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Too Much is Told, Too Little is Heard,
Very Little Sold

"We live in a time and a century of self, an image of endless explanation, for every life demands a public forum, every face a shot at fame," says David Goodwillie. Traditional sales people haven't escaped this narcissistic trap. Too often sales people feel a need to project their personality or product into something that is bigger than life...an impresario.

This death march is a disturbing trend, so self-conscious and revealing, to show all and tell all about their offering, where too much is told, too little heard and not enough sold. These information sellers and product pushers thrive under the spotlight. They love the illusion of attention. They love their information cameo role. They have what I call IOD-information overload disorder. The antidote is unilateral disarmament, downsizing and decluttering of their well of information.

Customers know that conventional, information sales people are promiscuous,that they play fast and loose with their information, that they worship it as a false idol. I have personally met countless sales people who would be aghast to have sales people sell to them the way they sell to their own prospects. Because they're so self-focused they're oblivious to the impact of how they walk into sales calls overly confident of their superior firepower.

"Most sales people don't even want their spouses and loved ones telling them what to do, or giving their opinion, much less a sales person," says Michael Bosworth. Too many sales people are working too hard to make a sale and a favorable impression. Product information is their main mantra.

Surprisingly what you really have to do is simply connect with customers on a human level so they feel you understand them and get them. However, often sales people hold on to customers too tightly, while at the same time they are pushing them away. As Jacques Werth says, "People don't buy because you convince them. Persuasion creates resistance." Remember, more customers buy than are sold.

Truth and reality of customers remain elusive to information pushers because it's all about their own truth and reality. This is why there's a big disconnect in most sales calls. When you watch closely you'll see that many customers want one thing and at the same time another part of them wants the exact opposite. This is because of lack of trust and commitment. They want insight and direction when they trust you. However, they settle for senseless information that sales people are more than happy to provide them when they don't trust that the sales person has much depth to offer.

In May 2011 The Wall Street Journal reported that big pharmaceutical companies had found replacements for the army of sales representatives that they laid off in recent years. Digital sales tools replaced human contact to tell customers vital information without the intrusion and inconvenience of having to see a sales person no matter how attractive they are. At least 25% of physician groups have today a no visit policy for sales people. Companies found that the high cost of face-to-face sales calls were being highly marginalized in this environment. They found iPad apps and a greater web presence to be equally effective and far more efficient. Obviously some sales roles are obsolete because of the perceived lack of value sales people bring to the table. Make sure yours isn't.

In the information economy you've got to provide more extra value than information regurgitation to discourage customers from cutting you out of the buying process and just clicking three times on their keyboard to get more balanced information from the web.

Sales is an input business not an output business. The more information you give out the more risk you are at getting less in return. The longer it takes to get information the more risk you are to getting information after-the-fact and when it's too late.

Take your foot off the gas when it comes to giving out information, and put the metal to the pedal when it comes to asking questions. Most sales people have false pride in regard to their expertise and product information. This just adds insult to injury and puts fuel on the fire to sell and push harder, resulting in customers and prospects pushing back, delaying and discounting what they have heard.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com