you to elect me your President, because I've been a senator for 18 years. Because I went to BigshotUniversity.
Because I live in the country's most populous state. Because I've traveled the world
extensively. And I was an All-American
athlete in college. Elect me because I,,,"
would be your gut reaction to such a pitch?
If you're like most people, you'd be scratching your head, saying,
"That's nice. But what's in it for me? What
if, on the other hand, the candidate asked you to vote for him because he'd
make the country safer and more secure for you and your children? Because he'd lighten your tax burden. Clean up your environment. And make a trip to the doctor more
probably see where I'm going with this.
day, we in the United States are making some very important choices. For a President. For congressmen. For representatives. For or against ballot proposals. To a great extent, our choices will have been
directly impacted by how well each of the candidates connected with our needs,
our dreams, our fears, and our concerns.
The ones who took the time to understand what those were, and to develop
and propose programs and policies that address them - those are the ones who
will get elected. The ones who created
a sense of trust. In any competitive
situation - whether you're selling yourself to the public for an elected
office, or your product or service to a customer of your company - the one who
wins is the one who best connects with what the "customer" wants, and who earns
their trust. That's the one who wins the
world of sales in which I live, I too often encounter salespeople who don't
know, don't understand, or don't implement this simple axiom. They are so enamored of their product, so
eager to extol its virtues, so focused on showing and telling the customer
about all its wonderful features, that they forget the cardinal rule of all selling:
Customers make decisions to buy
for their own reasons, not for yours.
our first candidate - by talking about the "features" of himself - failed to
connect and build trust with us (his electorate), so too will you fail failed
to connect and build trust with your customers if all you do is talk about the
features of your product or service. And
you can't know what a customer's reasons for picking your product over that of
your competitor are - nor propose an appropriate solution - unless and until you
find out. And the way you do that is by
asking questions, and then presenting the relevant
benefits of your product or service, supported
by the appropriate features.
In a previous issue, we touched on what those questions were. The key is to ask questions
that demonstrate to the customer that you are sincerely interested in
understanding his situation, his concerns, his worries, his needs, and his
goals - that is, that you are customer-centered,
and customer-focused. This scores big points with customers, and
goes a long way to both building trust, and positioning you as a front-running
trusted advisor, instead of an as also-ran sales person. Once you have a good fix on what a "win" is
for a customer, then you're ready to present your solution. Best of all, your customer, having gotten all
his "stuff" out, is now prepared - no, eager
- to hear how you're going to help him.
a half hour to sit down and think about all the needs, wants, and goals a
customer might have, and all the concerns, worries, and reservations he might
have about your product, your company, or even you. Then jot down a few
questions designed to draw these out (for a list of questions I ask, click here). Then ask your manager to ride along with you
on your next couple of initial (qualifying) appointments to make sure you use
these questions, and to observe how they work.
I'm confident that after just a few meetings, you start seeing
significant improvement in the percentage of deals that advance to the final
stages, and that eventually close.
that's a pitch I'd vote for!