A bigger sport in the US than soccer is listening to the debate between soccer fans and non-soccer fans.
It can get quite heated. Like political conversations.
I admit, I fall into the non-soccer fan category, but I’m trying to leave.
I am one of the bigger sports geeks you’ll ever meet.
I’ve spent a few thousand dollars to play baseball for a week with retired major leaguers. Ok, twice.
However, most guys in their late 40’s and 50’s, grew up playing baseball, football, and basketball, and many of us also got into watching hockey.
Then some of us got into golf–some of us much more than others.
However, with soccer–and let’s include tennis and NASCAR–there has been zero appeal for me over the years.
But, I can understand and respect they are tremendously popular sports, and have rabid fans.
And during this World Cup I’ve been reading everything I can about the teams, players, history, how players are developed worldwide, the importance of soccer to other countries and its citizens, and really trying to figure out the strategy and rules.
I had the US-Germany game on in my office and yelled when Germany scored, just like when Nebraska gives up a touchdown. (Insert your own punchline about me getting hoarse).
I’m not certain I can ever become an avid fan—I’d like to catch the bug and see what I’m missing– but I can respect how others are passionate about this and want to understand and feel where they are coming from.
What does this have to do with sales?
Let me put a spin on it.
You have certain thoughts, interests, beliefs, and knowledge about your products and services, why you think your prospects and customers should buy, and what YOU want to do.
But, most importantly, YOU are not your customer.
In sales, it does not matter what you want. It needs to be all about them. (Just like my piece last week about selling to LeBron James).
When you let your interests and desires get in the way, that creates objections.
That is, IF you are even able to get to that point, meaning self-interested salespeople often don’t even get the chance to speak with a prospect, since their “all about me” calls, emails, and voice messages are ignored and deleted.
A few years Century 21 ran a commercial stating that their agents will show only the houses you want to see.”
Why in the world wouldn’t that be the first thing that all new agents for ANY company hear?
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to sales training. Our first point: show only homes that people want to see. Thank you and go get ‘em.”
Matter of fact, it should be one of the first things ANY new sales reps hears: talk only about what prospects or customers are interested in.There you go. Follow that point.
Make it an ironclad rule.
It will reduce or eliminate objections.
Matter of fact, one thing you should never hear is “We don’t need that.”
Here are specific action items to help you avoid talking about things your prospects and customers are not interested in, and therefore avoiding the “We don’t need it” objection.
Have a “Needs” Mindset
Never begin a call, or the planning of a call, from a product/service presentation perspective.
Such as “I’m going to call today to present our new product line to customers.”
Instead, adopt the mindset of “What needs, problems,and desires must my customers be aware of in order for our new product line to be of value?”
Take your product/service benefits and results and define what needs or problems must exist before the benefits truly would be of value.
Then create questions you’ll ask.
For example, a sorter/collator attachment for the prospect’s document imaging system would only be of value if,
1) they don’t have one already;
2) they have–or anticipate–copy jobs that require sorting and collating; and,
3) they’re doing it manually and it’s taking the time of a person who could be doing something else, or they want to prevent that from occurring.
Embellish their Needs and Problems
The hungrier someone is, the better that scrumptious dish sounds, and the more desirous they become.
You enhance their hunger with your questions so that when they hear your presentation, they’re listening from an open, receptive, salivating state of mind.
This is the key to helping them want to buy instead of selling them.
Using the sorting and collating attachment example mentioned above, taking point 3, where the company had a person performing the tasks manually, embellishment questions would include,
“How much time are they spending?”
“What does that cost in terms of labor?”
“What other things could they be doing?”
Recommend AFTER Questioning
Only present after you’ve identified their needs, problems, and potential gains they desire.
Make this an unbendable rule! It’s here that you ensure you won’t hear the “Don’t need it” objection.
Get Information Before You Give It
I define a “pushy” salesperson as one who presents something a person doesn’t want or need. Asking the questions first eliminates that possibility.
Know When to Leave
In some cases you’ll come up empty in the needs department. In that case, don’t hesitate letting go without a time-wasting presentation that would only create objections.
You might, however, want to ask one more catch-all question to drag your net through the sea to catch anything you might have missed:
“Joe I’m not sure if what I have would be of any value to you. Could you see any possible circumstances changing where you would be expanding your development department?”
Again, a simple concept: talk about only what they have interest in. It’s the difference between “pitching,” and giving someone what they want.
And that involves first understanding that everyone doesn’t think the same way that you do.
Now I need to go watch the World Cup match.