So the other day I was on Facebook and I saw that a friend made a post on sales. This friend although they are a business owner, really kind of despises sales (at least I get this feeling). I can understand there are a lot of shitty salespeople out there. 77% of salespeople suck to be exact. Being in the sales evaluation space I am lucky and have the hard data to prove it.
Anyhow, this Facebook post said…
Who here likes to be sold to (or at)?
I thought this was a great question!
However, there is a distinction that needs to be made. Being sold TO and being sold AT are two completely different things. In my opinion.
Being Sold "AT" sounds like someone that doesn't know how to sell. The equivalent would be... I could go out into the world and sell brain surgery, and perform it. I could assume over time I'll start getting it right. I could also look at the number of casualties as the cost of doing business to learn my new trade, instead of spending years at medical school.
Now since I don't have a medical degree most wouldn't trust me, but I could trick some into buying my new service. It would also mean I just need to SELL harder and pressure the prospect I couldn't trick into buying. You know… the ol' hard close pushing what is better from me than my client. We all hate that guy/girl right?
Most buyers would prefer a schooled professional that doesn't sell, but diagnoses the tumor and tells the patient... "the tumor is terminal and you have 6 months to live. We can however recommend brain surgery with a 95% chance of removing it and you'd be having little to no pain in 4 weeks."
Is that sales? Yes. Does it feel like it? No! Why? Because the patient had an idea that something was wrong and went to an expert for professional advice. The Dr then diagnosed if there was a problem, what the problem was, ran some tests, to confirm if he COULD IN FACT HELP THE PATIENT. The Dr then defined the problem and a solution. Then he gave the patient the choice... "do you want to fix this?"
Some will walk away, but most trust the Dr and go through with the surgery, ASAP. Right? Of course.
The same is true with professional sales.
A professional salesperson starts first with can I help this person?
When someone comes to me I always start with… I'm not sure if I can help you, but let's talk about what you think is going on. If I can help I'll let you know, but if I can't I will tell you that too. If I can not help you, but know someone that can, I will try to point you in the right direction as well.
The professional salesperson, like the Dr, actually received years of training and coaching to become an expert (few are experts at birth, but luckily sales can be taught).
The professional salesperson takes the exact approach as the Dr though. They start by asking questions focused on understanding (running a few tests if you will). This honestly could take several meetings and up to several hours (8-10 or more) depending upon the complexity of the sale. Then if the diagnose that there is a problem and it is big enough, they ask…"Is this something you want to fix?"
If the prospect says yes, the professional salesperson continues the conversation and starts sharing his credentials and the diagnosis. From there he asks…"Do you trust me and my diagnosis? Do you want my to help?". That's it! No more and no less. If they say NO! a professional salesperson says… "NEXT!" and moves on to to their next lead.
That brings up another point.
The reason a professional salesperson doesn't need to keep trying to sell if this prospect isn't interested, is because they have a full pipeline.
They only want highly qualified clients and they are willing to pass on under-qualified prospects. Shitty salespeople go into hard close mode because they are desperate and have very few leads in their pipeline so they fight tooth-and-nail to try and keep trying because this is one of the only people they have to talk to.
Want to learn more about building a stronger sales force?
Click here or on the image below for a free download of a whitepaper titled - The Modern Science Behind Sales Force Excellence.