Why Salespeople have the Wrong Perspective

snow white mirrorIt’s impossible to see what your prospect sees when they look at you. You can try to understand. You can apply logic, but you cannot see what they see.

Put your left hand on the left side of your face. Easy enough, right? Left hand/Left side of your face.

Now, face somebody and put your left hand on the left side of your face. Aren’t they gonna watch this action happen on the right side of your body from their perspective? Think about it. If they were to reach out and touch the same side of your face with their hand that’s on that side of their body, wouldn’t that be their right hand.

Now look in the mirror. Do you see what your prospect sees? Put your left hand on the left side of your face. What do you see in the mirror? It looks like your image is putting their right hand to the right side of their face, but if you move your left hand toward the mirror, your image will move it’s right hand but it’s the reflection of your left.

Compare a picture of yourself with your image in the mirror. Isn’t it reversed?

So, here’s the point. In a sales situation, we can’t actually see what our prospect sees. The best we can do is try to understand their point of view. Just a thought.

Do you want to learn how?

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Confessions of a Sales Coach

20 years and 60 pounds ago, I might have been called a runner. I was never built like a runner. Nor did I ever run fast enough to be anything other than a recreational runner, but I did run and I would often disappear for over an hour to clear my head and re-create.

Back to the present – If I had a bucket list, one of the first things that I would put on it would be that I want to run again and over the past 20 years, I’ve had several starts, but life gets in the way. Sometimes, when I’m coaching, I use examples from other parts of our life and last Thursday, I compared the grind of getting and exercise regimen going to the grind of getting a prospecting regimen going. Little did I know that Wes Powell was a fitness fanatic and that if you got him going on that, he had a real dark side. As we talked, I could see him using my stuff on me so that he could try to hold me accountable to work out regularly. I told him that I got a lot of email. I blog. I spend several hours coaching every day and that I have commitments to my clients. I was very good at dodging. Remember, I’ve learned to dodge from years of coaching you! I’m a great dodger!

Kai Labor Day 2011Zane Labor Day 2011So, then he asks, “So, who do you like better, your clients or your grandchildren? And I’m thinking that he’s a real (well never mind) and that this is probably what my clients think of me when I’m holding their feet to the fire. I had a coaching call with Stephanie McLaughlin at 9:15 today. She had call reluctance. We talked about who she needed to call and that she already had a call scheduled for 10 AM, but we agreed that I would call her back at 11:30 and see how she did on the three calls that she agreed to make. Two voicemail messages, one connect with a conversation with a non-prospect and at 11:20, one of the voice messages called back, they found an issue and scheduled a meeting for tomorrow. Stephanie was proud of herself and rightfully so. I finished my call with Stephanie and at 11:49 decided that I was hungry, but that I would go for a walk to be aerobic first. I had an email exchange with Carole Mahoney. Responded to a sales coaching question from Preston Bowman. Acknowledged a schedule change with Barbara Escher and a few other distractions from taking that first step.

So, then it was 12:49. Where did that freakin’ hour go? Now, I was starving.

Now, don’t ask me how, but somehow I left the house and 40 minutes later came back sweaty, breathing and I ate lunch.

I feel like Stephanie.

Wes, you feel like me?

A Tale of Two Sales Leads…

This article is a guest post by Dan MacAdam. Dan joined Kurlan & Associates in October 2010. He has upgraded our online presence and multiplied our sales. Does the story to follow sound familiar?

Oliver Twist
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of sales and marketing wisdom, and it was the age of sales and marketing foolishness…

“The O. Twist Co., a $100 million dollar porridge company, was a hot lead. Their CEO had downloaded five of our offers in one day and was racing through the marketing funnel. He was behaving just as we imagined the perfect prospect would, snatching up our top of the funnel offers, devouring our middle of the funnel offers and quickly moving all the way to the bottom, our most “sales ready” offers.

The lead was assigned to one of our salesmen, who followed up quickly. I told him this lead had researched our widget extensively (looked at pricing info, inquired about demos) and almost certainly would be interested in purchasing them. So, the salesman, Bob called and after a few pleasantries, began to explain how the widget could help Twist Co. reduce overhead and save thousands of dollars on storage costs. The prospect sat and listened through the presentation, thanked Bob and told him he’d be in touch. A few weeks later Bob made a follow up call, hoping to close the sale. The prospect told him that he had just purchased 11,000 gizmos from our closest competitor because he felt it would fix his problem more effectively. He wouldn’t need any widgets. Bob exclaimed, “You never told me you needed gizmos, we have those too!” The prospect retorted, “I didn’t know what I was looking for…and you never asked!”

Pickwick Industries was a mid-sized company that had been in the pipeline for a few months. An executive assistant poked around for a while, downloading top of the funnel offers and not really expressing any serious interest. A salesperson called to qualify the lead, assuming she would be able to cross them off the list pretty quickly. When she called, the assistant Pip picked up. He said “Wow, I’m glad you called today. Our CEO Miss Havisham was just talking about how she needs some widgets…you sell those right? Hold on I’ll put you through.”

The saleswoman asked Miss Havisham questions about her business issues and the problem she was trying to solve. How long had the problem persisted? Why did she want the widgets now? What would it cost Pickwick Industries if she didn’t fix this problem? While she was creating S.O.B and finding compelling reasons by asking tough questions, she realized that Pickwick needed both widgets and gizmos to solve their problem. She rounded the bases, qualifying, uncovering the budget and creating urgency. Miss Havisham finally shouted, “I need widgets and gizmos and I needed them yesterday!” What started as a qualifying call turned out to be the biggest sale of the year and a one call close.”

The two leads were very different. One was a decision maker of a large corporation, the other was a gatekeeper. The first lead would have been scored very highly, while the second was middle of the barrel at best. In the first scenario, the salesman assumed that he already knew the prospect’s needs and that the sales call was really just a formality. Bob based this solely on the prospect’s browsing history (and the faulty advice of an overenthusiastic marketer). Remember that sometimes a prospect doesn’t know what they want/need. Just because they indicate interest in a product or service doesn’t mean that’s the one that will best solve their problems. It’s up the salesperson to uncover the real issues and find the most effective solution.

In the second scenario the saleswoman, with a stroke of luck and impeccable timing, had a conversation with the decision maker. However, the key was her technique; she didn’t assume anything about the prospect’s needs and frustrations but took her time, followed the process and asked the right questions. It led to a cross sale and a one call close on a lead that might never have been followed up.

Lead scoring is obviously necessary, practical and advantageous when prioritizing and sifting through leads, especially if you have a high volume. But never assume a lead is qualified and ready to buy based only on what they’ve done on your website. Use the information you know about the prospect as a starting point, to begin the conversation or explore issues, but don’t skip steps in the sales process simply because they downloaded a how-to-guide.