Tim arrived early at the office of Rob Simon, president of
the ABC Tool & Dye Intl., so he could sit in the parking lot and review
what he wanted to say. Tim practiced each step of his presentation in his head,
exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. He knew that his
PowerPoint slides were perfectly in order and were just what he needed to land
this account. He knew what this company needed, because he has called on other
companies like this and helped them just like he can help this one. Tim took a
deep breath and walked into the building. "I've got this one down,"
he thought, and proceeded in the door.
Once the pleasantries were over, Tim got right down to
business. "Mr. Simon, I have been with my company for the past five years,
and our company has been in business for over 50 years. We are the leader in
our industry and have worked with lots of companies like yours and have been
able to meet the needs that you have."
"Well, that's why I agreed to meet with you,
Tim," stated Mr. Simon. "We do have a need for a product like yours,
and this might be a good fit."
"I'm glad you did," Tim said proudly. "Our
product line has the best reputation for least failures on the job, therefore
downtime is at the lowest in the industry, which will keep you up and running
"Great, Tim, but our service department isn't sure if
they can retrofit your model into our existing equipment," Mr. Simon said.
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that, we do it all the
time and with companies that have bigger problems than yours. As a matter of
fact, I brought a PowerPoint presentation that I believe will help you
understand why we're No. 1 in the industry."
After the presentation, Mr. Simon said, "Thanks for
the presentation, Tim, but I am still a little concerned about our existing
equipment and the retrofit we'll need to do. We can't afford any downtime with
the change, or production could be compromised."
"Mr. Simon, I understand that is a concern, but we do
this all the time. Don't worry, we can handle it," Tim said.
Fifteen minutes later, Tim said goodbye to Mr. Simon and
promised him a proposal in a few days. After Tim left, Mr. Simon buzzed his
assistant and said when that proposal comes in, to just "round file"
What happened? Tim ignored the real issue that Mr. Simon
wanted addressed and kept telling him what he felt was important. Guess what?
No one cares what you think is important, only as it applies to them. Tim
missed lots of opportunity to really deeply understand what his prospect's
issues were and assure him that not only could he solve the problem, but help
Mr. Simon understand how.
The result? Tim may very well have the best product for
Mr. Simon, but Mr. Simon didn't see it that way. When a prospect gives you a
hint of a need, address that need by asking really good, pointed questions, for
§ Tell me more about the retrofit
§ Have you had that issue in the past in
looking to change products?
§ What happened?
§ What did you do to address it at that
§ How did it effect production and at
These types of questions would not only have given Tim a
real insight to the issue, it would have also given Mr. Simon confidence that
Tim knew and could address HIS issue.
§ Stop telling about how great you and
your company are (no one cares).
§ Ask what some of the prospect's concerns
are and then dig deeper to truly understand the issue.
§ Don't be so quick with a solution, even
if it is correct; you haven't earned the right so early in the process to give
§ Listening is your best sales tool, not
your product knowledge.
Greta Schulz is Sales Consultant for
Businesses and Entrepreneurs. For more
Sales Training Tips and Tools, please sign up for her SELLutions Caffeine at http://SchulzBusiness.com or join her new
Online Sales Training Course at http://B2bSalesPlayBook.com
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