Attention Salespeople - It's not about you!
Salespeople, in general, tend to be outgoing, engaging, energetic people. If you’re familiar with the DISC Behavior Types, they tend to be Influencers that are driven by engagement with people and motivated by recognition. They are outgoing, friendly, and value relationships. None of these characteristics are bad. In fact, most people tend to gravitate to these people and enjoy their energy.
In the not-so-distant past, people with this behavior style were encouraged to go into sales. They were often referred to as “natural-born salespeople, because of their ability to connect with people in a confident and easy-going manner which was considered the key ingredient for their success. Salespeople had to connect with people quickly, earn their trust, and then sell them a product. If you think about door-to-door salespeople that sold encyclopedias or vacuums, they had to connect, build trust, and close in a single transaction. Their job was to convince a prospect that they needed to buy their product. A common phrase to describe their skill was “that salesperson is so good, he/she could sell ice to Eskimos!” Nobody stopped to consider the fact that this only resulted in pissed-off Eskimos.
Today, this same behavior is described as the “show-up and throw-up” approach to sales. Buyers are tired of sales presentations aimed “at” them, but not “for” them. The same behavior characteristics that were so valuable in the past, can be a liability in today’s selling environment.
What caused this change? – The internet! As little as 25 years ago, consumers didn’t have access to the internet. They couldn’t just sit down and look at alternatives to your solution. They didn’t have access to customer review sites, price-matching tools, and a host of other resources that equip them to be better consumers. It now seems absurd that someone would knock on your door to try and convince you to buy their product immediately (unless you sell solar electric systems or cable TV service for homes because they seem to think this still works!?!?).
So, how do you take the positive aspects of this behavior style and develop an effective sales approach? How do you get a prospect's attention and earn the opportunity to engage in a sales discussion?
Here are a few thoughts and suggestions for your consideration.
1. It’s not about you! Prospects are not interested in what you do until they know what you can do for them. In other words, you can’t present the benefits of your product or service until you know what problem you are solving for them. Stop talking about yourself and your company. Nobody cares.
2. Your main job – make sure your customer wins! You are not the hero of the story. You are the guide (think Yoda) that will make it possible for your customer to win.
3. Focus on issues, pains, problems, opportunities, and results that are important to your prospects. To accomplish this, you need to ask questions first. Getting your Prospects’ attention is only going to happen when you talk about something that matters to them. Customers typically buy for one of two reasons – to solve a pain or achieve a gain. Once you have identified opportunities to solve a pain or help them achieve a gain, then you can introduce your solution. When presenting your solution, you must tie the benefits of your solution directly to the pain or gain that your solution addresses
4. The last step is to differentiate. You must be able to explain why you are better and different from your competitors. You must answer the question as to why you are the best choice to solve their problem.
When we lead with client issues first, we get our prospect’s attention fast. Just to be clear, this is not your entire sales process. The process above is an outline for how to get a prospect interested in engaging in a sales discussion. This is just the beginning of the process.
In the book, New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg, he refers to this as “Your Sales Story.” He suggests that all salespeople should engage in the process of outlining their sales story using the model above before engaging with a prospect.
Crafting your “Sales Story” becomes the foundation of how you communicate with your prospects. This model is an effective way to introduce yourself in networking meetings. Following this outline makes your email and voicemail communication more effective. Most importantly, by following this approach, you are focused on the client. You are no longer the “show-up and throw-up” salesperson. In your prospects’ minds, you are positioned as a problem-solver and professional that can help them.
If you’re a salesperson, I encourage you to read the book, New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg. It’s full of helpful tips designed to equip salespeople to be more effective.
If you’re a business owner or sales leader, I would encourage you to ask your salespeople to demonstrate how they engage with prospects to get their attention. Are they leading with client issues or do they “show up and throw up?” If it’s the latter, there is work to be done.
In my work developing Sales Playbooks for companies, we develop a Sales Story for each of the customer types they sell to as part of the development of a Sales Playbook. If you are interested in learning more about developing a Sales Playbook for your organization, let me know. You can click on the link below or you can call me directly at 760-889-4126.