In a follow up to my June 9th article, I thought I would share with you this silly joke that was sent to me today (as one of many I receive as they do the rounds on the internet!) because after I had had my wry chuckle, it made me stop and think.
A little old lady answered a knock on the door one day, to be confronted by a well-dressed young man carrying a vacuum cleaner. ‘Good morning,’ said the young man. ‘If I could take a couple minutes of your time, I would like to demonstrate the very latest in high-powered vacuum cleaners… ”Go away!’ said the old lady. ”I’m broke and haven’t got any money!” and she proceeded to close the door. Quick as a flash, the young man wedged his foot in the door and pushed it wide open… ”Don’t be too hasty!” he said. ”Not until you have at least seen my demonstration.” And with that, he emptied a bucket of horse manure onto her hallway carpet. ”Now, if this vacuum cleaner does not remove all traces of this horse manure from your carpet, Madam, I will personally eat the remainder.” The old lady stepped back and said, ”Well let me get you a fork, cos they cut off my electricity this morning.”
As a sales trainer and consultant, I come across many examples where a sales person has the potential to make a sale – but blows it by not listening properly to what their prospective customer is actually saying. Typically when in ‘business development mode’, sales people get too caught up in what they are going to say next – remembering to sell the benefits, not the features – that they stop listening. I noticed this happens much more as we come out of recession – businesses placing demands on their sales reps to close the sale as quickly as possible to get as many sales as possible.
The problem with this approach is that if you do not take the time to listen and understand what a prospect is saying, you will most likely miss the sale. For example, when someone says “no”, more often than not, they actually mean “No – not yet”. So when you hear no, if you then ask the right questions, nine times out of ten, the prospect will explain why they cannot buy “just yet” AND then give you an opening for when you CAN close the sale.
I like it when sales people listen to me. I like it even more when they adapt their selling to my time-frame and my needs. I usually like it so much, when I am ready to buy, I make the effort to go back to them (not their competitor!) and say “I want to buy – now”.
Is this a situation you have found yourself in? I’d love to hear your experiences – both as a seller and buyer. Alternatively, if you want to know more about asking the right questions to put your prospects in a buying frame of mind, contact me via my Twitter page or the PPG website for a free of charge consultation.