What's the best way to answer the question, "So, tell us a little bit about your company?"If you're like most salespeople, you view this as a sincere invitation to rattle off all those key points you've rehearsed, all those selling points and value propositions you've developed, tweaked and improved with each pitch.
But when customers ask that question, they are not, in fact, all that interested in hearing about you. It's not that they're lying to you, their intentions are good. The problem is they never went to buying school, and frankly they just don't know what else to ask you.
Unfortunately, they use the words "tell us about yourself"–and we hear it literally. They're not interested in your story–they want to hear about their story. This is often the fork in the road that can send you down the path of literally talking your way out of the sale.
How do you make your story their story?
First, if the client asks you to tell them about yourself, you shouldn't embarrass them by refusing to do so. But you can quickly turn the conversation back to them. And once they start talking about themselves you have an opening to weave your story lines into theirs.
You may recognize this as a form of samples selling. Product salespeople know it well–instead of talking about the product's features, give the customer a sample. If you're selling cars, offer a test drive, if you're selling ice cream, hand out little wooden spoons.
The way you do samples selling in complex, intangible services is to actively engage the client in a discussion about their situation. Now, in the context of their situation, you can demonstrate your capabilities in a meaningful and relevant way.
Think of selling this way as showing, not telling. Show the customer how you fit into their story–and how you can help them going forward.
You are a salesperson. That's a given. But one of the first thing everyone in sales should learn to do is how to get a sale WITHOUT SELLING. If you can get a client to see that you really are honed in on addressing their pain points and problems and that you have ways of fixing them, then the rest of your sales process will make sure that you keep "nurturing them" all the way to a signed deal. In no way am I implying that you are being fake. Rather, this is a gentle reminder that the focus must always be on the client's needs. Having perfected people skills, along with emotional intelligence will get you far in any negotiation that you may have in front of you.
Every word that you say MATTERS. I've seen million dollar deals go south in a matter of minutes because someone opened their mouth and said something disrespectful. Don't ever let this happen during your negotiations.