Heart of the Matter
I meet with a good friend of mine for dinner on a regular basis – he works in an industry far removed from advertising sales. Recently he explained to me that he wanted to learn how to sell because it would help him further his career. I agreed that I would give him simple sales lessons each time we had dinner to help him along.
During our initial discussion my friend divulged that his biggest dilemma at the thought of selling wasn’t his product knowledge (he has more than enough); it wasn’t a shortage of prospects (his company gets leads everyday); and it wasn’t his company’s pricing (they are very competently and competitively priced). His biggest obstacle was one he’d placed inside his own head.
At some point he had decided that his prospects were going to reject him or say “no” to his proposal, and this before he even gets on the telephone to make any appointments.
“On what basis do you think they are going to reject you” I asked?
He didn’t really have a response.
The answer of course is that he is suffering from fear. My friend had set himself up to fail before he’d even begun.
It is my view that selling isn’t complex; it’s not a difficult process to understand, and there’s certainly no magic required to be a closer. Yet it isn’t easy is it, facing our fears?
Because of this ‘fear’ over the years we’ve tried to complicate the sales process; to hide the truth from our prospects; to hide the fact that we are actually trying to sell them something.
Just now I Googled “selling systems” in my web-browser and got back 2,210,000 listings!
From “Advanced Neuro Dynamics”, “The Getting Into Your Customer’s Head Selling System”, to “The Customer Needs Analysis Process”. From “Solutions Selling”, “Spin Selling”, and “No Selling, Selling”. To “Stop Cold Calling And Start Selling – Selling”, “Impact Selling”, “Honest Selling”, “The New Strategic Selling”; and “High Probability Selling”. From “Power Base Selling” “Dream-weaving” to “Customer Centric Selling” there is no shortage of magical answers. Don’t get me wrong; most of these are probably very valid sales processes. Yet they tend to fail to deal with the real problem, this one vital issue.
In one of my previous articles I asked the question “What is it that’s causing this lack of belief that we will win in selling?”
“The physical things that impede us from winning sales can generally be hunted out, yet at the end of the day isn’t it all about us? You and me?”
“It’s us sitting across the desk from our prospect. It’s us who needs to be articulate, alert, and empathetic. It’s us who needs to take some courage and action, lean into the conversation at the appropriate time and ask the closing question – “Do you want to dance?””
In the same article I noted that 4 out 6 salespeople don’t even ask their prospects to buy after a presentation. This refers to all of us in every industry, working with a sales system or not.
So what’s it all about? Do we simply need to suck-it-up and do the work? I believe so.
Try this simple opening statement before your next final presentation. It may help you soften even your most feared prospect.
“Tom I’m a true believer in the sales process, I actually don’t believe that someone can sell something to someone who doesn’t want to buy it. In fact, if I did push you into something you didn’t want, I’ve done the wrong thing, right?” (You’ll get a nod)
“So what I’m going to do today is take you through all the features and benefits of [the product]; we’ll explore whether or not those things fulfil your needs and wants exactly; and then I’ll ask you whether or not you’d like to buy it.”
“As a result all I’m going to need from you today is a Yes or No. Is that okay?” (You’ll get another nod).
Sell without regret.
Sales Director | NRS Media