Maintain Sales Control
Have you ever had one of those customers that just seems to run you ragged with questions? What’s in it? Where does it come from? How long have you been selling this?
If this has happened to you before, you know what it’s like to lose control of the sale.
On today’s show discover:
- …how to determine who is really in control;
- …a proven technique for answering customer questions while maintaining rapport;
- …and how to regain & maintain sales control at any point in the process;
Why is sales control so important?
As a sales professional you know there’s a process and it needs to be followed. Each step has a purpose and builds on the step that came before. On the other hand, your customer doesn’t know the process and when they take control of your interaction they’ll run you here and there like a puppet master pulling your strings.
Who is in control?
So what does it mean to control the sale? Does it meaning bullying the customer, interrupting them or talking really loud? Nope, the person who is in control is the one asking the questions.
When your customer is asking the questions they’re in control. When you’re asking the questions you’re directing them through the sales process.
A few years ago sales trainer Judy McKee shared an easy technique with me for controlling any sales conversation. The technique is called Llama and having taught this method for years, I’ve seen it work beautifully to regain control of a conversation without sacrificing rapport. Let’s review this technique so you can discover how to make more sales using it.
Llama which is spelled L L A M A stands for:
- Ll = listen
- A= acknowledge
- M = make a statement and
- A= ask a question.
Yeah I know, there are two Lls in Llama (ya gotta love the English language don’t ya?) but actually in this case it really works out great! Two Ls, means two ears because listening is at least twice as important as speaking. So the first step in the Llama process is listen to what your customer is asking. Nothing kills rapport faster than not answering your customer’s question.
I’ve heard customers ask questions like
“what ingredients are in it?”
…and then heard salespeople respond
“it doesn’t have anything artificial, it’s all natural”
…..that really doesn’t seem to answer the question does it?
When you don’t answer the question it can frustrate your customer and ruin your rapport. It can also seem like you’re trying to hide something and that can erode the trust you’ve been working so hard to establish.
When you really listen and use the Llama technique you’ll be able to give your customer an answer, maintain rapport, trust and control.
The next step is to acknowledge what you’re customer asked you. Even something as simple as “that’s a great question” will do. It let’s your customer know you heard them, helps them feel good and smart. A variation might be “when I first heard about this I wanted to know that too” or “Other customers have asked me that as well.” Just don’t repeat the same thing over and over….sounds a bit robotic and insincere.
Make a Statement
The third step is to M, “Make a statement” this is also where you answer their question.
Ask a Question
The final step is A, ask a question. By asking a question you’re back in control of the process.
So let’s try that question about the ingredients again. Now, you probably don’t want to butcher the pronunciation of a long list of ingredients but you do want to answer the customer’s question. Let’s try using Llama and see how it might sound.
Customer: “What ingredients are in it?”
Salesperson Listens and then acknowledges with: “That’s a great question.” Then he makes a statement “Bob’s Stress Formula is an all natural formula with a lot of beneficial ingredients.” and finally asks a question to maintain control. “What ingredient or ingredients were you concerned about?”
Customer: “Well, I wanted to make sure it didn’t have vitamin K. I’m not supposed to take that with the medication I’m on.”
Again the salesperson listens and then acknowledges by saying “I see”
The salesperson then makes a statement “Well, you’ll be happy to know that Bob’s formula has no vitamin K in it at all.” and finally asks a question to maintain control “Now earlier, you were saying your job has you pretty stressed out. How is that stress impacting the rest of your life? ”
In the example you actually heard two Llama techniques back to back. In both cases you heard the salesperson acknowledge the customer, make a statement and end with a question to regain control of the sales process.
The LLama technique is an effective and proven way to maintain control but it does take some practice.
Are you ready for a Llama challenge? Great, find a colleague, friend or family member and teach them the Llama technique (or have them listen to this show). Now, see if you can have a conversation using the LLama technique, to listen, acknowledge, make a statement and ask a question. Who cracks first? How many times can you go back and forth before someone falls off the Llama?
It’s a fun and productive way to practice during slow periods and it’s the very best way to get good at the Llama technique. Now you now how to make more sales with a Llama. With enough practice you’ll start doing it naturally….and you’ll cut those puppet strings for good!
Today’s One Two Punch:
Use LLama to Maintain Control
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