There have been so many changes in the sales world in the past 10-15 years. Technology has certainly played a major part in it. However, the biggest and most recent change is the interaction between seller and buyer.
In his book, ‘To Sell Is Human:’ Daniel H. Pink talks about how the shift in information and the easy access to it has taken the simple transaction of caveat emptor to caveat venditor. In other words, we have gone from buyer beware to seller beware. It is the foolish and unknowledgeable seller that now must beware in how he not only conducts business but how he treats his customers and prospects.
A couple of weeks ago, during one of the classes of The Action Suite, one of my clients went off on a rant about something which happened to her a week or so earlier. What happened to her has been happing more and more today and with competition, be it from other businesses, or the one competitor which effects everyone, the internet; have businesses forgotten what ‘customer service’ is?
She had walked into a Starbucks and was the only person in line with three people working behind the counter. No one acknowledged her. No one addressed her even with a: “I will be with you in just a second.” One made direct eye contact with her and did not even nod to acknowledge her presence. Finally, many minutes later, someone came to help her. She let her feelings be known in no uncertain terms and left the store without purchasing anything.
Does anyone remember the days when you walked into a prospects/client’s office and simply stated what you had, what it did, how it did it, why they needed it and when did they want it? I do. I also know if you are doing this, you may not be getting the results you want, or need.
Those days are long gone and I for one am so happy they are. There was no ‘getting to know the prospect’ time. All we wanted to do was walk in, tell them all about the newest thing and get out with an order if we could. The sad part was, we walked out more often without the order than with. Then, things started to change and we began the ‘bonding and rapport’ process.
It was not a miraculous concept, it simply meant we started to get to know our clientele better. We slowed the process down. The end results were more sales orders than before.
“We are currently having issues with our supplier on…” You think: “Great! I now have something in which to make us look better than the competition.” You think this because you have yet to achieve the art of the next question.
Questions form the solid base to any sales calls. This should now be entrenched in everyone’s mind. The question then becomes, what kind of questions should you be asking?
I wish I could give you a list of questions to ask, but I cannot. Every situation is different, every prospect/client is also different and every industry is unique in its own right. However, this does not mean you should not have questions ready to ask.
Confucius said: “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Why is that?
There are many times during a session of The Action Suite I get: “Joe, it can’t be that simple.” to which I reply: “Yes, it truly is.”
There are so many out there in the area of sales that are expounding all sorts of techniques and tricks as well as manipulative ways to get to the bottom of what the prospect may be thinking or feeling. Here is a thought; ask.
As most of you know, I am a voracious reader and I love to read business books primarily to do with leadership and business development.
I recently picked up a book on a new sales program and how to implement it. With most of these books, I can glean a nugget or two and think about it how it can enhance my own program. This book, not so much.
However, I took the book and read the part where it stated what you should do if someone asks: “What do you do?” After reading the two paragraphs to my group in The Action Suite, there were some interesting reactions.