One of my newest non bowling clients asked me to accompany him on a sales call and observe his sales methods.
Over the few weeks I had worked with him, I had counseled him that he had a tendency, during a sales call, to push too hard and “pile on” facts when he felt the prospect was “not cooperating.”
His definition of not cooperating meant, “Not understanding the benefits of my product,”
As I expected, as soon as the prospect started asking questions, my client just poured on more data, more facts, and more client testimonials. After a while even I forgot what he was saying
It seems that this is not unusual, but rather is a knee jerk reaction to the prospect exhibiting any kind of objection. By piling on information he violated the first rule of “WHAT MY CUSTOMER NEEDS TO KNOW?”
So after the disastrous sales call I wrote Jim a letter and asked him if I could publish it:
I wanted to give you some feedback on your sales call yesterday, so here goes.
The first rule of sales is: Can I trust the messenger? By assuming you can overcome objections by throwing facts at the prospect, he or she starts to not trust you. Just providing facts does NOT lead to trusting the seller.
The second rule of sales is “does the message make sense.” In your case, you had not prepared a good story to tell and you have many! All you had were facts, which unto itself are a good thing, but you did not effectively weave it into a story that would have established credibility and laid the first brick of “trust.”
It seemed that your idea of a salesmanship and persuasion was to pile on facts. And then I watched as your frustration built because the client did not positively respond to your facts. Jim, you may not believe this, but many decisions are not made rationally. I remember you telling me about your 65 year old neighbor who just bought a new Corvette. A rationale decision?
And finally, do you think your message aligned with the customer’s values. Candidly, and based on his questions, I think you guys were on two different pages
Jim, the sales process always gets down to “TRUST.”
- Does the client trust the messenger? (You)
- Does the client trust the message? (What you’re saying – it has to make sense}
- Does the client believe that your message aligns with what he believes? (Talk the same language)
Because a Sale Is Both Art and Science.
It’s a combination of a strong compelling argument (reason and benefits why the prospect should buy) delivered emotionally by a messenger (You) the buyer WANTS to believe in.
We can talk about if you’re free, we can talk about this on Thursday. Let me know when it is convenient
In any case, I’ll meet you next week, in your office, on Thursday at 1pm.