Tell me something, do you know how to control a conversation? Do you know how to generate authority and guide your meetings? If you already know and want to improve even more, or if you don’t yet and need to learn to take control and stop being controlled, now is the time.
Come with me!
These days, shoppers are getting smarter and more decisive. With that, the old story of – ‘a good salesperson needs to be aggressive’, ‘a good salesperson needs to be arrogant’ – is left behind. What comes in is a consultative, controlled and planned sale.
Controlled? Yes! Determined buyers enter the qualification and closing meetings with a solution in mind of what they think is best for their service or product.
Here is the first mistake.
Who decides what is best or not for that lead is you! So, you need to know how to generate authority, take the reins of the conversation, control where you want to direct it and make your point.
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- How to generate authority in a business meeting?
- What questions should be asked during the call?
How to generate authority in a business meeting?
First of all, you need to understand why you are holding your business meeting.
- Why are you going to talk to this lead?
- What is your purpose with this meeting?
- How will you reach this goal?
When you ask yourself this, you can enter the call with more clarity and focus on where you want to go, as it already predetermines the types of questions you should ask to reach your goal, do you agree with me?
After that, make a good diagnosis of the scenario your lead finds itself in. Often the person you are going to talk to will not be as open and may hesitate, or even not want to answer the questions that will be asked.
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This is normal. Some people are not as comfortable sharing information about their company without first understanding why they should share it. In that case, take control of the conversation and explain the reason for the questions. I like to set the example of the patient and the doctor.
You are not feeling very well and you decide to go to the doctor. He welcomes you, asks almost no questions about your symptoms, and already prescribes you a medicine. Would you trust this doctor? How likely is he to prescribe the wrong prescription? High, agree with me?
That’s exactly what you need to explain to your lead. You are there to help him make the best decision about what he needs, right?
For that, you need to understand as much as possible about your scenario, what is working well and what needs improvement. Without this information, you cannot understand what he really needs.
What questions should be asked during the call?
Often, not even the lead is able to realize that there is a problem and you have to show it to him. You will be able to show and identify this problem by asking a series of control questions.
There are three types of questions that should be asked during a call:
- open questions
- control questions
- confirming questions
These questions will help you find your lead’s pain, show that he needs to resolve it and that you have the expertise to help him.
Expanding on these questions a little more, what would each of them be?
Well, open questions are those questions the lead feels comfortable answering. They are good for conversation starters and when you want him to tell you more about a particular topic. That way, he’s more at ease and you can capture a little more about his scenery.
Good examples of open questions would be:
- Could you pitch your solution?
- Tell me a little better, why do you think you have this problem? What caused this to happen?
- Besides you, does this problem impact anyone else in the company?
- What do you think about doing to solve this? What do you want to do to achieve your goals?
Open questions can be used throughout the entire conversation, it’s good to mix them with the other two types of questions so that we have, in the same call, comfortable questions and questions that can take the lead out of the comfort zone.
Keep track of how much you’re going to use them because if you ask several comfortable questions sequentially, the lead can take control of the conversation.
Control questions are those more specific questions that will help guide your call towards its goal. Their answers are more complex, as they are where the lead goes deeper into their problems and consequences.
Good examples of control questions would be:
- Is this happening for (speaking the reason)?
- Is this your problem causing (cite an implication of the problem)?
- You mentioned that (pointing out the problem) is happening. What if you did (explain a little bit how to solve the problem)? Do you think it would help?
- How much longer do you plan on sticking with this problem that brought you here?
Confirming questions are questions asked to confirm with your lead that you understand their scenario and problem. This is a good way to generate authority and say you have the best solution for him.
Good examples of confirming questions would be:
- From what you told me, you are facing (talking the problem), correct?
- From what you told me, it seems that this problem is affecting not only you but your entire industry, correct?
- If you had (speak the solution), you would be able to reach your goal, correct?
You need to let the lead talk more than you do, so ask as many questions as possible and let them answer without interrupting you.
Every sales call or meeting has a clear objective for whoever is conducting it (in this case, the salesperson). If you, the seller, do not know how to address your questions, you will end up losing your position of power within the negotiation.
In other words, you end up being controlled.
To know how to generate authority and have full control over the conversation, you must be able to ask the right questions, whether they are implications or questions with positive or negative consequences. Remember: you are the one who controls the conversation!
I, as one of the closers here at OTB, tried to understand more about how to generate authority and control my meetings and I’ve seen a big improvement in my results.
My leads trust me more and their engagement has increased a lot!
They realized that I’m the sales specialist and what I say will be right for them, just answer a few questions I need to ask to complete my diagnosis!
Remember, taking control of the situation doesn’t mean being aggressive and arrogant. You can direct your call in a friendly and consultative way. This doesn’t mean not having control and authority, on the contrary, it shows that you can do this without even letting the lead notice.
Hope my tips helped! Tell me about your meeting after learning a little more about how to generate authority and be in control rather than being controlled. I will love to know!