this for my future approaches?

Bottom line is – you have to practise and learn from your experiences.

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