Get Invited to Give Out Information
Most traditional sales people try to create credibility and authority by being very profuse and profound with their information. Yet credibility is best created by bringing balance to one's information and selling points. Unfortunately, most sales people create a negative selling environment by often overplaying their information, where resistance, distrust and objections flourish and fester.
Create credibility and authority with your selling points more by how you sell, not by what you sell. Customers value and reward you for what is asked for more than what is prematurely offered. So create an environment of demand for your information.
More relevant sales points are rendered useless because the recipient did not ask for it, was not ready for it, was not on the same page at the same time as the sales person, or did not understand it fully. Recognize that giving out information is never as compelling and persuasive as being requested to give it out. Time your information appropriately. Spend more time getting information than giving information.
When the timing is appropriate, allocate your information in the form of anecdotes, stories, metaphors, humorous story lines, illustrations and analogies. These forms best stimulate visual images and trigger emotions that compel customers to access more information and make more realistic decisions.
Average performers try to satisfy their customer's curiosity. Top performers try to make them more curious and self-reflective. The fact that you can help someone or solve their problems is irrelevant. What is more profoundly important is the idea that they express their problems and conclude that they are committed to changing due to your help. Your belief and faith in your solution and product information too often prevents this from happening because you think it is all about you and your superior offering.
"Most sales people present their value (information) as a value assault. To translate value we must ask ourselves these questions: What would this executive be experiencing in the absence of our value? What would be the physical signs they would be seeing in their business if they didn't have what we offer?" says Jeff Thull. Then you simply design problem trigger questions around these key business factors.
So do not tell customers how you can help them, do not tell them about your superior offering, do not tell them what makes you unique, simply tell them the problems you solve and the critical business issues you address.
Most sales people make the mistake of leading with good news about their offering, instead of leading with bad news about potentially negative and damaging circumstances that the customer may be experiencing without the benefit of their solution. So the best presentation is the customer presenting their problems as an answer to your problem trigger questions.
"What you are describing about your product is not what customers are ultimately buying," says Larry Letterer. Customers are buying to avoid problems and most sales people are selling them opportunity, improvement, advantage, success, benefits and progress. This is a huge disconnect.
I have a customer who after doing three days of intensive product indoctrination with new hires at their manufacturing plant will conclude by warning, "If I catch you repeating any of this information in a sales call I will shoot you and ask questions later." He tells his new hires to use their newly found wealth of information simply as a tool of inquiry to learn more about their customer's challenges.
"What makes you unique yesterday, makes you a commodity today and extinct tomorrow," says Lee Saltz. Your information is not a means to an end (closing). Your information's greatest value is its ability to be used as a tool for inquiry.
Conventional sales people too often mismanage their information, overload customers with senseless data, resulting in them becoming irrelevant, redundant and ultimately annoying the hell out of their customers. "There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?" says Woody Allen.