Try this new sales tactic during Covid-19

20 Aug 2020

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Hey, I’m Alice, the Director of Communications and one of the Co-Founders here at Mint.

Our Covid-induced economic climate means that people are spending very conservatively, or halting any unnecessary spending, so you might be finding that you have to work harder for sales at the moment.

If you go looking for resources on how to improve your sales skills, you might find aggressive American approaches from gurus like Toby Robbins, and our Australian counterparts who are a lot slicker with sales than we are here in New Zealand. Us Kiwis are typically understated and humble, and an aggressive sales pitch just makes everyone uncomfortable and isn’t conducive to establishing a trust-based relationship that is the foundation of most business relationships here in New Zealand.

I’ve always thought of myself as being utter rubbish at sales but a couple of years ago I attended a seminar where they talked about a sales concept that made me realise that I do actually unconsciously have a bit of method to my approach. It works incredibly well here in New Zealand and it will also help to get those sales across the line when people are a little hesitant to spend due to Covid-19.

This method is called Ask Questions and Listen or AQAL for short. It’s based on the idea that the best way to make sales is by asking questioning and listening to understand what the customer wants. Pretty simple, right?

Henry Ford knew this when he said, "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as from you own."

Now I’ll add here that as Mint’s Director of Communications I’m not a huge advocate of particular ‘communication methodologies’. I think it’s often a fast track to a very inauthentic conversation but, this one I like. It’s hard to go wrong when you ask questions and listen.

 When we’re meeting with a customer and we can confidently sit back and ask the right questions, it makes your customer feel valued, it makes them feel heard, it makes them feel like they’re not just getting an ‘out of the box’ solution because they likely view their situation as a unique one. 

While listening is an important trait for any salesperson, if you don’t ask the right questions then you won’t be listening to the right answers.It’s important that we ask questions that OPEN UP DISCUSSION around the  challenges that the customer is facing.That’s the only way we can identify how we might work together to address these issues.So be sure to have a solid few core questions that you ask your customers.

One pet peeve that I have - and something that I spot very quickly with people - particularly in job interviews when we recruit, or when someone is pitching to me, is when someone isn’t actually listening to what the person speaking is really saying. Instead, they are listening for a gap in the conversation so that they can pounce in and say their piece.

It’s a surefire way to ensure a pretty low quality conversation and I think it can be revealing of someone’s character too. Now that you’ve heard me say this, you’ll likely start noticing it in people during meetings or political debates with friends.

If you drum up old press interviews of Ritchie McCaw on YouTube, you’ll see a beautiful example of great listening skills. After matches, the press would ask Ritchie pretty much the few same questions every time but he’d always listen carefully and take a second before delivering an answer. This guy is a storm - a perfect combination of what was no doubt some of New Zealand’s best media training AND he’s just a great guy.

I hope this tip helps - hold on to those leads that you have coming into the business, nurture them because like I said, right now it can be a little  harder to get sales across the line.

We know that this is a big challenge that a lot of businesses are facing right now so next month, we’re teaming up with the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce to run an event on this very topic and help you make the most of all your leads.

Our events that we run with the Chamber are always raved about and we love running them so keep an eye out for that. We hope to see you there.