Shhhh-I’m not listening, You can’t hear me, I don’t want to listen to you…
You know I’m a salesperson. I deal with other sales people every day just like you. At the heart of things I believe we are all trying to sell each other something all the time. Your husband is selling you on why it’s better to watch Monday Night football then to go to Bible Study, your teenager feels entitled to take the family car, an employee wants every Friday and Saturday night off. We all have agendas and often times we are so wrapped in what we want that we forget what our original intent really was.
Here’s a great example of what I mean. A salesman called me on Thursday. He represents a product that could potentially drive traffic to our booth at a show we are attending in the late fall. Initially his approach was centered around helping me. I believe great selling is about helping other people. I was in a hurry and did not have much time for the call. He told me enough about the product that I understood that it was a touch screen mapping kiosk that would help people understand where our booth is and that the potential client could print a map to get to our booth. There are also some additional “pay for” features that he wanted to show me which was honestly the reason for the call. These additional features required that I set an appointment so that I could take the time to look at their value. I appreciated his approach.
In the interest of time and out of respect for the sales process, I said to the guy, “My schedule is completely packed next week. I’m on the road every day. Let me give you my sales manager’s contact information and he can help us decide if we need this tool.” I did not feel like I had the time to spend the 20-30 minutes with him. He continued to press for my time with an on-line meeting. I then asked him, in the interest of time, to simply lay out the features and the benefits of the product. I gave him the best sales opportunity possible and requested information regarding other times they had used the product so that I could best understand what I could expect in way of results. And then after he walked me through those features and benefits, I’d like to know the price.
I then got the lecture about needing to SEE what the product had to offer rather than just getting the price. Now I’m mad. Click here to find out the 3 best sales tips in the world!
I had already coached him about how to best sell me. I share with him at this point that I am a salesperson; and reminded him that I wanted to understand what the product would do for me, what my expected return on investment would be, and then I’d like to know the price. Any of you that know me, know that I KNOW that price last is the way to go. I set him up to sell me in the way that I know sales works and he argued with me.
Correctly identifying that I was probably the decision maker for the company, he offered another date beyond next week. I told him I was available the following Monday and he placed the date at the 5th. That is not the following Monday. Now we are really NOT communicating. He has not listened to me. He is wrapped up in his sales process and now I’m pissed. I can’t think of a better word to aptly describe where I was in the conversation.
Selling is about doing something for someone and not to them. If this salesman really listens to me rather than calculating his next thought then he hears that initially I’m interested but I’m busy, I’m not at my desk, I want to give someone else in my organization the responsibility of looking at this opportunity, I’m really angry, he’s pushed too far, and now I don’t care about him or his product. This progression or digression of the relationship happened really fast.
In light of this interaction I felt like one of the best things I could do this week is to give you 3 key sales relationship tips. So here they are:
- Listen more than you talk-This one is especially hard for me and most sales people. We’re chatty by nature which can be a good thing gone bad when we don’t get the subtle shut-up cues that our customers often give us. I believe we talk too much for a couple of reasons. Number one, we get nervous and fearful that the customer might reject us. Number two, were excited and passionate and our hope and belief that everyone should have our stuff overruns the ability to listen to the pieces that our potential client is really wanting to buy. There’s not a single salesperson in the world that hasn’t had the experience of having someone sold and then unsold the situation because they wouldn’t quit talking…look how I’m rambling on here! Let’s move on to number 2…
- Be more interested in helping the customer have what they need rather than selling your stuff! If your product can make a big difference for your customer then you genuinely need to find out what that customer needs and sell them that. If your approach is all about you and you getting the features and benefits of your product in front of a potential customer so that they will buy your stuff, then you have your priorities in the wrong order. Ask your customer the right questions that will help you identify whether or not your product makes a difference in their life. If it doesn’t then you aren’t speaking to the right buyer. Remember, great selling is helping others-you do something for people and not to them!
- Express gratitude-always. Whether you sell something or not, every contact you make builds a firm foundation for what to do next. You are going to get something out of every sales call you make, no matter what. You have experience that you can file away for the next lead. You learn why people don’t buy your stuff. You find out what works better and what you could have done to improve on the last situation. When you go into a cold call or even work a warm lead with a pre-determined attitude of gratefulness, you’ll always come out a winner. No matter what happens, thank others for their time and understand the beauty of learning something with every interaction.