If someone gave you 30 seconds to make a sale, what would you do? You could tell the customer all the great things about your product. You could offer them a discount. You could sing a song. But none of these would be the quickest way to a successful sale.
Darrell Weekes, Director of Strategy for Attache Software, asked a group of sales professionals to split into pairs with one playing the salesperson and one the customer. Then he asked one person in each pair to try to sell the pen they brought with them to the other… in just 30 seconds. Not surprisingly, none of them were successful. Watch the full video here:
Why did they fail?
All spent the 30 seconds expounding upon the greatness of their product. But at the same time they had ignored the most fundamental and fastest approach to making a sale. That approach is to ask questions and listen. Weekes gave an example to illustrate the point.
At a previous workshop, he had asked a partner to do the same exercise with him. The other salesman had a $1,000 Montblanc pen, and offered it to Weekes for $10, thinking it would be an easy sale. But in doing so he made the same mistake sales people in the most recent session had made. Weekes recounted telling  the other salesman:
“I cannot take that pen. I wouldn’t even pay you ten bucks for that pen. You know why? I write in purple ink. Do you know why I write in purple ink? Because it’s part of my purple thread. I wear a purple shirt. I write in purple ink so when a letter turns up – and I hand write my letters – and it’s in purple ink you know it’s from me. How many of these things do you think I lose a day running from the cab to the airport to the plane to the Qantas club to the next venue? How many of these fall out of my pocket a day? I go through three or four of these a day.”
So not only would a $1,000 pen be a complete waste for someone who regularly loses pens, but it also didn’t fit the customer’s basic needs — for pens that write only in purple ink. It’s something the salesman would have known, had he asked the right questions first.
It’s the same with your business. How many times have tried to sell your customers or clients the product or service you think they should have instead of the product or service they need?
Instead, try taking this simple advice. Listen to your customers. Ask questions. Then tailor your products and services to what they really need.
Find a solution that really solves their problems and you will stop struggling to get customers. Instead, you’ll find the quickest route to a sale and to as many customers and clients as your business can handle.
Pen  Photo via Shutterstock