Saturday, 31 May 2014

4 false starts to avoid in selling

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you know within just a few seconds from the start that your sales call has got off to a bad start? 

You have got off on the wrong foot.

Movie clapper board from auction at Christies
Unlike a movie recording you cannot say "cut" , "take 2"  " action !"  but you have to plough on regardless because a sales call is live.

Somehow  the 'magic words' didn't come to mind and that fluency at the start evaded you, the words just blurted out and were ineffective.

You had a false start.

Do you remember this
Poster on London Underground
from London 2012 Olympics ?

Here are four false starts to avoid :-

1.   Skydiver salesperson

The Skydiver parachutes in with those slip-of-the-tongue openers such as ".. I was in the area so I thought I would drop in ..." ,  sometimes English folk say 'pop 'in'.

On a phone call the equivalent expression might be something like " I'd like to have a  little chat about..'

The danger of such blather is that it can convey a disrespect for the client's time and conveys a lack of planning.

Yet on the other hand it is equally ineffective to go to the other extreme.

2. The ‘ Uriah Heep ‘  “be I ever so humble “start

This merely comes across as rather creepy and falsely self deprecating. You are to serve a client not to be servile. Similarly it gives the client the wrong impression of the value of the topic of  discussion.

3.   The nervous gabbler
Tearing off at break neck speed conveys nervousness. Key sales benefits can often be blurted out and their power lost.  It is best not to say “ engage before speaking” as it confirms what is actually going on.

4.  The ‘chat gap’

With some clients some small talk at the start may be necessary to break the ice. The danger of too much waffle on the other hand can irritate a client and soon been seen as wasting their time.

Should a client open with a story or joke avoid being pulled into inadvertently capping their story, joke, holiday experience.

When two anglers entangle 

I had it explained to me once as the situation when two fishermen meet. The first fisherman says "Today I caught a fish this big."

 Needles to say the other" Well yesterday I caught a fish even bigger"  and so the capping and exaggeration continues back and forth.
Much as many of us like to deny that we are at fault on this – the danger is quite common.
We can all be bores!  If you don’t think so – you probably don’t know yourself very well

A cure for the chat gap

Here is a fun exercise you may care to try.

Do you remember the Olympic rings on
Tower Bridge for London 2012 ?
Imagine there was a new Olympic category for the most boring person in the world what would be the subject you would speak about to win the gold medal for your country ?

(Fortunately I don’t have to bother with this exercise myself you understand because everybody in the world I meet is totally fascinated in what I have to say about classical choral singing, my allotment and Chelsea FC (NOT!!!).... well you get the point.

If you really don’t know ask your life partner, spouse  a really close friend... They will give you the answer often quicker than is comfortable for you to receive!

The point is not to eradicate your personality but to keep your passions under control , You do not want to stifle them for they are part of your personality but keep them in check. If you know what your bore subject(s) are you are more like to keep them in check.

Some typical bore subjects include:

  • The awful traffic you had to endure to get to the client / or the trouble parking ...
  • Sports
  •  Your own children ( client’s children however are really interesting to the client- your kids – only so so)
  • Hobbies....

And yes  even  Business!!! Some salespeople can be  very boring to clients  about work

Do any of these spring from your lips from time to time. ?

The main cure is for better preparation of the call

After establishing rapport with a first time prospect, 

try using this model to open the business discussion

Purpose Statement

Example: “The purpose (or reason) for my call is to find out more about your company and let you know more about us.”

Attention Getter

Example relevant to a HR manager: “Based on our experience in this field we know that one of the major issues when buying training is how to measure its effectiveness.” (fact)

U turn into question

Example: “Before I tell you how we go about this, what I would like to do is ask you a number of questions about the background, is that OK?”

First Question

"What type of programmes have you run in the past?”

Related Links

5 ways of getting attention at the start of a sales call

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