The pull back
“I have to tell you, I hate dealing with salespeople,” said the prospect we called on.
“Wow, someone must have really gotten you upset for you to say that! What in the world happened?” was my response.
“Oh, you know…the usual: coming into my office and telling me why I should buy what they have without even understanding what I need.”
“So they do not know what you need…. How do you know?” I asked.
“Well, they proceeded to tell me that other companies like ours have used their product, and it has really helped them. I do not even know another company like ours.”
I hear more of these types of stories, and it really gives salespeople a bad name. So here is what a salesperson’s mantra should be, “Ask. Do not tell.” Ask the prospect about his needs, his situation. Do not tell him what he needs if you do not really know.
No matter how much experience you have in sales and/or the industry you are in, if you tell a prospect that you know your product or service will help him, before asking him what his issues are, you are in deep trouble.
You may think all your prospects/clients are alike but if you hint at that idea, he will tell you otherwise. “My daddy started this company, and we pride ourselves on… (Fill in the blank).”
If you try to tell them that you know their issues without asking, you are dead, dead in the water, and rightfully so. How dare we believe that we know the issues of an organization just because we work with others like them.
Even in the same business, in the same geographic area, of the same size, or otherwise similar? And even if we really have succeeded in intuiting, or ferreting out, their situation, no one appreciates that kind of arrogance.
So what do we do? Ask! Ask about their issues, their problems. Ask about what is important to them, and ask how they have tried to solve this in the past. This will give you all of the information you need to solve their issue.
Their issue! It is no one else’s, and if you assume that it is the same as someone else’s, you have formed no customization at all. So stop it. Stop the assuming (because you know what happens when you assume), and stop telling them you know better. Remember this: No one cares what you know, only what you know about him and his issues. You must ask about these and then find the appropriate solution…for this particular client or prospect. That is what he wants.
So always ask first. Ask about this client’s issues, this customer’s situation, this prospect’s needs, this company’s wants. Ask first. And, only then, after he’s answered your questions, you can finally tell. Tell him of the solution you have for him with your company’s products or services. Because now, finally, he will be receptively listening.