Sales Equals Service: 3 Steps to Better Selling
"Sales" can be a scary word. No one wants to be "sold." If you're selling, you're not serving.
This article was originally published on CUInsight.
Sales can be a scary word. No one wants to be “sold.” If you're selling, you're not serving. It doesn’t suggest active listening or problem-solving. In the stereotypical sense, the term sales tends to suggest an outdated model of the interactions people want to have.The uneasy sense of being sold – and not served – is universal, whether it's our clients at LenderClose, or the borrowers at your financial institution. But if we strip away the tactics that give sales a bad rap, what is it, really? At its core, it should be about people helping people. That's an idea that resonates with almost everyone. People helping people is what leads our process at LenderClose, and I bet it's what your institution is going for, too. We follow three core steps to guide our conversations with current and prospective clients. We find this roadmap to be very helpful in uncovering the best ways to help our lenders. Once we discover how to help, the rest of the process happens naturally. We think this philosophy can work equally as well with your borrowers, too.
1. Create commonality.
Learning what you have in common with your clients and discovering where there is alignment is a great starting point for any conversation. It makes everyone feel more comfortable. Our goal isn’t to make a sale,” but to begin creating the experience of what it's like to work with us. That requires connecting on a human level. Developing a good rapport up front helps the later part of the conversations, where you discuss goals and challenges, to be more open and productive.
2. Be curious.
As the conversation moves toward more critical discovery, remain open and curious. Don’t assume you understand their situation – explore the “whys. Though there are common problems nearly all of our lenders experience, rarely are two situations identical. This is also true for your borrowers. It's important to deeply understand the circumstances and unique motivations, concerns, and aspirations that should be considered for a successful outcome.
3. Listen actively.
It's tempting for our minds to focus on our solutions to address the other persons problem. After all, we wouldn’t be in our professions if we didn’t have confidence and faith in our organizations and our products. But if your mind is occupied with what you want to say, and how you want to say it, it’s hard to really listen. If you miss an important point in what the other person is communicating, you will inevitably create a disconnect, no matter how good your intentions. Being a partner before a salesperson requires active and intentional listening. This can actually be one of the most important, and perhaps more difficult, skills to cultivate. But, it's definitely the most rewarding. A solution offered after intense listening builds trust and loyalty. This paves the way for a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship that is more fulfilling than any “one-off” sale could ever be. At the end of the day, sales equals service. Even if you're really confident you have the answer, don’t rush to get there. There is much to be learned on the journey. Taking the time to arrive at the right destination, guided by helping other people get what they want in the best way possible, is the real key to sales success.