Why can I sell your stuff better than you?

When I asked Bob Jiguere why he was such a good salesman, he put a twinkle in his eye, a sly smile on his lips and asked, “The right hair tonic?”

Here’s the real reason. I don’t care. Seriously. I don’t care nearly as much as you. Take Doug for instance. (I should use Pete, but he’s busy with Art, Wine & Networking and How to Increase Sales in your Small Business. He’s to tired to fight back.)

Anyway, Doug’s a really smart, really successful guy. MIT Graduate, Entrepreneur, Former VP, Frequent Speaker, obviously an expert in his field. If you ask him what his field is, he might respond by saying something like this, which is absolutely well written, truthful, and on point. If you ask me what he does, I might say something like this, “Different things for different clients…….What do you do here? Do your salespeople sell or take orders? How educated are they? How do you keep them informed?” Lots of little questions get lots of little answers and LOTS of involvement by your prospect.

Another difference happens sometime later when I don’t assume that the issues that we’ve been talking about are important to my prospect. Somebody who knows the answers will say something like, “I’ve got a pretty clear idea of what’s going on here and what needs to be done. When do you want me to start?” and the prospect replies, “Oh, the assumptive close! Very good, but I’m not there, yet.” Whereas I might say/ask something like, “We’ve been talking for a while and you’ve been sharing some pretty interesting stuff. It sounds like you’re not happy with some of it. Why do you put up with it?” and the prospect comes back with, “I didn’t know there was anything that I could do.” RIGHT HERE IS WHERE IT HAPPENS! The average salesperson says, “Sure there is! Wonder Dog is here! and he tells the prospect everything he needs to know to say, “No!” I ask, “There isn’t?” and they’re mine.

However, the biggest difference isn’t my technique. It’s my head and that I’m gonna leave for somebody else to comment on.

One last point: I have left out the one reason that Doug will someday be able to sell his stuff better than I could sell his stuff. Product knowledge! But not the way you think. I’m still not gonna answer there questions the way you will. I’m still not gonna make a proposal unless it’s a done deal. Someday, Doug’s gonna learn how to use his product knowledge to ask questions in such a way that his prospects will ask something like, “So, do you think you can save my business?”……..and he’ll answer with the question that gets him the business.

But, (sorry Doug) probably not today. Maybe tomorrow?

WHAT? No more sales calls?

Yesterday, while I was facilitating my Applications Session, Cindy asked whether I thought it appropriate to make cold calls via email. I asked several questions before she admitted that although it was great to use email to get re-orders, exchange documents, approve proofs, after a customer was in the fold, nothing was going to happen until they met face to face.

Then I check out Dave Kurlan and he’s talking about Seth Godin and “the death of the sales call”. So I go read Seth’s post and decide that Seth might be the kind of guy that disqualifies himself right out of doing business with me. Then I read his post about Jet Blue and I ask myself, I wonder if this guy’s reading his own blog.

If you haven’t read them, go read them or you won’t get this part. On one hand, Seth is saying that buyers are much too busy and that we as salespeople should just answer the prospect’s questions, take their money, deliver our product or service and wait for the problems or repeat sales. On the other hand, Seth is saying that bad customers should be fired. (I agree with that.) However, that bad customer probably affected the satisfaction of at least his nearest neighbors. (I’m reminded of the last time that I flew Northwest, several years ago. I wrote the CEO and Chairman of Northwest and they said, “Too bad. We’re not responsible for the behavior of our passengers.” The hell they aren’t. It was the last time I flew Northwest. Northwest sucks and if you want a copy of the complaint letter, let me know. They suck.”) Sorry, I digress, but it proves the point. Northwest lost me for life. If they are the only way to fly somewhere, I’ll walk or not go. Now, if you lose a customer because you screwed up, shame on you, but if you lose a customer because another customer drove them away, you should be upset with that customer, but you should also be upset with yourself for letting them in. So, Seth, have you read Dave Kurlan’s book Baseline Selling? Did you read the part about the customer being qualified to do business with you in every way? How am I supposed to figure out if they’re qualified if we don’t have a conversation? How am I supposed to find out if this one idiot is gonna cost me 12 customers for life? Money isn’t the only qualification. What if they’re dumb enough to buy a square peg for their round hole?

I for one don’t want to be the one that’s dumb enough to sell them.

Door to Door or Telemarketing

Pete Caputa advised me to spend time regularly reading other blogs. Philippe posts about Marketing & Sales. He’s made three posts recently that you might enjoy:

Door to Door or Telemarketing – Here’s the secret! If the prospect doesn’t know that you’re knocking on their door cold or calling them cold, will they still resist?

B2B Cold Calling – I love statistics, just not when it comes to selling. I’ve always struggled with anything other than 0% closed or 100% closed. You’re either a client or your not. Having made a few B2B (as well as B2C) cold calls, I may be able to tell you that I made 200 calls so far this month and closed 2 sales and I may be able to tell you that I was 200 for 38 the month before. But, really, can I really expect to close 10 sales next month if I make another 200 calls?

Bullies and Sales – Seriously, do you appreciate it when a prospect is pressuring you to let them buy. Do they think that throwing a lot of money at you, promising you a lifetime of referrals, and promising to be the dream customer is really gonna want to make you do business with them? By now, you’re laughing, but what if this were real? What if you had such a clear understanding of what needed to be done, that your prospect knew it without you saying anything. What if you had the guts to tell a prospect that you didn’t want to do business with them because you didn’t think that they were the type that would refer other customers to you and that your pricing is dependent on one customer leading you to two others? Ask anybody who knows me. I am absolutely a bully, but I’m a bully who says that he doesn’t want your business. You’d be surprised how hard people fight back to buy when you as the salesperson say, “I’m not convinced.” Philippe gives the answer, “Ask. Listen.”. He just doesn’t do it enough. I say, “Ask. Listen.” “Ask. Listen.” “Ask. Listen.” “Ask. Listen.” until they’re asking, “Now can I buy?”

Please go tell Philippe what you think of his posts.