knowing when to shut up in sales

Selling Means Knowing When To Shut Up

Gee Ranasinha Sales

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For Pete’s sake, please just shut up and stop ‘selling’ to me.

Sorry to be so rude, but I’m trying to find out whether your product or service is right for me. That’s difficult for me to do when all you do is talk at me.

I’ve done my homework. First, I searched online for solutions. I’ve narrowed-down the choice to a lucky chosen few.

What Do I think of Your Sales Patter? Not Much, Actually

How did I decide who made the grade? Well, I can tell you that very little had to do with all that corporate rhetoric and mind-numbing corporate chest-beating that I find all over your website. You may thing that all that boasting and unsubstantiated boasting makes you look awesome. But I don’t believe a word of it – never have, if I’m honest.

I have more trust in online opinions, reviews, and blog posts. Yes, these are written by strangers that I have no connection with. But I trust them a damn sight more that I trust you. Doesn’t say much for what I think of you now, does it?

Anyway, as I say I have the lucky ones shortlisted. Now the hard work really starts. You’d think that the rest of the process would be easier, wouldn’t you?

Far from it.

You see, now I have to deal with a representative of your organization that prefers to talk at me, rather than with me. Someone who is more interested in what they’re selling, as opposed to what I want to buy. This is where the real agony begins.

These so-called “salespeople” don’t let me get a word in edgeways. They’re running on gobbledegook autopilot, spouting out stories and comments that, clearly, they’ve vomited out a thousand times before. They talk over me, and use a tone that implies that I’m somehow ignorant because I don’t see or agree with their point-of-view. They’re not interested in my circumstances (other than if I have the budget), or even whether selling their wares would actually be the best solution in my particular situation.

It’s almost as though they’re thinking that as long as they talk, the less chance I have of saying ‘no’. Little do they know, right?

I’m Already In The Buying Phase, And You Don’t Even Know It

You know what I’d really like? For them to talk less and listen more. You see, if they’re talking then they’re not listening. And I’d really like them to listen to me.

Why aren’t there more sales reps out there asking me questions rather than spouting hyperbole? Because rattling-off ‘features/advantages/benefits’ is a gazillion times easier than actually taking the time to learn about the customer’s needs, wishes, and goals.

Today, however, that’s what I expect. More than that, it’s what I deserve.

I don’t want salespeople repeating marketing copy or technical specifications. I can find all that stuff myself on the website. I don’t need someone telling me things I already know. If I wanted a parrot, I’d buy one.

I don’t want their biased opinion on how the product or service compares against the competition. In fact, I’m betting that I know more about how it stacks up against the other guys than they do. I’ve done my homework online, remember? I already know what it does, how it helps me, and how much it costs.

What I want to know now is whether I’m comfortable doing business with you, rather than someone else. And I’ll be honest: at the moment, things aren’t looking that great for you…

“Sales” Is (Now) Spelled With A Lowercase “s”

By the time most customers get in contact with a brand, they have already worked-out for themselves whether the value proposition is right for them.

What they’re now looking for is confirmation that what they’re doing is the right thing. Now, they want to hear from someone to either validate their potential choice, or provide an alternative recommendation based upon the customer’s own needs.

Salespeople aren’t selling products or services as much as they are selling trust.

As a result, the role of a salesperson has changed. Before, selling was about persuading someone to buy. Now it’s more about advising and consultation than about features and benefits. Customers want confirmation that what they’re buying addresses the problem they’re trying to fix. They’ve done their research – they’ve got a shortlist.

It’s about making sure that the customer’s buying the right solution for their particular situation. Even if that means advising the customer that they should buy from someone else.

About the Author
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Gee Ranasinha

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Gee Ranasinha is CEO and founder of KEXINO. He's been a marketer since the days of 56K modems, teaches marketing and behavioral economics at a European business school, and was noted as one of the top 100 global business influencers by sage.com (those wonderful people who make financial software).

Originally from London, today Gee lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son.

Find out more about Gee at kexino.com/gee-ranasinha, follow him on Twitter at KEXINO, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ranasinha.

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