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Less is More

Too often sales people fault on the side of more is more. They provide too much information, too much personality, too much unrelenting persistence, too much ego and way too much animated "rah rah."

This traditional approach of ready, fire, aim worked well in bygone times, but has severe restrictions in the information economy.

In today's market less is more. Sales people need to be more discriminating and discerning.

The following are prime examples of less is more.

  • Less information–You are paid and rewarded for your questions not your answers. Your job is to get information not get it. Your information is your intellectual capital; guard it and protect it and time your information when customers are in the optimal position to make decisions about it. Most importantly use your information as a tool to gather more information.
  • Less personality–The old school of thinking is people buy from people they like. Period! No need for any further discussion. That is so old fashioned, so much like your grandfather's shinny old Oldsmobile. In today's market, people buy from people who they have chemistry with, but even more importantly, they buy from those who have taken the time, have the patience and expertise to really know their business and help them identify and solve pressing problems. So the emphasis is more on trust and confidence, than on a winning personality and sociability. Too many sales people overplay the likability card at the expense of being credible and being taken seriously.
  • Less indiscriminate persistence–Raw persistence was a skill set that worked well in an era where there was not voice mail and email jail, where people used to be at their desk and actually answered their phone, where there was not caller ID, where there was not electronic secretaries and where customers actually returned sales calls due to guilt. Today, you are lucky to get someone to make the effort to formally and directly reject you. Persistence when used to an extreme is annoying and clingy. Neediness is a foul smelling cologne in relationships. Redirect your persistence to find the truth and reality of your customer's problems.
  • Less ego–Sales people have their ego wrapped up in their products, their company and themselves. They are far too company-centric, instead of being customer-centric. Their ego needs unfortunately override and trump their customer's ego needs. Sales people have so much invested in the outcome of the sale they lose credibility, focus, objectivity and respect. The sales person with the least emotion riding on the outcome of the sale will consistently outsell the sales person who has the most emotion riding on the sale.
  • Less rah rah–In ancient times,10 years ago, it was still appropriate to sell the sizzle, position your information with excitement and enthusiasm, so you that could really drive home your key selling points. Back then sales people really relied on the extra push of animation to titillate and stir their customers into action. The fatal flaw with enthusiastic selling is it puts all the emphasis on the least important party in the selling event– you and your solution. Also, it is impossible to do an indepth problem diagnosis at the same time when you are in a heightened state of rah rah. It is totally out of context.
  • Less is more so long as you put less emphasis on yourself, your company, your solution and your products. Remember that the sales call is all about the most important person at the selling event, the customer. Let them shine. The only way they will shine is when you deemphasize your role and heighten their role.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com