A copywriter’s job is to inform and explain the features and benefits of your client’s goods or services, to persuade a prospect to buy (or at least to move him/her along to the next step in the sales cycle).
So when we get an appointment with a prospect, it’s not surprising that our tendency is to start talking. About ourselves, our successes, our techniques. Wrong approach.
If you’re a copywriter, designer, consultant, sales or service professional, you’ll be a lot more effective — and close a lot more sales — if you spend more time listening and less time talking.
It’s human nature to start babbling about your talent or your hot new product when you finally get in front of a prospect (even if it’s at a party or some other inappropriate setting). It’s understandable, because you’re excited and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, that’s what gives so many sales types a bad name. Some seem to be completely tone-deaf about how they’re coming off — because they’re coming on too strongly.
A better strategy is to imagine yourself as a doctor or lawyer when you’re with a patient (er, client). These professionals have a quiet confidence in their ability. They don’t brag or toot their own horns. They don’t waste time (or squander credibility) claiming to be the best darned cardiologist (or trial attorney) this side of the Mississippi, or telling the client what a great deal they have for them, if only they act today.
Instead, they ask questions– quietly. They listen to the answers. They probe. Ask follow-up questions. They find out what hurts, and then evaluate options for easing the client’s pain.
Try doing the same with your next prospect. Don’t be quite so quick to whip out your samples or launch into your presentation. Instead, ask them about their goals, their needs. Discover their dreams, their fears. Evaluate whether or not you can help them accomplish them, and if you can, proceed.
Spend less time talking about yourself, your other clients or what a great deal you have for them. Instead, keep the focus on them. Their needs, their desires, their goals.
Be a professional. Ask, don’t tell.