Over the usual cup of coffee before the start of the morning sales meeting the conversation drifted to what was always our favorite subject: what is the easiest way to connect with a customer and get a response?
We all agreed that the process of selling in the U.S. today has just about been ruined with the role of the salesman having been reduced to that of an order-taker. Real human interaction and interchange in selling is disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate and both the salesperson and the public suffer as a consequence. And now with the advent of voice mail questions and answers, the dehumanization of society was increasing rapidly. Where did the salesperson fit into this new, changing culture?
Then we came upon the answer. What is singularly missing in these “modern times” is genuine interest in the prospect. This is clearly something that is not found when interacting with the voice mail maze of most companies. It is also missing from the online orders that take place in spite of cookies and other devices designed to make you think they are interested in you only because they now have so much information on you!
This key is interest. It seemed clear to us that a sincere interest in another human being only comes from something else that is also alive. With this crucial element missing from the interchange between client and salesperson, is it any surprise that difficulties develop in the selling process?
An, we found it somewhat comforting to realize that this is the one thing that we can bring to the picture that is not found in a computer to add value to the process
I started thinking about this and was able to see that when I was interested in something it seems to become more real to me.
I recalled one time when I was interested in a new car, after going out to look it over the one I liked, I noticed that on the way back from the dealer it seemed that there were loads of this type of car that I had never noticed before? There seemed to be a direct correlation here as the car had now become more real to me because of my interest.
So, I began pulling a string on this train of thought and I realized, if you’re selling cars, why not ask the prospect, “What do you want to buy this car for?” instead of just talking about all the mechanical features and advantages? This way you maintain your interest in the customer and they become more interested in you as a result. Further, you become more real to them and you also might discover what they really want to buy.
In putting this all together, I also realized that the salesman must be genuinely interested in the customer and what is unique about him/her and not be thinking about “selling” him at all. And then the penny dropped!
I figured out that the moment anyone realizes that you find their problems interesting, they won’t leave you alone. They will want more of what you have (your interest in them!). They will want to talk to you which is the first step to any successful sale.
Apparently, having another person that is really interested is so scarce a commodity in the world today that you immediately distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack just by that fact alone.
This country is over-sold in the extreme. This over-communicated society has led to individuals becoming numb to the onslaught of the ever-increasing avalanche of information being thrown at them on a daily basis. It seems that I may have sorted out a workable answer to that age-old question about how to contact people and get a positive response.
So, I started thinking about what is guaranteed to turn them off and get a negative response. Here is what I came up with:
Just about the last thing they need is someone else telling them that they are wrong as they get enough of that on a daily basis from living life. You will almost never win by proving you are right at his expense. He will find a way to not give you the contract. Don’t criticize the competition; find a way to get him to see the value you are to him. Maintain friendly relations with the client. Remember that old saying:
“All things being equal, people would rather buy from their friends. All things not being equal, people would STILL rather buy from their friends.”
Logic never sells anything. It is a well-known fact that people buy emotionally and then justify it logically, after the fact. If they see only the “logical sense” of what you are saying but you have created no emotional impact, you will rarely close the cycle. An interesting note is that value is a subjective concept but it relates directly to how much something is wanted. If they consider that they want something it is valuable. They will want it when they develop the emotional connection with what you’re selling.
Sell the feeling not the object. In this way, you’ll connect with what is really important to the customer. Logic makes people think . . . emotion makes people act!
SALES TALK: By this, I mean any kind of a canned or rote script that is “guaranteed” to bring about a closed sale. The minute a prospect gets the idea they are being “sold” they will put up resistance.
Any conversation with the customer must be from you as a result of your interest in them, only then it will you become real to the customer.
And here is the opposite side of the coin of what gets people to respond positively:
This is far and away the most important thing to know about dealing with people on any level. They are interested in themselves, their own lives, their business, its problems, challenges and difficulties. Why not parallel this by you being interested in them? At least you’ll both be on the same page at that point. If you are not interested in them, you really should not be selling to them because of the link between interest and reality. No interest = no reality = no sale!
They will be interested in you only when you’re interested in them!
Also, if you haven’t done your homework, it will be visible in your delivery. If you are not interested in him or you go into the presentation thinking, “ This is a waste of time,” it will communicate to him and he will resent it.
If you secretly believe that the world is composed of suckers and you are “putting one over on them,” in your selling activities, this attitude will show up and communicate to the prospect. You will fail in the long run. No matter how numb he’s gotten, he can still dimly recognize insincerity in your lack of reality on him. He will react negatively to this.
It will be found that if you are passionately interested in your product or service AND you are interested in him, he will become interested in YOU.
Still, it is your interest alone that will carry your message across to him.
So, ideally, don’t even try to “sell” at all. If you really communicate with reality, you’ll end up with more business than you can handle. They can’t get enough of it.
- INTEREST IN THEM MAKES YOU MORE REAL TO THEM
- IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN THEM, THEY’LL BE INTERESTED IN YOU
- INTEREST CREATES AGREEMENT
- AGREEMENT CREATES SALES
Copyright © 1998 by Daniel Jacobs