You have a proposal meeting with a prospective client. You’ve done your homework, and you’re confident your product/service can be THE solution for the prospect. How do you navigate the interaction to lead down a path that ends in a SALE? Many entrepreneurs are unsure where to start, or would just like to try a fresh technique. Use the LAGO approach, a simple technique that can easily supplement your sales strategy:
1. LISTEN. Don’t start out with a pitch or sale. Invite your prospect to talk about themselves and their business, without interruption or intrusion (unless the person/group specifically engages you to speak). Maintain as much eye contact as possible (you may be taking notes, but don’t get engulfed). Make it clear that you’re paying attention, and that you care about what’s being said. Listen to expressed and inferred desires, struggles, ideas, frustrations, and accomplishments.
2. ASK. Once your prospect has finished speaking, ask a combination of thoughtful and purposeful open- and closed-ended questions. Comment on specific points of interest from when they were speaking. The goal is not to interrogate, but to ask good questions that encourage good dialogue and rapport.
3. GATHER. Hopefully you were listening during Step 1! Gather the prospect’s expressed (and implied) pain points to match with solutions. This allows you to create immediate value without resorting to “smoke and mirrors”. Speak to the heart of the prospect’s concerns and issues, and keep your proposed solutions simple and straight-forward. Remember, your end-goal should not only be to solve a problem, but also make your client shine and feel great about themselves and their business.
4. OBSERVE. You’ve given your pitch – great! Observe your prospect’s reactions to your pitch and recommendations, including body language and demeanor. Are they asking questions? That’s a good sign! Do they seem hesitant or unclear? Keep in mind that there’s a whole story behind your prospect’s decision to do business with you, and hindrances which you are completely unaware of. It may take practice, but apply enough pressure to get to the core of the expressed (and unexpressed) hindrance, but not too much pressure. You don’t want to come off as overbearing, intimidating, or overly-aggressive. There’s a delicate balance.
Once you’ve successfully applied the LAGO approach, there’s one more important step: DON’T FORGET TO ASK FOR THE SALE. Seems obvious, right? It happens. Don’t get so wrapped up in the build-up to the sale that you actually overlook the SALE.
Which sales techniques have you used in the past that worked for you? Share the wealth in the Comments!