n my many years of sales experience, I have shared countless war stories with colleagues and peers. Some of those have been colossal victories and others were defeats that I did not see coming. I know I am not alone when writing this because I’ve heard “Still not sure why they didn’t choose my solution” from too many peers. Many times we would simply say “the customer has no idea as to what they were doing!” And of course as sales people with ego’s the size of the ocean, we tell our bosses that too and anyone that would listen. Obviously the presentations that we give are nothing short of an Apple product launch, so then why does the customer go with someone else? Or worse…DO NOTHING AT ALL!
I mean after all, I listened to the customer and asked open ended questions, showed empathy, presented a solution that met their needs and came within their budget. This should lead to slam dunk deals right? NOPE I don’t think so.
Read the statement above again and think to yourself for a moment on what went wrong. Believe me folks, it took me a while to figure it out.
The reason this process does not work is that you are not presenting the solution to the way the customer understands it. You see we all have different social styles that we are comfortable communicating with. Some of us are direct and to the point, others are analytical, some are expressive and others are amiable. In order to make someone open up and understand what you are saying, you need to understand their social style first and then communicate the solution to them in the manner they are comfortable in.
If you ever make a long winded presentation to an expressive and all it contains is charts and numbers, believe me when I tell you this…THEY WILL TUNE YOU OUT. You might as well be speaking Wookie to them. However if you did the same thing for an analytical, they will feel like you speak their language and fully understand them and their needs.
For instance next time you are out and about try this, walk up to a friend or family member and show them a $20 bill. Present it to them but you cannot speak English to them. Instead speak a language that you completely make up on your own. Keep pointing to the money and see if they accept it. Rest assured they probably will look at you very weird but will not take the money. After 15 seconds, just come out in plain English and tell them “I want to give you $20.” Watch how quick they snatch it away from you. It’s because you are speaking their language and they understand clearly what you are saying. This is what we fail to realize as sales people. We feel that we are proposing an obvious solution, they why is the customer not buying. It’s simple…they don’t understand your solution because you are presenting it in a language that is foreign to them!
The next time you are in a sales meeting, try to identify the person’s social style. If you have never been exposed to social styles, check out Wilson Learning’s program Building Relationship Versatility program. It will definitely help you identify social styles and learn how to communicate to the different styles.
I am not a professional writer and by no means am I trying to aspire to be one. Just wanted to share a quick note with other sales people out there striving to shatter their quota’s!
What are your thoughts about this? I would greatly appreciate feedback.
By: Faisal Usta