See that picture? Do yourself a favor and remember this guy every time you go pitch, demo, or "sell" your product. Chances are this prospect is bored because you keep telling him a litany of garbage, such as...
- We are AWESOME!
- You don't want to buy from them because we are AWESOME!
- Our product, the desk beacon 9000, wow, it is unlike any other desk lighting accouterment. It lights up brighter than Jim's down the street, and has a switch on the cord instead of the handle! I mean how ugly are those strings hanging down that you have to pull? Oh, and you know what, it is dipped in a silver polish that is only found in one place in the world...our warehouse! It took us years to develop this proprietary color, just for this lamp. This is a limited time offer, where would you like me to send yours?!
Look at the picture again. That is your prospect. Wondering how in all things Holy you had the audacity to pitch him a LAMP! How do you know he even needs one? If you are on the phone your prospect cannot wait for you to stop jabbering so they can say goodbye then block all your future calls. Honestly, I hope you are giving this pitch in person so the prospect will shove you out the door.
Let me be clear, I do not have an issue with lamp salespeople or even lamps as desk accessories. Honestly, my IKEA lamps are fantastic! What I have an issue with is my salesperson wasting time, money, energy, paper, and who knows what else to pitch this guy a lamp without qualifying the prospect first.
Amateur salespeople sell bells and whistles. I've got news for you friends, features do not sell!
STOP SELLING FEATURES!
Qualification of Prospects
I know it feels like micro-management or as if I do not trust them but, my new sales people must show me that they can follow two rules before hitting the ground solo. Otherwise, their time, my time, company money, energy, and patience are going to be thrown down the drain. Prospects will buy for their own reasons, not the salesperson's reasons.
- You must attempt to invalidate the prospect before they are a valid prospect
- The prospect must be in a position to tell you Yes or No
One of my mentors taught me a very valuable lesson. As salespeople, we have the power to say "No". Think about that for a second, you, a salesperson, can look your prospect in the eye and say "No". Not every prospect is valid and may not become a customer.
Think about your purchases thus far in 2016. How many of those were purchased because of pleasure? How many were purchased because something bad would happen or you would feel discomfort if you didn't buy it?
You bought a new boat last weekend simply because it is spring, the water is warming up, you have never owned a boat before and cannot wait to show it to your buddies so, you went out and bought one. Pleasure is in the right now, the impulsive. Sure, that salesperson had a quick sale and didn't have to work hard for the deal but, how often do people call you up begging to buy what you are selling.
Now, let's say you sell boats for a moment. It's spring, a few people are trickling in the dealership, this past winter was a rough one for your commission checks. You started cold-calling every executive in the area, even showing up to their office with sales material, hoping that you could close them on a boat - selling them the "dream." Warm water, cold drinks, easy breezes and the admiration of everyone in the Boat Club. Then proceeded to walk him through every bell and whistle on the boat, plus optional accessories! Spoiler alert - the executive does not buy, he is mad that you wasted his time, and is already the coolest guy he knows!
You just tried to sell someone on pleasure.
But, what if we flipped that around and sold based on pain, or an emotionally compelling reason (ECR)? There are three factors when it comes to pain and eliciting that ECR.
- On the surface issues (indicators)
- Reasons for the surface problems
- Personal Impact
As a salesperson, you should try to discover the problems or reasons the prospect might have for buying from you. Until you know the three items above, you have no idea if your product or service is a good fit for the prospect.
Salesperson: Mr. Jones, sorry to bother you today, I was just wondering, how do you feel about not having a boat like everyone else on your street?
Mr. Jones: Yes! Wow, it is great that you called today. I was really feeling down about not having a boat.
Salesperson: Oh gosh, I am sure sorry to hear you are feeling that way. Do you mind me asking why you are blue about not having a boat?
Mr. Jones: Well, all my friends have boats and are constantly making fun of me and spending their days happy on the lake while I am at home with my beautiful Wife and cat. It really hurts my feelings!
Salesperson: Wow, Mr. Jones, I am glad I called today. If we do not get you in a boat soon, what do you think will happen?
Mr. Jones: Honestly, I think my Wife might leave me and I know she'll take fluffy with her. I am just sure that I will lose all my friends as well! Can I come by this afternoon and get that boat on your website in blue?
My skillset is clearly not in screenwriting or good examples.
However, I want you to see what we did there. We found the pain indicator for Mr. Jones, the reasons for the pain, and then the personal impact for not buying the boat. This is much more powerful than Mr. Jones buying a boat simply because it is spring and the water is warm. Using this scenario, we may have just sold Mr. Jones a boat in December!
If there is no pain, there is no sale. To add to that, remember that the problem the prospect tells you is never the real problem. Mr. Jones told us he is feeling down about not having a boat. We had to find out why! A lot of salespeople would have immediately jumped on the close, thinking they have a fish on the hook (rookie mistake).
The more questions you ask the prospect during the validation process, the more pain you will uncover, the causes, and the impact. More pain becomes more of a reason to buy. The prospect may have pain that involves a wide range of emotions that impact now or the future.
Let's sell something today,