Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The secret to "sales..." Don't take the first NO for an answer!

Recently, while sitting in a comfy chair on my front lawn, a door to door salesman approached my neighborhood. I watched as the man meandered down my cul-de-sac from house to house. As he made his way to me, he approached and this is how the interaction went down:

"Nice green lawn," the man said. "Do you take care of it yourself?"
"Yes," I replied.

"Well, let me tell you about my company," he proceeded to explain for several minutes that his company (a national lawn treatment firm" could "treat" my lawn for a mere $59 bucks a week.

I replied, "what is the 'benefit' of the service your company provides?"

He paused and told me that the service of his company would "give me a nice green lawn."

I tried to be nice. Really....I tried. My mind was quantitatively taking apart and rearranging everything the salesman said, checking it against theory and the 10 Step Selling Sequence, the features, advantages, and benefits model and reporting discrepancies by the dozens...I "tried" to be nice; but sometimes, well, it's just tough.

So, I said to the man, "basically, you want me to pay you $59 per week for something I already have?" "That doesn't make sense to me, does it to you?"

The man quietly handed me two brochures and left.

Now, I am not dogging or ragging on a door to door, cold-call canvassing salesman, no, not at all. In fact, his job is difficult at best. However, with the proper attitude, and an understanding of the building blocks of the selling process, the salesman could be in a much more lucrative career choice.

The point I am making is that so many sales people get sent out into the marketplace without the proper training. Twenty minutes before the man came by, I was looking at my lawn thinking I should do something about the huge dandelion crop that has infested its lovely way across the Texas Panhandle and into my lawn this Spring. I was even "willing to pay" for a treatment for such a service (as I figured I was going to have to spend money on post emergent granules or spray anyway).

However, I was not qualified by the other words, he did not fish around long enough with me to uncover a 'need' that I have from which I could 'benefit' from his service company....he just took "NO" for an answer.

You see, in the sales business, it is imperative that one shows the true "benefit" of a service or a product for that matter...again, it's the "what's in it for me, the customer" that makes the sale happen. When you build benefit statement after benefit statement, you eventually find that you have developed a unique selling proposition (USP) that actually makes YOUR business (product or service) different than all the others. If you build the USP well enough, you show the potential customer or client that "switching" to, or "choosing" the competitor is not economically viable.

As for the two brochures left behind, on the cover of each were three benefit statements, one dealing dandelions and unwanted weeds....hmmm, maybe, just maybe you too see the importance of having a trained sales force? Or at the minimum, a sales force that has at least read their own brochures.

Dr. D

1 comment:

  1. One thing I have learned in my job is that most people don't read. Seriously, you can put something is BIG BOLD PRINT and most people still won't read it.

    Good luck with your lawn. I am going with the hard and fast if you keep it short enough it looks like grass rule this year.