The Trail: blog post for September 2015
by Jeff Cartwright
I remember sitting through a sales pitch and watching the sales person make their case. They were obviously knowledgeable about their product —they spoke fairly well, if somewhat robotic. They talked an impressive game, but I recall feeling that their pitch was a bit rehearsed. It was like the sales person had given the same pitch a hundred times, never deviating from the script. Once the pitch was over, I looked at the client, wondering what their reaction would be. They wore a perplexed look and after a couple moments of awkward silence, they asked, “Do you even know what our business is?”
Wow … at that moment it should have been a huge red flag to us; for the sales person to pause and realize that something significant was happening. But it wasn’t, instead the salesperson became defensive and the customer politely began shutting down. Needless to say the sales person didn’t get the sale. And, we left the client with many business needs still unsatisfied and unfulfilled. For you and the client, this is a very uncomfortable situation. One that happens all too often in most sales transactions today. And, I use it to illustrate a very specific point.
We often times get so wrapped up in the process; closing the deal, or trying to make a quick sale, that we forget to be present. We forget to be in the here and now. We forget to, as Stephen Covey once taught me: "listen with the desire to understand, rather than with the intent to reply." We forget the reason we’re selling in the first place! When you’re present, you’re focused on what the client needs to grow their business, and to realize the dream of their business.
You are in what I call “your sales bubble.” There’s nothing that can disturb or impugn your focus and concentration inside that bubble. It’s just YOU and YOUR CLIENT. You’ve essentially cleared your mind of everything, to stay focused on the here and now. That’s being really present! Now you’re listening for cues or ‘passion points’ with the customer. What distinguishes him from his competitors? What plans does he have for the business, over the next 5 years, that’s only 60 months from today? What challenges is he facing right now? What challenges should be at the top of his agenda for this year? You cannot ask those insightful questions and receive valuable answers from your client, unless you’re present, operating in the here and now.
The key takeaway is this: Focus on today’s interaction, not future sales gains.
If you take this thought to heart, you’ll make more sales in the process. People know when you’r playing them, they know when you’re giving them a pitch that is rehearsed. Everyone wants to feel special, and you can’t make them feel this way if you’re only focused on dollar signs.
If you’re in telemarketing sales, you have the same opportunity. People can hear the excitement and true sincerity in your voice over the phone. When you’re making a telephone sales call, engage with your client. Get inside of your sales bubble, within your cubicle or, your desk at home. Really listen to their needs, and before you even pick up the phone, make sure you have a thorough understanding of their business.
Your competition is not doing this. In fact, most people in sales tend to focus on the sales dollars and not the sale itself. They don’t focus on the subtle nuances and needs of the client’s business. They aren’t listening, and they are not operating in the here and now. Take the time to be present, and focus all of your attention on the customer in your bubble. The customer will respond in kind. They are not used to being listened to. They are not accustomed to being placed in the center of your attention and focus. In all of my years in sales, I can assure you that the customer will remember that YOU made the transaction memorable. They will reward you with their business and their loyalty.