What’s the old saying:
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.
While that may be true for Donald or Daffy, it is not the case is sales. But a number of sales people I have worked with seem to believe that this Duck Method is a good way to sell.
Here is an example, about a month ago I got a call from a rep selling a “sales productivity” tool. The usual shtick, intro blah blah, big value prop, around how the tool drives engagement in sales call and increases productivity, sales and could (if it worked) deliver truckloads of money. It was clear that they did some research about me, but did bother to validate some of their assumptions that were truly wrong, first mistake. I guess they figured that I look like one, spoke like one, I must be what they assumed I was one, when I am not. Just because the word Solutions is part of the company name, I don’t deal in IT.
Then came the real Duck sale, the series of unrelated questions that if answered affirmatively, they hoped will lead to a close.
Before I share the conversation, it is worth noting that while the idea behind the product was conceptually good, and must have looked really good on the white board, you know like world peace, or a fifty cent gallon of gas. But the idea that drove the concept was not really present in the product. While they were trying to flog it as a ready for market product, in my view it had little or no application in the real world. In some ways I think he was aware of that too, which is why he went for the Duck.
Him: Tibor wouldn’t you agree that if you could measure engagement it would be a good thing?
TS: I guess (shrugging my shoulder)
Him: Great, and wouldn’t you also agree that if you could then increase engagement it improve your results?
TS: Sure (this time I only raised one shoulder and an eyebrow)
Him: So if you found a tool that could do that, you would see it as a good addition to your tool kit?
TS: Sure, if I found one
Him: Great, that’s why I think our Thing-A-Ma JIG is the perfect application for you, and I am glad you agree and are ready to get started.
Just because I agreed to a couple of concepts does not mean I am at all interested in your offering, or that there is a line on the planet that remotely connects those dots.
While the above is an extreme example, badly executed to boot, it is not an uncommon approach. You see it daily. If you agree with point one, and agree with point two, then point three must be true. No I am sorry it is not.
The only question is this, are there people actually buying when they are Duck sold? You would think that if there aren’t any buyers, there would be no sellers using the technique, but it continues to thrive, along with the Ben Franklin close and other such tricks, one has to wonder why.
So if you are tempted to sell like Donald Duck, or are being sold by one, just remind them that Donald’s best friend was Goofy.