Have you got happy ears?

Photo credit: Michael

Have you looked at job description for sales people lately? Have you noticed that all sales people have to be “enthusiastic”. Yeap, because sales people deal with people so they have to have that enthusiasm for their product and service. And this enthusiasm will naturally be persuasive. Because a prospect is naturally convinced by a salesperson that is knowledgeable about their product and so positive about it? Isn’t this right?

Another way to demonstrate our enthusiasm is to arrange a “demo”. In the technology industry, a demo is more often than not the first step a sales person is going to organise when dealing with a prospect. Because via the demo, we demonstrate all the nice features and attributes. Sadly though, I fear features and benefits don’t sell…

Ok, I need to stop being enthusiastic about not being enthusiastic…. but enthusiasm and demo don’t sell. Naturally, we have to have a passion for our product and service and be deeply convinced they are a right solution for the type of problems faced by prospects. We might also be too hungry and misread what prospects are saying. But, being too enthusiastic and jumping on the demo right away can be our worst enemies too and be a hurdle to the sale. Why? Here are three reasons:

1- Enthusiasm is the best way not to listen to our prospect problems. When we are enthusiastic, we are keen to share the topic of our enthusiasm. For example, I have to admit an enthusiasm for one thing: baking. Cakes, bread, you name it. Well, I am boring my friends and family to death with pictures of cakes and bread. Do I ask them about their cakes. Admittedly no. Because I am enthusiastic about it (ok, some pictures are here. Told you I was enthusiastic about it). In a sales context, when sharing details about our products, we then forget one thing. That we need to ask questions and understand the situation of our prospect to see if there is a fit with our product and services. That should be the first part of our sales process.

2- Enthusiastic people have “happy ears”. What are these “happy ears”? Well, happy ears are ears that start ringing when our prospect say “This is interesting”. Or “That is quite good”. Or “Tell me more”. So we start “telling more”, educate, give information. And we forget to ask why? When? What? What is interesting? What is good? Why do they want to know more? The list of relevant questions we need to ask when hearing “this is interesting” is endless.

3-Demonstration is a way to give information. Not a way to get information. To understand whether or not our prospect is interested, as mentioned above, we need to ask questions. Clearly, these questions might uncover that there isn’t an opportunity at all. And that leads to qualify out. But that is actually a good news. Because it will save us doing the demo, the set-up, the time spent doing it and all the enthusiasm. Questions can help to qualify out the prospect, hence being more efficient. On the flip side, if there really is a prospect, these questions will lead to understand all the important points “before” the demo.

Remember, people only buy for two reasons. To move towards pleasure. Or to move away from pain today or from pain tomorrow. Period. Nothing else. Nothing more. I don’t think they buy because they deal with someone enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong, enthusiastic people do sell of course. However, the reasons why their prospects buy are not the reasons they think and it’s certainly not because they’ve arranged a demo. And not really knowing the true reasons a prospect buy is, in the short or long run, a big issue for an organisation…

As a last point, I need to confirm that demo can be useful. Clearly. But I stress it. Only once we’ve asked all the right questions on the problems the prospect have, what has been tried to fix the issue and the decision process that is in place to decide if your product and service is relevant. Because once we know all these, we can highlight in our demo all the points that are relevant to your prospect. If we haven’t done our home work, demo should stand for one thing:

Don’t Even Make One