Of course not, prospects are liars. No no, that’s not true either. It is less about lying, and more about rationalizing why we lost, take a look at what I mean:
Several pundits have presented the argument that we are all sellers and we are always selling, no surprise, selling is part of life and the human experience, right from the guy selling fragments of the big bang, or the serpent selling Eve the apple. As a result, just like people, sales comes in different ways, shapes, approaches, techniques, etc.
This brings with it a host of labels and subsets of sales selling. What I call the hyphenated sale. You’ve seen this and will continue to see it throughout sales. Different labels/qualifiers placed on sales, some times to better frame the technique, sometimes because it pertains to a very specific part of the sale, other times the name of the person who “created” (ya right) that type of selling, other times just to be catchy.
There are times when it is nothing more than a marketing label. Let’s face it, we are a target for someone’s product, someone trying to sell a product to us, a course, an app, an assessment, so slap a label on it and start sell it. Other times there are movements that want to adopt a particular sticky tag as a means of finding a readymade audience, or as a means of siphoning off their competitors. If there are a group of people who are terrified and terrible at old calling, what better way to attract them than to adopt the label of no more cold calling, whether it works or not is secondary, what great branding. Sometimes the branding evolves, Sales 2.0 was the rage a while back, till all the various flavours realised there was more to be sold by going Social Selling.
So what I am asking for today, is your list of hyphenated sales, you don’t have to follow the methods, or be a proponent, or you could in fact be it’s biggest groupie, not the point here, all I am asking for is a list of hyphenated or branded sales you are aware of. Here I’ll get you started:
Trigger Event Selling
Go for it, have some fun with it, let’s see what we come up with.
By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the big Canadian banks, we’ll call them the Green bank, has a current radio ad that I believe holds a great lesson for sales people.
In the ad, a customer of a competing bank, is complaining to a competing bank manager that all he got for switching to the bank was a toaster, “I already have a toaster; and it doesn’t even toast bagels. I am a grown man, I have a toaster”, he proclaims.
At this point I am thinking what a great way for Green to highlight how they focus on your unique needs, how their offerings address the real requirements of Canadians, and how there is greater depth to their banking relationship than a mere utensil. Surely they are not going to pretend that they can bribe us with a toaster or other kitchen appliance.
Well I was half right. They were offering a 7” tablet. I was wrong thinking that they may actually talk to things that are really important in these days of economic woe, helping one save, creative mortgages, proactive retirement options, and more. But no, given the opportunity they offered up not quite a toaster, but a tablet, how 2013 is that? And that is the half that I was right about, it wasn’t a kitchen appliance, but one you can use in the living room, bathroom or probably everywhere.
Some sellers fall into to the same trap, getting so focused and blinded by their needs, their agenda, and their world view, that the buyer and their reality are just incidental to the process. Many of the questions posed, assumptions made, benefits highlighted during the sale, have more relevance to the seller, their marketing department and company, leaving the buyer underwhelmed, disappointed and looking for alternatives. That was my thought, if this is the best Green can offer as alternative to Blue, Red or Black, what’s the point? If their response to the old practice of enticing clients with old school utensils, is to offer up a new school utensil, than why would I switch, why would your customer?
As sellers we need fix our lens on the buyers’ objectives and priorities, and work with the buyer towards those ends. It sounds straight forward, but continues to be a challenge. I am part of many call plans and reviews, and time after time, sellers commit to the obvious, but then try to retrofit the buyer into their product or solution, rather than helping the buyer understand how their objectives, the buyer’s, can be achieved using our offering. This requires a bit more effort since you first have to surface the objectives, but it is doable, especially if you have sold similar things to similar buyers. But despite the modern veneer, sellers often fall into pitch mode, feature benefit, and some form of price concession at the end. I bet some would just love to have a trunk full of toasters to hand out with each next step or close.
Sadly for Green, I already have a tablet, a 10”, and a mediocre Blue bank, only a few shades darker than Green.
What’s in Your Pipeline?
Last week I was part of a meeting where a sales person that I introduced to my client was presenting her solution, sales force efficiency tool, to my client. While the solution was good, she clearly knew her stuff, and clearly understood the client’s requirement, she kept doing something that was bush league and potentially risking his success.
It seems our intrepid seller had a busy day prior to arriving; I didn’t need to ask, because as soon as she opened her laptop, she plugged in her smartphone for recharging. Not a bad thing, almost efficient, (I say almost since she could buy a car charger and avoid the whole thing), makes her look busy, always on the go, in demand, and she gets his daily dose of multi-tasking.
The problem surfaced about 3 minutes in to the discussion; as we were mapping out some workflow on a big whiteboard at the front of the boardroom, her phone went off, traditional old phone ring (read shrill); to her credit, she did not answer the call but pressed the ignore button. Two minutes later again, ring ignore. You’d think that she would just turn the phone off as it was clear she wasn’t waiting for a specific call, she wasn’t checking the caller before ignoring them. By the third time, one of my client’s IT people in the meeting asked if the device had an off button. She politely smiled, but did nothing.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident; I see variations of this in sales meetings everywhere. Some not as sever, but still people interacting with their device, rather than interacting with their buyer.
Sales people often wonder why they lose certain opportunities, they spend time reviewing the big issues, and how they could have done things differently or better. They should also focus on and reviewing the little things, as often the quality of their presentation and or the quality of their solution is interrupted by the smallest of things.
Oddly some of the big things that cause us to lose or win deals are at times out of our control, but the little things are not. This lady will not lose the deal, yet, but she could have dramatically change the impression she made by taking actions on the little things, like turning off her phone.
What’s in Your Pipeline?
In this instalment, we have a new high (or low depending on your perspective) in call reluctance. In working with a rep who has avoided prospecting activities lately, during our most recent meeting I asked what he accomplished last week and what his plan was over the next two weeks. He responded that because of his faith “I am giving up prospecting for Lent”.
Not sure how he meant it because he did not crack a smile, to his credit he did do some prospecting this week, but there you have it.
What’s in Your Pipeline?
I spend a lot of time talking to sales types, for the most part a great bunch of folks. But every once in a while, they say something that causes you to do a double take and wonder (sometimes out loud) “Did you just say…?” Sometimes these are stupid sayings, sometimes funny or even profound, but they are worth sharing.
Rather than just letting these slip, or forgetting them, I will start sharing them under the above title. No long stories, set ups, or morals, just something someone said to me while talking about sales or selling that deserve a shake of the head. Rather than providing a visual and asking for the caption, I’ll give you the sound bite, you make of it what you like.
Don’t let me have all the fun, if you hear anything worth sharing, send it along, and I’ll post it. (Remember just the saying, no long stories).
I was talking to a sales rep last week, when he said:
“My closing ratio is well over 100%”
See what I mean, what can you add to that? You can’t make this up!