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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Johnny Can't Sell

I just interviewed a candidate for a sales position. I asked him to sell me the product from his last employer. Here’s how the presentation went:

1. He opened by introducing himself with his name and company. (Do I as the buyer care? In fact, since I never heard his name or heard of his company before, my mind got stuck on it and I was thinking “who?”, “from where?” Of course, he continued speaking while my mind was stuck on his introduction).
2. He then asked if he could send me some information (like I have time to read it) on his company’s product which did this and that (he had no idea if either of these features had any interest for me).

I had no interest in offering this candidate the sales position as most everyone in America sells this way. They sell from their point of view with an “all about me and what I offer” approach. But the buyer cares only about one thing, “what’s in it for me?” I offered this sales candidate an alternative approach:

1. When the prospect answers the phone, ask a question, “Mr. Smith, have you ever looked for information, wasted hours of your time and someone else in your organization already had the answer?” (If the prospect has ever had this problem (and who hasn’t), he’s engaged).
2. My name is Bob Richards and my firm makes sure that this will never happen again to you or anyone else in your organization. How many hours a year do you think that would save you and your company?

Notice that this sales call is all about the prospect and his problem, NOT my product. As many professionals tell me they are “client-focused,” all I need to do is listen to the opening of their sales call or sales presentation to hear that they are like most sellers in America—“me centered.” Tape record your next few phone calls. Then listen to them from the prospect's viewpoint. Are you engaged? Do you want to hear more from this person? If you were hiring for a sales position at your company, would you hire this person?

Tomorrow's post will advise on how to engage prospects and sell them faster and for more money.


Data Entry Services said...

Which is why I hate sales.