I was coaching a salesperson to help him smooth out some rough edges. He needed to become less aggressive, less pushy, less assumptive, less salesy, and less obnoxious. He needed a major shift to his approach.
Instead of asking and saying things like:
- “Wouldn’t you agree?”
- “Would you say ‘yes’ to that?”
- “If I could do that for you?”
- “Does it make sense to move forward?”
- “I’d like to do business with you”
- “Do we have a deal?”
I wanted him to ask and say things like:
- “What are your thoughts about that?”
- “You might not agree…”
- “Is that important?”
- “Why is that important?”
- “What’s the rush?”
- “Could you share how that issue impacts you personally?”
He wanted to push, and I wanted him to pull.
He wanted to rush, and I wanted him to crawl.
He wanted to present, and I wanted him to ask questions.
I finally asked why this shift was so uncomfortable for him. I pointed out all of the things he was so insistent on doing was raising his prospects’ resistance and that was causing them to give him objections, ending each call with a put-off.
I explained that if he could slow down, sound more human, have real conversations, listen and ask good questions the calls wouldn’t end on such a bad note.
He was selling in a way that caused him to feel like he was moving toward a win. This was the approach that felt most comfortable to him. Comfortable became easy. For most salespeople easy is a combination of making friends, educating, presenting and quoting. Prospects have no use for this because they can find everything they need online and a salesperson that doesn’t provide real value is redundant. An approach like that, which seems easy to the salesperson, makes it very difficult to achieve success.
The change I was uncomfortable for him. Uncomfortable translated to difficult. If salespeople are willing to take the approach that is more difficult, then achieving success becomes quite easy. The difficult approach to selling makes it easy to close. The easy approach to selling makes closing next to impossible.
Jim finally became frustrated enough to try my approach. First time out? A one-call close. It was a fluke and it shouldn’t have happened, but Jim got out of the way and allowed his prospect to buy. It was a great lesson and proved how easy closing can be if you follow best practices instead of doing what is most comfortable.