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Don't Answer Unasked Questions!

If you have been in sales for any length of time it is likely that you will have made lots of the common mistakes. I know I did! Today I received an emailed sales tip from Terry Ledden, who is sales trainer in Ottawa with the Sandler Sales Institute. His point is a good one.

Your goal as a sales person is to move a prospect through the sales process and get the close. You try to do this as quickly as possible. You also want to be sure that what you are selling is a good fit for what your client needs. However, it is the client who will tell you what is important to them you should not assume you know what is important for your client.

Terry's example goes as follows ...

The STORY: I'm reminded of a salesperson in a furniture store helping a young couple look for a dining room set. After the couple picked out the set that they loved, and the salesperson had checked and confirmed that it was in stock, and the order form had been written, the salesperson decided to show the young couple how easily the drawers opened and closed on the buffet. He let them know that the smooth ride of the drawers was due to ball bearings. The wife lost all enthusiasm for the furniture. She then told her husband that she couldn't possibly have anything with ball bearings in their house because she had swallowed a ball bearing as a little girl and nearly died. She turned and left the store. The husband mumbled his apologies and followed her out.
Did either the wife or the husband ask why the drawers opened and closed so easily? No! The salesperson answered a question that neither of these buyers asked. Other buyers may have cared why; these buyers didn't.

The RESULT: Canceled order. Salesperson frustration. And the lesson this salesperson may learn is that you never say there are ball bearings. He may be convinced that the sale was lost because of those ball bearings. And if I come into the store specifically looking for a dining room set with ball bearings, what chance do you think there is that I'll ever be told about them? The sale was lost because an answer was given to a question that was never asked. Ball bearings had nothing to do with the sale being lost.

Terry goes on to a discussion around this situation.

Sales is a funny business, your job is to provide your product to meet the needs of your client. It is not to coerce people into buying something they don't want, but if you have met their needs and they have agreed to buy there is a very real opportunity to keep talking and stumble on a reason for the client to change their mind.

So my advice to sales people is that when you have the sale ... stop selling!