When You Go on a Sales Call Filled with Data You will Go Home Empty-Handed
Your solution is a lagging indicator. Yet traditional sales people treat it as if it were a leading indicator. Your solution can only be fully realized after-the-fact, after the customer has bought. The only real leading indicator is the way you sell and diagnose. Done right, it is your presentation and your solution. Dispensing of information has no real intrinsic value. So the way you sell (diagnose) is a free sample of what you sell.
"There is a mutual conspiracy between clients and sales people to talk about products early on," says Randy Illig. We love our offerings and customers want magic solutions; quick, easy and effortless. Both parties often lose until there is critical thinking and proper due diligence performed.
Classic sales people have hypnotized themselves into believing their greatest asset is their spin. This quaint notion of bygone years no longer has much wind behind it. Product hard-liners are a thing of the past in the digital age.
To make matters worse, sales people have an unquestioned conviction that they are right and that is that. Their strengths come from their limitations; talking too much. Which is very limiting because their talking-points are highly ineffective. When you have the passions of an ideologue it is very difficult to fully engage another to open up, fully share their opinions and get to the bottom of their issues.
"No one buys a product per se. What is bought is what customers think the product or service will do for them," says Stephen Miller. I would go one step further from a sales messaging position. I would add that customers are motivated to buy to avoid a vulnerability or negative situation, more so than to enhance a positive situation.
They are more focused on threats than opportunities. They are buying emotionally and subjectively, and sales people are positioning their offerings objectively and rationally. You can see the huge disconnect here. Sales people are working on the wrong end of the equation and the problem.
"Emotion creates memory. Emotion is the root of all human behavior. Our brains are designed to respond to stimuli in nanoseconds. Such quick action is almost impossible on a rational, thinking level. It occurs at a quicker, deeper, emotional level. The brain, when confronted with a potential threat, overrides intellect and focuses all of this power on the emotion of the situation. It is only after that the brain begins rational thought," says Len Millbower.
If you reach a customer intellectually you can gain consensus; if you reach a customer emotionally you can change behavior, evoke action and create positive memory. Sales people overly position positive emotion in their sales messaging and it often misses the mark. They are afraid to evoke negative emotions (problems) because they think it will turn the sales call into a den of negativity. If sales people knew that their customers totally bought emotionally, and then and only then justified their decisions intellectually they would abruptly cease and desist much of their well-thought-out, logical sales presentations.
Most sales people start with facts and figures as if they were self-evident and most the time they get customers to start checking their BlackBerry out of boredom. However, when you start with mere assumptions and questions you can start, more often than not, to get real constructive and meaningful dialogue. A good strategy is to start off a sales call with a little fact finding mission to warm up your customer for the main event of doing an in-depth emotion finding mission.
"Look at yourself as if you were in the information business. Nothing moves or happens until important relevant information from your customer is exchanged. Knowledge about how to improve their business is the principal element in any sale. Nothing including your physical hardware is as real for them as that. When you talk about your products you may think you are discussing tangibles as if they have weight, size and shape. But all your products are simply intangibles," says Mack Hanan.
When all you do is promote your tangibles, spin your features and benefits, it becomes very evident that you are in the self-promotion business, and all this hoopla demonstrates you are in it for yourself and your personal needs. You will consistently clash with the majority of customers who are invariably in it for themselves and their own personal goals. Remember, once you put your customers needs first, you are bound to get your needs met more often than not.