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So you have done your research on your big prospect, you have used LinkedIn and all other avenues to gain access to the account and, ultimately, the person you want to speak to. You have the appointment; perhaps you have even prepped your meeting.

You could just be about to fail.

While a fair few sales people fail because they can’t get appointments many more fail when they do have appointments.

You see when they go in they are full of hope, full of their research, full of their company information, full of their assumptions and perhaps full of xxx.

In my experience most salespeople fail because they don’t have a sales process and they don’t communicate well enough.

You see communication is the response you get.

The response you get will be influenced by several factors and this applies to both the salesperson and the prospect.

Those factors are the filters they use (distortion, deletion, generalisation) and their beliefs and values.

Our brain has so much information coming from our senses and our recollections and feelings that the brain has to shortcut the information to make sense of it all. Another way of looking at that is that it filters, looking for things that are important or useful or dangerous.

The distortion filter is one we use to convert any information to suit our pre-existing views. All politicians are liars, there are no good estate agents, IT never works etc are examples of that. As is cold calling never works.

The deletion filter is similar, we chose to delete information. When someone says they are happy with their existing supplier. What are they really saying? What is it we hear? Are they saying they are absolutely delighted with absolutely everything their current supplier does? – Unlikely. Does the sales person hear something like “no thanks we don’t want to buy from you?”

Generalisations are used to short cut or pigeon hole. “No one ever got sacked buying from IBM”. “Your company never gives great service”. “Big IT companies overcharge”.

So if the seller isn’t aware of his or her own filters and how they work against him or her and, is not aware of the prospect’s filters, then how can they communicate effectively?

The seller’s job should be to spot these filters and ask great questions to get behind any statements or to test any generalisations they hear.

Great salespeople are great communicators, but that is very different from the stereotype who could “Talk the hind leg of a donkey”.

Great communicators get great responses by asking great insightful questions. Ones that the prospect may never have even thought to ask themselves.

After all communication is the response you get. Great questions get great responses… ask them and you will win.

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