I have always been a fan of series. They keep people interested as well as provide a bit of anticipation that something good is in the offing. With that said here begins a series I will call Sales Management Issues or SMI. Since I spent three years in the Army I have grown fond of acronyms.
I have managed a fair amount of salespeople who run on at the mouth. The main reasons theydo that is:
- They want to prove that they know the product.
- They want to please the customer.
- They want to please the manager.
- They are infatuated with features and benefits.
- They think that knowledge transfer will close business.
- They desperately need approval.
This approach to sales makes me really cranky! I’m inherently against using hammers to get my point across so I’ll offer a technique the rep can use to eliminate the demo craze. “Jim, I could talk about my product for the next three hours but I’m guessing that would drive you nuts so let’s hear a bit about your situation and then I’ll share more about how we might be able to help.” You can adapt this approach using a variety of words and phrases to get the prospect to talk first.
And then (I love this) I tell reps that you cannot (under penalty of death) talk about the product until the prospect has identified 2-3 key issues that in some way, shape, or form affect them in an adverse way. Brother, does this change the dynamics of the sales call! It also makes it almost impossible to do the dreaded double D-Data Dump, which as we all know is the crutch of the sales wounded.
And what’s wrong with offering a little reward for good behavior? If I see a rep do this I’ll take him or her out to an upscale place for lunch or stop by a liquor store and buy a nice bottle of wine for them. People are more apt to change if the change seems fun, there is structure in how to change, and there is a spiff attached to the effort.
The Final Thought: “There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you’re busy interrupting.” Mark Twain