Style is as important as substance when selling in teams.
I'm out there selling all the time, and sometimes I'm out there buying, too.
Last week I was part of team that was looking for a particular service. Several teams came into pitch us.
One team came in with really good content…
… but something made us uncomfortable with them. We figured it out after they had left.
Often when one member of the selling team would be making a point or answering our questions, another teammate would lean forward and chime in. It felt as though they were conveying, "My answer is better than his." They sometimes interrupted each other. They certainly did not come off as complementary.
As a team member would do this, the others appeared detached. They didn't look at us, and they didn't even look at the team member who had started talking.
Afterwards, we felt uneasy about them, and we didn't select them. We didn't like the company, and the company was the people… the team.
So I've come up with three best practices…
… that I apply to when you're sitting down looking at a customer, and you're among teammates.
- Don't keep answering a question. Don't interrupt. And don't keep adding to what your partner has already said. Good is good enough. If the buyer needs more information, he'll ask for it. Then you can lean forward and add to what you're partner has said.
- Be careful with language if you do have to add to what your partner has just said. Use words and phrases like "And…" or "In addition to what Joe said…" This is very important. Sometimes teammates use "But…" or "Or…" with body language that just exudes, "I'm going to say something better; he didn't quite cover it all."
- Make it easy for your teammates. That's right, if one of your partners does have to add something, make it easy for them. I know I just said, resist adding. But if you are sitting there and your partner does have to add… even if it hurts, act as though you're welcoming what Joe is about to say. Your body language and your eye contact should go to Joe for a few seconds as he starts talking. This signals to the buyer that you are welcoming what Joe is saying, and that you and Joe are a team.
So, don't keep answering questions at length; good is good enough.
Use words like "and…" and "in addition to…" when you do have to add something.
Use body language and eye contact that signal to the buyer that you're welcoming what your partner has to say, because we are a strong team.
That's the key take-away here.
You need to to feel like a team. The buyer needs to see that, feel that, and sense that.