In some recent posts we’ve discuss various aspects of what I call “The Golden Rule of Networking”, which is, “All things being equal (or close enough to such), people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
We also discussed that while this is absolutely key, there are indeed times when things are not equal and thus other factors will come into play.
Now, let’s look at something outside that paradigm.
If your prospect is absolutely certain that your product or service far outweighs any costs involved (costs can include – but are not limited to – financial cost, time investment cost, lost opportunity cost, etc.) and they still don’t buy, it’s typically a function of a lack of trust.
There are salespeople who are working with products or services which indeed are terrific, and price and other costs such as the above are not an issue. Yet, they are finding far too many people telling them no.
If this begins to happen too often (and most of us have been there at one time or another) then you have a choice to make; look externally or internally.
My suggestion would be to, rather than fault the product or service, the company, the company’s lack of advertising, or other external factors, or even the economy, begin to look inward and ask yourself what you might be doing to – at best – not be inspiring their like and/or trust in you and – at worst – perhaps turning them off altogether.
Reasons could run the gamut from interrupting, coming across as defensive when facing objections, being overly enthusiastic (yes, one can indeed be too enthusiastic), having bad breath, focusing on features rather than benefits, being late for appointments, or perhaps appearing too desperate for the sale…and many others.
And, it might not be any of these. However, if you think it could be, try and enlist the help of a mentor who can critique your presentations or in some other way provide counsel and guidance.
I’m hoping you’re not getting tired of this topic because, in the next article, I want to twist this one more way.
Oh, and of course, I must ask: have you found any of the above to be the case with you during a “sales slump?”
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Good morning Bob! I fully endorse the powers of introspect and self-assessment ~ our spheres of influence can sometimes be pretty limited, but we always have the capacity to self-asses with honesty, awareness and responsibility. From there, we can determine what is working with our approach and what is not working – and then course correct accordingly.
While I’m not in ‘Sales’ per se, your post reminded me of a recent interaction I experienced with a teacher in my youngest daughter’s school. She was calling to persuade me of the benefits of a program my daughter had declined to participate in – but that the school felt would be of value to her. To do this, she spent more than 10 minutes (I redirected the conversation at that point as it really wasn’t going anywhere productive) telling me how this particular program benefits the School Board and all the reasons the program was great for her two children.
The reason I redirected the conversation was because the call was to persuade me to enlist my daughter — and in 10 minutes, the only mention of my daughter at all was that she resisted participating. This is where the points you make in your post come into play. Clearly I was expected to jump on board solely on the recommendation of parties whose investment in my daughter seemed quite distant from my own. There was a disconnect between the ‘care and passion’ of the Seller and me.
When salespeople approach clients on a cerebral level only – stated facts, benefits, persuasive reasons, etc. – and neglect to somehow let the client feel how the service or product will improve their process or business or life in some meaningful way … then both parties are at risk of leaving the exchange dissatisfied.
People like to be seen ~ and when you see them and bring them into the conversation on the level of engagement, opportunities for mutual wins increase.
Great post Bob!
Thanks again for another thoughtful post. Still making me think about the threesome of know, like and trust.
I think the issue with selling – products or services – is that there is an ingrained bias against the profession (tar with same brush and all that). It may take a great deal of time before you become liked and again there that is a multi-relational concept so that on one level you may be liked but on another not enough or enough to matter. I think sales people must recognise this and stop trying to sound the same as the next person. Being authentic is key and also recognising that in any person to person role, as in life, you cannot expect to be liked by everyone. That said one trait that is often not mastered is empathy. Try a role reversal once in a while.
Looking forward to the next post.
As always enjoy your posts. These are deeper thoughts than Jack Handey could lay on us. =0)
You are correct that it boils down to trust. In fact, trust would be the peak of your know, like, and trust triangle. When I had my knee surgery, it wasn’t about knowing or liking the doctor, it was about trusting him. There are many great books on trust, but to build trust, we need to show we care, take an interest, take action in the other’s best interest, and communicate.
As Julian supports, we have to immediately separate ourselves from other sales people. The Go-Giver gives a great example of how to do this. Get away from thinking sales is getting something from someone. Know that it is giving value to another.
Many times, it comes down to communication,
Hi again, Bob.
Do keep going with this topic – it’s so rich and meaningful. In no way is it getting tiring, and I look forward to the next twist (perhaps it’s a sustainable, lively topic because of these twists and angles and approaches to the subject that you’re inviting us to think about.)
I particularly like and recommend people re-read your list of things that could impede trust from being built. In my case, it has often been “being overly enthusiastic (yes, one can indeed be too enthusiastic), ” A strength taken to extreme can definitely turn into a weakness. I’m working on it! 🙂
– Jonathan Flaks
By the way – good luck in Orlando. I SO wish I could be at your Extreme Business Makeover’s event. Keep me posted for the next one.
Great post! I’ve recently had a few lost opportunities and had to look internally. It was a blow thinking that I wasn’t “liked”.
The change came about while listening to a personal development CD. The message was “If you blame others then you have change other’s mind. If you take the responsibility, then you only have to change you”.
Thanks for driving the point home!
Thank you, everyone, for all your terrific comments and teachings. Still another case where the Comments totally outdid the actual article. Thank you so much!!
God Bob I love this post because it goes to customer service too. I was in Starbucks…sorry, know you are a Dunkin Donuts guy…and I ordered a skinny vanilla latte. I tasted it on the way out and the guy forgot the vanilla. I need the vanilla to drink it so I went back up to that person and said, “Hey, I need vanilla in this,” handing him the cup. Granted they were busy…he was busy…I could have been nicer. He looked at me and said, “You have to get back in line.” Guess I was supposed to talk to the person at the counter taking orders, not the guy making the orders. So I got back in line. But now I go to Copper Rock Cafe, a block away. Their pricer coffee tastes the same, but they love me there. I’ll never walk into a Starbucks again.
Wendy, that example just shows how valuable every employee is to the successful running of an enterprise. That person’s lack of empathy cost that giant conglomerate a bunch of money over the next XX number of years; not just you, but those you don’t bring there with you anymore, as well as some of the people you share that story with. Will this bankrupt them? Surely not. But, if it happens enough and that kind of culture happens to spread throughout the company? Watch out.
My friend, Dan Kennedy often talks about Lifetime Customer Value or LCV. Every person in that chain represents the chain itself and can affect the LCV of any patron. One of the five areas that John David Mann and I site in Go-Givers Sell More as a way of providing value is through “Empathy.” So important, and it obviously was not shown to you. Sorry that happened. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully, it’s a lesson we can all remember, regardless of how busy we might be at the time a customer needs that empathy.