Under-trained sales people are “cheap electioneers” whose “vote for me” attitude towards selling does nothing more than alienate prospects, says a leading international sales training guru.
With election campaigns beginning to gain pace on both sides of the Atlantic, Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, sees this as a timely reminder that throwing everything to the wall will not help sales stick, as he explains:
“In politics it’s accepted that parties will throw out policy ideas to see which ones catch the electorate’s attention and garner support. In a similar way, I’ve seen a worrying trend amongst some sales people to reel off features of a product or service to see which one attracts the prospect’s attention. In politics this method often works but in sales it is absolutely fatal.”
So how common is this sales practice, and how can sales people avoid doing it? Doug draws on his experiences at Sales Commando to give the answers:
“I’d say somewhere between 70 and 85 per cent of people who come to Sales Commando for sales training are guilty of previously blasting out facts and figures at prospects in the hope that something may be of interest and make the sale. In fact, the practice is so common I’ve actually used it in workshops to demonstrate how not to sell.
“The key trick for successful sales, which is what we teach at Sales Commando, is research, research and research. It is the job of the salesperson to define what the prospect’s problem is and then demonstrate how a product or service can solve it. Nothing less than that is acceptable practice. Yes, research takes time and effort but pays massive dividends. Going in with no fixed focus on the prospect’s needs takes no effort at all and nine times out of ten will result in no sale.”
Mr Tucker concludes: “It’s very easy to fall into the ‘vote for me’ method of selling. It’s a case of don’t like this idea? Then here’s another, and another. When all along the prospect only wants to know specifically what is relevant to them and their situation.
“Were going to be getting a great deal of electioneering by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic over the next year. Fine. We’ll sort out which policies are best for us and vote for the political party that has them. But in sales, we can’t afford to give a prospect the opportunity to vote for – or buy from – the competition. Which is why research and training are so fundamentally important to the sales process.”