Sitting next to a pair of salesmen at the Birmingham, Alabama airport last Thursday, all they talked about was what they were going to talk about. Yes, I was eavesdropping, yet, I couldn’t help myself given their subject matter.
For 45 minutes, these men, most likely in their mid-30’s, focused on all of the points they were going to make when meeting with a prospect later in the day. Not once did they reference any questions they would ask, fixated as they were on their beloved talking points. At one point one them actually said, “If he says that, here’s how we’ll talk him into changing his mind.” They clearly had a gift for gab, and were gleefully planning to use it.
What made the situation most interesting is when I learned that these two were with a well known global company often touted for having one of the best sales training programs. I suspect people on the receiving end of the kind of selling they were practicing would disagree with that kind of acclaim.
This is selling at its worst and it is all too common. What these two compatriots forgot was the most important factor – the customer. If they had taken just a moment to think and discuss how the customer would want to be treated, maybe it would have dawned on them the error of their ways. Then again, maybe not.
Great selling begins and ends with creating a buying experience that prospects want to have. If each and everyone of us simply took the time to plan and create that, salespeople, in general, would not have the poor reputation earned by people like the two I witnessed. Delivering buying experiences instead of engaging in traditional selling is one of the foundations of Creating a Yet, a core method in Sales Yoga.
Just because someone has the gift for gab does not mean that should it be used on buyers. I’m sure the customers of those two men would strongly agree.