Interviewing Comfortably

In the area of sales, by thinking of doing an “innerview” instead of an interview, it will help paint the kind of picture in our mind that is necessary to be successful in gathering information in the Need Analysis segment of the sales process.

The P.O.G.O formula will allow us to get involved in a conversational interview process that will be comfortable for us and the prospect. It gives us a track to run on and specific direction on how to best meet the “comfort-level” needs of the prospect.

The P in the P.O.G.O formula stands for PERSON. The parameter for us who is interested in the sales is to get the people involved in the sales process. ANYTHING that expresses a SINCERE interest in the prospect will be valuable to us. The key words to remember in the process are brief, warm, sincere and friendly. Thumbnails sketches of our experiences that are pertinent to the client are perfectly impossible – as long as they amplify the client’s point, relate to the client’s needs and wants, and establish your own credibility (without establishing your ego).

Questions persuade more powerfully than any other form of verbal behaviour, so we should develop a set of questions that we are comfortable with and that allows us to work in our personal comfort zone in showing sincere interest in others.

The first O in the P.O.G.O formula stands for ORGANISATION. The objective is to give the prospects enough information to build that confidence and to gather enough information to make us effective (make the sale).

The G in the P.O.G.O formula stands for GOALS. This is the time for gathering information about personal and professional goals such as “What do you plan to accomplish in the next six months?”. One of the greatest dangers in the Need Analysis portion of the sales process is to allow the prospect to throw up a “smoke screen” regarding true goals. Many a times a prospect’s goals will involve money and the real goal revolves around WHAT CAN BE DONE with the money. Few people actually achieved their goals primarily because they have never really identified the true goals. Their goal relates to WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THE MONEY!

The second O in the P.O.G.O formula stands for OBSTACLES to reach the goals just discussed. People want “how to’s” that are practical and applicable in their lives. People are seeking information, inspiration, and direction in their lives. People come to us because they believe that we may offer a solution to their problems that I may help them overcome the obstacles. People will buy from us for the same reason.

It is impossible to be “too prepared” for a sales presentation. Preparation is vital to success. An integral part of preparation is time allocation. A professional salesperson’s most valuable asset is REPUTATION. When we deal with clients and customers with integrity, our chances of making the sale are greatly enhanced.

Selling to personality types has to be used with caution, especially to be very careful when we “diagnose” the prospect. There are four areas of people, RESULTS-ORIENTED people, PEOPLE-OREINTED people, TEAM-ORIENTED people and QUALITY-ORIENTED people. By looking in a name, we can divide the analysis into these four categories (1) Bold (2) Friendly (3) Sincere (4) Competent. The purpose of sharing personality analysis information is to allow us to sell to THE STRONGEST ORIENTATION of the prospect. Before we can begin to look at the personality of the prospect, we need to take a look at ourself.

(Adapted from “The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional – Ziglar on Selling”, Chapter 7 – The Controvesial “Interrogation” – Conducting the Comfortable Interview, by Zig Ziglar)

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