I was reminded in the book by Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D.; “How to Win Customers & Keep Them For Life.” of a management course that I took many years ago and a fable with a very important lesson for all of us.
The fable was; ‘The Snake and Fisherman.’ There existed this old fisherman that would go out every day by himself in his small boat. One day, he looked over the side and spotted a snake swimming by with a frog in its mouth. Feeling sorry for the frog, he bent over and removed it from the snake’s mouth and set it free. However, he then started to feel bad for the snake as it would now grow hungry. He looked around his small boat but had no food. All he had was a bottle of brandy. He opened the bottle and gave the snake three shots. The snake happily swam away and everything was good. About an hour later the fisherman heard this insisting banging on his boat and when he peered over the side, there was the snake, but this time it had two frogs in its mouth.
You have an incredible product/service. You have a phenomenal presentation showing the features and benefits of your product/service. However, you are not making any headway. Why?
Is this scenario familiar to anyone? Let’s take a closer look at this often occurring situation.
What we must all accept, is that consumers today are aware and educated about our products/services even before they meet us. Therefore, if you are still highlighting the features of your product/service, you are putting your audience to sleep as they in all likelihood know as much, if not more, than you may. Do not sell on features. If you do have to mention features, keep it to a minimum. When you have a good feel for the minimum, cut it in half.
We are all consumers. We have our favorite restaurants, body shops, gyms, clothing and even grocery stores. We expect and quite frankly, demand a certain level of customer service. If we do not experience it, we walk go someone who will.
What baffles me is that as business people we expect a certain level of service, but are we providing that same, or even better level of service in our own businesses? Recent surveys suggest we are not.
Everyone that has followed me, either through my blogs, Podcasts, or, even YouTube, have heard me talk about ‘walking your talk.’ People have asked me if that only applies while being involved in their business world. Of course not! ‘Walking your talk’ is your ‘integrity’ and is what you are.
What is integrity? The dictionary defines it as ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.’ Synonyms include; virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, and morality.’
The challenge which most of us in sales have is that we make simple things hard. We take a look at a concept, or new idea and think: “It can’t be that simple, can it?” Not only is it that simple, but it is also easy. We further complicate the process by again saying to ourselves: “Let me see if I can actually find the way to do this.” Therefore, making it harder than it has to be.
Recently someone said to me: “Your tips and lessons on your blogs, podcasts and videos seem so simple and are just common sense.” Well, I thanked them for the compliment of course and asked: “Why do I feel there is a but coming?” There was. They replied: “I am trying to put them into action, but I am not getting the results that you talk and write about.” My reply, as I have had this question, in one form or another asked, was: “It doesn’t surprise me at all.” All I got was a confused, befuddled and questioning stare.