If I had a hammer
By: LaurieLohner
Wed, November 28th 2012

If I had a hammer...If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.
Mastering different techniques is like having different tools in your tool belt. You may not need one particular tool all the time or even very often, but you know that you have the option should the opportunity arise.
Salespeople who are great at one aspect of selling, such as giving a great sales pitch, tend to launch into their pitch whenever they think they see an opportunity to talk.

If they aren't comfortable listening to the customer, they end up falling into old habits and, rather than asking a question when the situation dictates, start out with: "Let me tell you…"
Maybe you have a great story to tell and are able to bring it up in any number of situations.
Just because you can does not mean that you should.
Pavlov's stimulus response experiment proved that conditioning exists. His work was on dogs, but we humans can also be conditioned. Many salespeople have been. As soon as a customer asks a question, they tell them all about their solution.
But we have a choice.
The next time a customer asks a question, pause a moment and make a conscious decision on how to best proceed.
If a prospective customer asks about a particular technology, you have a lot of options, especially when you do have a significant amount of relevant experience.

You may be tempted to tell them all about the great work you have done, give them some white papers and fire up your laptop so you can launch into a presentation.
Sometimes providing a brief answer and then checking in to see if you are addressing their concerns keeps the conversation flowing.
Acknowledging their question and then asking them a question can help make sure the dialogue continues to be a two-way street.

For example: "I think you are asking a great question. We have great deal of experience with this technology. As you might imagine, each customer wants to achieve different outcomes when considering a move in this direction. May I ask what results you want to achieve that would make this compelling for you to even consider as a choice?"
There is no one magic way to handle a question. The key is to not react thoughtlessly, but to respond with awareness.