Daily Sales Tip: Timing is Everything
When preparing your sales presentation, a guideline I subscribe to is to limit yourself from talking for more than 20 seconds at a time without asking a question. The question you ask should be one directed at the comments you just made. By doing so, you're checking with the customer to see if they understood what you just shared with them.
This is something many salespeople overlook. They get caught up in sharing with the customer their expertise and the features of their product or service and forget all about what the customer is thinking. Even if your product or service requires a complex presentation, you should still follow this rule.
Your goal on any sales call is to talk only 20% of the time. To help ensure that this takes place, you have to plan ahead. Before you start developing your sales presentation, create your list of questions. This is contrary to the pattern of most salespeople who often spend a substantial portion of their time developing their presentation and, at the last minute, develop their list of questions.
Consider that if you're expecting to have a 20-minute presentation, you should have 40 questions (2 questions per minute). Even though you may not use all 40, you'll definitely be more prepared. In addition, you'll be able to pick and choose which ones you want to ask. If you're following the rule of asking short questions, you'll ensure that the customer is doing most of the talking. You'll learn valuable information that will help you better understand the customer's needs.
If you want to move your questioning process to the next level, make half of the questions you ask be ones that help the customer see and feel the pain they have. By doing so, they will be much more open to receiving your solution.
Source: Sales and marketing consultant Mark Hunter