A while back I was called on by a young financial planner. He was new to the sales game and began his pitch by touching on objections I MIGHT have. He would start with the objection and then try to explain why it shouldn’t be one.
Do you know what he accomplished? He GAVE me reasons not to work with him! I hadn’t even thought of those objections. Yet, there they were, big as life, like a big neon sign telling me not to do business with him.
Not a great idea.
At another time I was called upon by a salesman who spent his few moments with me telling me all of the negatives about his competition. He never told me one thing about his product or company. While he probably convinced me not to do business with his competitors, he gave me no reason to do business with him either.
Another not-so-hot idea.
Today I received a call from someone I know but haven’t seen for awhile. She was very excited about a new product she is offering and wanted to tell me all about it. However, her approach was to say she wanted to meet to show it to me. When I asked what it was, she told me she couldn’t tell me — she had to show me. Really? That’s not the way to get me to set an appointment. It’s a little manipulative.
These are glaring examples of how not to behave.
Let’s turn them on their heads and use them as lessons of what TO DO. If we start with the premise that people buy you first, your product second and your company third, what is it about you that will be appealing?
You should be attentive, honest, positive, and dependable.
Don’t talk so much. The best salespeople are the ones who seek information from their prospects. They ask questions and listen to the answers. They pay attention to what the prospect tells them.
Honest and Positive
I’m putting these together because they comprise the communication style you want to use. You want to respond to what your prospect tells you with information about how your product or service can meet their needs. You DO NOT want to say negative things about yourself, your company, or your competition. There is no place in sales for negative conversations. You also don’t want to try to trap them into a face-to-face meeting. If you have something that is of value, the people who need it will want to see it. The rest will appreciate the respect you show them by communicating upfront with them.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be on time, be present, be giving. You show you are dependable by following through with results that match the prospect’s needs. Sales is not about what you want to sell. It is about what your prospect needs or wants. Your prospect will know they can depend on you when you are attentive, honest, and positive.
When it comes right down to it, the best way to sell is to not sell at all. Leave the gimmicks, tricks, issues to your competition. Just maintain a positive attitude, learn what your prospect needs, and when your product or service addresses that need tell them. Treat your prospect appointments like gold. You will be rewarded handsomely.
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About the Author: Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Sales Experts Panel at Top Sales Experts.
You’re right, I wouldn’t be impressed by the first 3 businesses you mentioned either. I want straight talk. Don’t waste my time and yours with gibberish. What are you selling? Why should I choose you? I don’t want to play games. I think it’s important to just give the facts and let your product and company reputation speak for itself.
Great post! You are absolutely right – many times sales professionals will try to wipe out objections before they arise, and the result usually helps convince potential customers why they should NOT work with that product/service. I find that one way to combat the objections of my potential clients is to make it my job understand my target audience. What do they want from my services, how can I make their life easier, etc… I wrote a post about it a few weeks ago. http://tinyurl.com/knowyouraudience
First impressions are so important, aren’t they? I’d also like to add that making yourself available is important, too. Make yourself available for after a business transaction if the customer decides to purchase from you. For questions, assistance, service – you name it. Make yourself the “goto” guy and follow through.
There is nothing worse than a salesman whose your best friend before – and during – the purchase . . . and then is nowhere to be found afterward.
However, if you do this for your customers – make yourself available to them – they’ll become loyal and even follow you from company to company over the years of your career.
“. . . she told me she couldn’t tell me – she had to show me . . .”
That sounds amazingly similar to the Amway / Quixstar pitch.
Good post and I was told a while ago, after you have said something and the customer does not say anything do not jump in and keep talking. The customer is often just processing the information and thinking and before they respond.
I think marketing and sales have been so annoying that many people are trying to get through all the clutter that we cause that no marketing is that effective. I think some companies make people mad by the way they choose to Advertise.
I agree Chris on your statement — There is nothing worse than a salesman whose your best friend before – and during – the purchase . . . and then is nowhere to be found afterward.
I am not a salesgirl but I have a handful experience talking with sales people before and they sounded so annoying when they tried to approach you directly selling their products. I’m expecting a little more PR on their part. So, in addition — PR skills are really important because we won’t turn our customers to disgrace and annoying reaction.
I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of honesty. If I feel a salesperson is coming across as honest I am more apt to listen and possibly buy from them. If I get the slightest hint they are feeding me a line, I’m out the door even if I really NEED the product their selling. There is no room for dishonesty.
Right on Diane! I’ve had this theory for a long time now — you can’t “sell” anyone anything – you have to make it easy for them to choose you. And the points you cover in this wonderful post are great examples of what NOT to do and what TO DO.
It’s no wonder sales people have that horrible “rubber chicken” annoying manipulative reputation – with tactics like that.
You are absolutely right in what you say. I prefer the sales person to ask me what my requirements are then come up with solutions. Sales people who spend the first 15 mins about how great they and their company are BEFORE they even know what I want is tedious to say the least.
Selling should be about building relationships and helping people get what they want.
This was a great post. Here are my thoughts.
Selling is about building relationships. After the relationship is built it is critical to realize that customers are going to interact and this can be like a snowball rolling down the mountain. If you fail to build a positive relationship, things can backfire and become a negative. In today’s economic environment it is crucial to build positive customer value. It is all about the life time value of the customer. It pays to keep them happy!
As an experienced purchaser, I have heard plenty of strange arguments from sellers that have made me not interested to listen further to the real sales pitch.
I too can attest to your experience, Diane.
Most people make a purchase to eliminate problems, or to achieve a goal, or to achieve pleasure. It’s as simple as that.
Good salespeople know this and focus specifically on you, the prospective customer.
A salesperson should uncover your specific pain points and frustrations, your goals and objectives. Then, the salesperson should spend the time discussing how they will eliminate your specific problems and/or how they will help you achieve your specific goals. It’s a simple formula, and it’s 100% focused on the customer.
This is absolutely THE best sales advice I’ve read. I prefer to operate along the lines of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, therefore I VERY much appreciate it more when I don’t have to jump emotional and mental hurdles to in turn convince a salesperson I DON’T HAVE to have it/do it/go there, etc. right this minute.
Do what you’ve got to do to get your name out there so it’s recognized and/or comes mind at the right time, but lighten up when it comes to the face-to-face aspect of it.
As a consumer I say let me know you’re there and what you have that may benefit me now or sometime later, and when I’M ready/need it/want it I’ll call you. 🙂
Treat your prospect appointments like gold. — So how do you treat gold, Diane?
Steven Paul Matsumoto
The really sad part about these situations is that they are a direct result of the poor sales training conducted by presumable reputable firms. For to long the corporate mantra has been feature-benefit based selling.
The best sales advice I ever received was this, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” The moral of the story, shut up and listen to your prospect. They will tell you exactly what they need and how they would like that need to be met. If they still give you a no after that then you have answered a question they have. Ask a clarifying question and then ask for the sale again.
I also agree with Steven Matsumoto ; listen to your prospect.
Be nice, polite, humble, and act like a “partner” with your client.
Listen to the “need”, and fill it.
PS ; nothing wrong with also telling a clients ; “I don’t know, but will find out for you”
Good sales people know that listening is critical, that way you learn what people are looking for before you rush in and tell them what you can do for them after all what you think they want isn’t necessarily what they do want!
Its no mistake that God gave you one mouth and two ears!!
Great post! Finally someone’s got it right! As a consumer, I walk in a store knowing what I want 70% of the time (the other 30% is just window shopping). I like to get straight to the point and a good salesman should know that. Instead of talking, listening would be nice for a change!