People Hate Being Sold. So Don’t Sell Them

People hate being sold. Of course, people want things. If they are in the business of buying and using PCBs for example, they need to buy them. But they want to feel they are in control. They want to “decide” on their own, (or so they think) without someone chattering in their ear about how great their particular boards are.

They find being convinced insulting if not tedious. They can see a sales pitch coming from a mile away and that is why we all have such a hard time getting appointments with them.

Can you really blame them? They have heard it all before. The same old spiel. “We’re the best!” “We’re better than the other guys.” “Buy your boards from us and you will not regret it.” We have 99% on time delivery and Quality.” “ The customers we work with love us to no end. I can have one of them call you if you would like.”

And the worst part is that they are so busy talking, that they don’t even take the time to stop and listen to what they, the customer, wants.

All these sales reps care about is getting their point across in less then ten minutes. They don’t even take time to reflect on the buyer’s face, on her eyes…on her yawning. These sales people don’t even bother to look for feedback from their buyer. All they really care about is making the sale, no matter what.

No wonder it does not work!

No wonder customers do not want to see them!

No wonder they cannot even get their phone calls returned.

But instead of seeing the error of their ways these sales people blame the problem on the buyers, especially the young buyers and their favorite targets are of course the Millennials. 

You can hear them crying in their beer at the 99 in Boston or the Keg in Toronto or the Hard Rock in LA.

“These kids they have buying now, they don’t care, they don’t have any loyalty at all. You can’t even get them to return a phone call, never mind get to see them. They won’t go to lunch; they don’t play golf and they sure as heck don’t want to hear anything about the product. All they care about is Facegram and Instabook, and Twitter and that LinkedIn. Those are the only things they pay attention to. It’s not like it used to be. You used to be able to develop a relationship and friendship with buyers but not anymore.”

Follow me? I’m sure you have heard all of these excuses before. Yes, that’s right, excuses, because that’s all they are. And you know what? I have been around for a long time and these guys weren’t any more successful with their techniques, thirty years ago than they are today. Nothing has changed for them because they have never changed. In the end their approach to sales is all about them, not the customer and that’s why it didn’t work in 1985 and why it doesn’t work today.

A sale is all about the customer. What the customer wants, what the customer needs and not what the sales guy wants him to have.

Here from a new book called Dream First: How to quit Overthinking and Make it Happen, By Ellen Marie Bennett are 10 ways to sell without making the people feel like a transaction.

  1. Give a brief overview of why you are doing what you do.
  2. Flip your script and make it about them. Ask them pertinent questions about their company and what they need to be successful. Get their story out of them and then you can find out how you can genuinely help them.
  3. Ask questions about what they hope for and what they need.
  4. Listen like you’re a doctor trying to diagnose your patient’s ailments. Listen more than you talk. Listen 10X more than you talk.
  5. Take notes of everything they say so you won’t forget anything.
  6. Make sure you understand clearly what they want. Ask them to clarify if you are not sure you get what they need and want.
  7. Be human and be relatable. Get them to relate to you. This sounds like a touchy-feely kind of tactic and it might be, but listen up, it is the most important arrow in your tactical quiver. Use it wisely and for heaven’s sake be sincere!
  8. Be efficient. Keep the meeting short and sweet. Get the info you need; hit on the points you want to make. show them what you need to show them and then hit the road.
  9. Use your emotional intelligence to gauge interest levels and if they seem busy, stressed, or need to move on. Pick that up, be sensitive and give them room to graciously go do what they need to do. They will be grateful, believe me.
  10. Be proactive and recap what you are going to do. Lay out the next steps and then send a follow up email to make sure that you are both on the same page. Keep that ball rolling from one meeting to another.

And one last thing. Remember what they told you they needed and get to work on providing exactly that. It’s not rocket science. If you did a good job, you got them to talk about what they need from you. Now all you have to do to seal the deal is deliver what they want. And yes, you’ll make the deal. It’s only common sense.