Recently I have found myself in a couple situations with sales people that didn’t cast them in the best light. Â The first was someone I observed in a training class and the other was trying to sell me something. Â In both cases they committed some pretty obvious sins in selling so I thought I would share.
In the training class, I was shocked when one of the participants continually challenged the trainer to give him exactly the words to say for all situations. This individual complained at one point it would take him “AN HOUR!” to research information to share with his prospects and why couldn’t someone just give it to him? Â Throughout the class the trainer repeatedly asked him questions about the situations his prospects found themselves in and how he was addressing their needs. Each time this individual came up short in his answers and didn’t know anything about his prospect-base.
My next appointment after the class was with a vendor. Â He was a hard-driving sales person who wants to sell something I don’t think is needed to one of my clients. Â In this case he was friendly and asked lots of questions to get at my client’s situation, but each time I started to answer he would interrupt. Â Generally his response would be “that’s great!” and then continue on with the line of questioning. Â At the end of the hour, I knew lots of reasons the product wasn’t right for my client but when asked, he’ll have no idea why the deal went bad. Â In fact, when he tries to answer the questions on the sheet he was following he will find he has no answers to his questions since I wasn’t able to answer.
At the end of the day, I would encourage you to spend a couple minutes and think about what you know about your prospects. Â Either say it out loud to someone else or write it down. Â Tell them or the paper as much as you can and see where there are holes in the information. Â If someone gives you an hour of their time, you should be able to say a whole bunch about them! Â If you find that consistently you can’t say much about them, then it is time to look at your discovery process.
The discovery process needs to be about your customer. Â I recently had a meeting with a new client and as we were wrapping up I mentioned I was going to talk for about 5 minutes about me so he understood my background. Â He laughed, looked at his wife and pointed out they were about to walk out having signed the contract and knowing practically nothing about me because we’d spent the hour talking all about them. Â That is the best way to run a sales call because at the end both parties feel good about what happened. Â If you do end up leaving before you get to tell about you, do it in the follow up email so they have an idea of who you are. Â But the bottom line here is you have to be able to relate their story to others to demonstrate you’ve been successful in the discovery process. Â At a minimum, you need to know who they are, what they do (specifically), why they do it, what problems they are having, and why they are talking to you.
What experiences have you had with sales people who didn’t get it?