Selling by Using Permission
Greg is a likeable and knowledgeable professional. He works in sales, but also functions as a leader in the capacity of sales manager. When he meets with prospects and customers they can be assured that they will receive a thorough presentation. Often times, while Greg is making a presentation his audience seems to drift off and lose interest. He tried adding more sizzle to his handouts and PowerPoint slides, but still the same result. After a visit with his sales coach the light went off for Greg: He was talking too much, and for way too long without interruptions. What coaching taught him was a technique whereby he sells by using permission. The permission technique can hold a myriad of benefits during conversations or the selling experience. A handful of those benefits are shown below.
- Move a conversation forward, without losing your audience in the process. Some leaders and sales professionals talk and talk and talk and, at some point, their audience loses their will to live due to disinterest. Yet, it is easy to keep the listener engaged by simply pausing on occasion and asking them something to the effect of: “That is a lot of information I have thrown at you, shall I continue or shall we go in a different direction?” If the listener desires to go in a different direction, they are still part of the conversation and you have not bored them. If they request that you carry on, you have gained their permission to move forward, and learned they are engaged in the conversation.
- Keep your fingers on the pulse of the listeners needs. Sometimes professionals have great information to share and volumes of it, but at some point the listener’s needs are met. By breaking up a conversation with various “permissions,” we land closer to the point where the listener’s needs are met.
- Demonstrate empathy. The skillful use of a permission sell telegraphs to the listener that you are empathetic to their point of view. It also shows good respect for their time. In other words, you want to share maximum information in minimal time.
- Help the listener feel in control of the conversational flow, even though you are controlling the core conversation. The asking of permission involves the other person, yet you are not relinquishing control of the floor.
- Deliver buy-in to the topic at hand. Skillful use of selling by permission can let the leader or sales professional know if someone is onboard or not with regard to the topic of discussion.
Bottom Line: Whether you tend to ramble during conversations or simply want to tap in to the mindset of your audience, selling by using permission holds vast benefits. By mastering this easy conversational technique, leaders and sales professionals can confidently move conversations forward, maintain the pulse of the listeners needs, and save time in the process.
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