Seems like one of the major battles I am fighting these days is to rid the world of “Show Up and Throw Up Disease”! I am so aware of it because I am certain I had it as a young sales rep and now I see it every day in those who sit in our sales classes. It only comes natural you know. So many of us were hired into the sales force because we had the “gift of gab”, an outgoing personality and an infectious communication style. And then we are taught to “tell the customer about features and benefits”!
It is no wonder prospects, and even a number of our clients, don’t want to see us all that often! They set aside valuable time in their busy day to see us and when the time comes … we walk into their office and proceed to throw up all over them. Not the product of an uneasy stomach variety. I’m talking about the verbal variety. We “blow chunks” about how good our company is, how amazing this newest product is and we even find a way to make sure they know how awesome we are! And it doesn’t just happen face to face. Heck no … we can throw up on em via e-mail, phone, voice mail, social media isn’t exempt and in any number of other ways.
Like I said … happened to me 3 times already this week and it is only Wednesday as I type this. Here are a couple of examples;
- We graciously made an appointment with a Cutco knife sales rep because she was a former employee of ours. The young lady was almost at the end of her canned SUTU (show up throw up) presentation before she even asked us anything about our slicing and dicing habits around the Jacobus household. And we had to bring up the fact that we already had a set of knives, from Cutco, we were quite happy with! I bailed to go to the grocery store (akin to getting a root canal in my book) and left my very kind and patient wife to clean up the mess!
- Yesterday I was looking into some Learning Management Systems as we look to add online sales training to the services we provide our clients. I was looking forward to hearing about a particularly robust product but was sadly disappointed as the rep spent no less than 30 minutes via a webinar tool going through his demo before he even asked me a single question about my business! Because he failed to take a few moments to ask me about what we wanted to accomplish three quarters of what he said was a total waste of my time.
- And then I received an e-mail from a reputable company regarding web design services. Here are the first couple of paragraphs from that e-mail with the names changed to protect the innocent. My name is Steve and I am a representative of **********.com. Our company has been in the business of web development for over a decade and we believe that our services are unparalleled which is why we have remained at the forefront of the industry. ************.com specializes in designing professional looking websites at a very cost-effective price tag of $150. Apart from Static web design, other services that we offer include Dynamic Websites, e-commerce solutions, and Search Engine Optimization. To check our 2000+ Designs, Packages and Portfolio, head to:
Does that approach really work? Not for me …
So, what is the answer? How do we cure the disease?
We do it by asking questions about them, their business, what they value, how we can be of service! We ask those questions strategically and great intentionality to uncover where we can, if possible, bring the greatest value to them. We ask high impact, open ended questions and then, depending on how they answer, follow-up questions about what they look for in the companies they choose to do business with, what do they look for in the products and services they invest in and we ask them what is it they expect from us, their sales rep that brings them most value!
Once we have a clear picture that we can exceed their expectations, once we understand what in our “value proposition” portfolio would matter most to them … then and only then do we present any type of a solution and we do that with laser like precision instead of throwing up a verbal barrage in hopes that something sticks! If you want to see something that really works when it comes to closing more sales, at a higher margin and over a long, long period of time then let’s stop talking about us and let’s learn to ask strategically crafted questions about them. It happens to be their favorite subject!
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