September 23, 2005

Make me...

I have spent considerable time this morning selling and being sold. It is my profession to try to get people to do what I want them to do. That is selling. Part of selling is convincing, and there are many ways to go about persuading others to do your bidding. I have boiled it down to three steps: need. plan. benefit. Prove to them they need what you are selling. Tell them how you are going to make it happen. Expound the benefits. More on this in a minute.

One of the telecommunication giants called me today and wanted me to switch my telephone service. She skipped over the need part, I NEED a phone for the business. She told me what she could do. She really hyped the benefits part -- namely saving money, while getting more and better services.

I quoted some new business opportunities today. The customer had the need, they asked me to quote. I told him how we would make the parts, the leadtimes, the price. The benefits are the better price, the consolidation of vendors, the quality etc. Will he buy from me? Time will tell.

In both of these cases there is a clear attempt at persuasion, trying to change someone's mind. I tell you now, it is impossible to change one's opinion. I bought the new phone service. Not because the salesperson explained the need, the plan, and the benefits, but because the old company pissed me off. I cannot use their voicemail when I travel. I have asked them to fix the problem. They claim it is not a problem. Whoops, mistake one in sales. Perception is everything. If I think there is an issue, then there IS one. It is the job of a good salesman to exploit the perceptions of his customers. Highlight what I am currently doing right, exploit the competitor's mistakes. In this case the other guy was also charging double. I made the decision to switch.

I heard a coach the other day try to answer how he motivates his players to work hard even though they are out of the playoff chase. He mumbled and stumbled and dropped the cliches. The coach knows the truth, you cannot motivate someone, just create an atmosphere where the individual wants to motivate himself. There is nothing you can do to make me do something I do not want to do. You can reason, argue, punish and even torture me, but until I want to do the action, nothing will happen. My motivation may be that I want you to quit covering my testicles with peanut butter and then offering me to hungry, rabid squirrels. In any case I convince myself to act. For the athlete it may be pride, money, or just the need to compete. In any case the coach must play on those emotions and desires to create the atmosphere where each and every player continued to do his best. The approach may be teamwide and or individually created. What "motivates" me probably is different than that which gets you to perform.

The same is true of persuasion and sales. I have to create the atmosphere where you want to buy from me. That is why I offer the need, the plan, the benefits to you. These are the munitions you will use to blow up the barriers to my success you have built mentally. I have to create the atmosphere where you will do my bidding. I offer the obvious proof by examining car sales. A new BMW or Rolls is superior in every way to a used '84 Chevette. Yet people continue to buy the Chevette. BMW continues to employ salesmen.

For months I have resisted the advances of the telecommunications salesperson. I have hung up on them several times. The need, the plan, the benefits are no different today than when she called last month. Why did I switch today? I finally convinced myself that the previous vendor had made my life too inconvenient. Besides, the new guys threw in DSL. Ah, it is the benefits that get me every time.


Anonymous said...

I miss doing telemarketing... It was relatively easy and once you got someone talking you could sell them anything... *sigh* good times. good times. Yay for the HB on DSL!

GUYK said...

You will not sell me anything on a 'dry call' on the telephone. If I spolicit the call you might.

I have gone through some pretty intensive sales training and of all the techniques I was taught the satisfaction of identified needs was the best. The trick is to identify the need. Most sales are made on a want basis not a need. One the 'want' is established the 'need' to satisfy the want can be identified and satified with a sale.

Most sales people make the mistake of talking too damn much instead of listening to the customer. I guess I could write a book on it-made a pretty good living in the retail business for years and it was because I had learned to sell.

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