Tips on How to be Helpful, Listen and Ask the Right Questions

Nov 23, 2021 11:30:00 AM

Here’s some practical advice on talking less, getting your prospect to speak more, and uncovering their challenges—creating opportunities for you to provide value. Showing your sincerity and willingness to help will get your customer relationship off to a good start.

how to be helpful

In my last blog, I referenced the TV show Ted Lasso. Ted, the main character, is a caring and compassionate person and coach; he brings his boss homemade biscuits every morning and continually asks his players, associates, and friends how to be of service to them. Ted is a great listener, and he comes across as genuinely interested in their lives. It's no surprise the show has been a huge success. As it turns out, people respond well to Ted and his good nature; the TV show is a breath of fresh air in today's self-absorbed climate.       

Tip #1 Step into your prospect's shoes

Come up with a list of your target prospects and do your best to imagine the challenges they face. If you have defined target personas, apply them and think about their needs and potential problems.

Next, outline your targets in Excel or Google sheets and outline their daily challenges. What keeps them up at night? What gives them anxiety? Make a list. If you can’t come up with anything, find a potential buyer/prospect and ask them.

Tip #2 Ask meaningful questions

It helps to get your prospect talking more than you are presenting. There is much less pressure on a sales call when you ask about their problems than when you think you have to give the perfect presentation. Prospects have heard it all; your pitch will not move the needle, your empathy will.    

Use your prospect challenge insights to frame questions:     

Hi Frank, this is Joe with Dunder Mifflin; typically, when I talk to someone in your position, I find that they have some issues with getting deliveries on time, paper quality, and getting some guy named Dwight to stop calling them. Do you experience any of these problems? 

Tip #3 Trim your product/service pitch

Stop doing product demonstrations that show every feature; give simplified product demonstrations that speak to your prospect's challenges and pain. You are going to blow out your talk time ratio if you ramble on about features. Experts like Dan Martel state you should show roughly three components of a product when doing a demo; let that sink in.

Tip #4 Spend time with the ones that need help

It's not you; it's them. Some people do not want your help, are busy and are not ready to talk to anyone. Ok, great, move on. Do not get stuck trying to help people who are not willing to disclose challenges with you. If you cannot breakthrough with empathy, chances are you are not going to break through to them at all. In Ted Lasso, most people recoiled when they first interacted with Ted, some found it refreshing, but some just were not ready for it.

Tip #5 Plant the seed and nurture it

For those that are not ready to purchase, provide something of value. You don’t have to bring someone cookies every day to make your point; you can send them an article you found helpful about a topic that is central to their role. This strategy works pretty well, with a simple email like this:

Hey Jamie,

I read this article in Time Magazine about how IT roles are changing to include more disciplines around AI, and I thought you might get something out of it. I hope everything is going great over there, and I hope we can catch up soon. Maybe we can chat about how we might help you with some of these challenges.               

Tip #6 Align yourself with your customers goals

Think about this process like you both are on the same side of a conference room table, not across from one another. Get aligned in helping your prospect solve a problem; you are on the same team, not in a battle where there is a winner and loser. If you have approached this with empathy, questions about their problems, and are not pushy, you have a better chance of getting into alignment.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes, ask meaningful questions, keep your pitch tight, focus on the ones you can help, nurture your relationship and align yourself with your prospects goals. This will create a mutually beneficial and empathetic customer relationship while increasing close rates and retention.

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