Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005
The other day I received a call from a telemarketer selling a website "starter kit" for small businesses. If you are reading this right now, then you undoubtedly know that I have a website. Normally, I would quickly get the telemarketer off the line so I could get back to showing people how to make more money. But this call got my attention because I thought that this might be a potential service that I could recommend to my clients. So I decided to listen to this sales pitch to evaluate the offering and the approach that the telemarketer used.
Well the rep started by going straight into a sales pitch. She was using the age-old technique of trying to complete her benefits-loaded-sales-pitch before I knew what hit me. This technique is very similar to television, radio, or print advertising where if you show your ad to enough people with a pulse, then you will eventually find a few people who actually need the service.
Instead of getting annoyed with the sales rep, I decided to have fun with the call. Once she was done with her somewhat lengthy pitch, I asked her "Do you have any idea what I even want?" Well of course, she did not because she had not asked me a single question. I could tell during her pitch that she was tense by the sound of her voice. So I started to ask her questions about the service. She answered my questions very well. I noticed by her voice that she was getting more relaxed and comfortable by my asking questions of her. I guessed that she likely was thinking that she had a buyer or a hot-prospect on the line.
Once I had asked enough questions, I told the rep that this service was not for me as I already have my own website (through the conversation, she never asked this critical, obvious question). I told her that I would keep her service in mind for clients that might need a website starter kit. I could tell that she was distressed. She tried a final closing attempt on me by pleading "Well, don't you want to at least try it out?" I said "No way - do you have any idea what a pain the a%$ changing web hosting services is?"
Lest you think of me as cruel for wasting this poor sales rep's time, I remind you that as buyers we do this to salespeople everyday when we consider making a purchase. Have you ever asked many questions of a salesperson only to go home, think over the decision, and then never buy the product? Many salespeople and entrepreneurs put up with this behavior from prospects because they exhibit this behavior themselves when making purchases.
* QUESTION: Who was in control of the sales call?
* ANSWER: The prospect (me).
* QUESTION: Why didn't I buy?
* ANSWER: Because I had no pain that the service could fulfill.
If the seller had followed these 3 simple rules, she could have been on to the next suspect on her list, instead of wasting 20 minutes on a no-sale conversation:
1. Ask questions first to find a pain to solve. If no pain, then move one to the next suspect!
2. Don't give away free consulting. Keep your leverage until you know that the prospect is likely to buy your product or service.
3. When you find pain, leverage this to make the sale. People will pay a lot of money for the things that they really want.
Too many companies don't invest in the best for their sales-people. They expect you to be already trained in sales or a "natural". Well naturals aren't born, they are made. If your company isn't investing in you, then invest in yourself. People who truly make things happen, are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want.
© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at (http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/) and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at (http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/)