348 – December 14
“You have to take it as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it.”—German Proverb
“My friend, Judy, told me I had to take your workshop. When is your next one?” said the female voice on the phone. I was so happy to get the call—a ship coming in to harbor that I didn’t send out!—that I made a classic mistake: I answered her question.
“The next eight-week session begins on Wednesday from 3:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon.” I replied.
“Oh, I can’t come in the afternoon!” she exclaimed, “I work during the day. Where are you located?”
“I’m in Pacific Palisades.”
“Oh, no. I’m in Pasadena, that’s much too far away for me. How much does the seminar cost?”
“One thousand dollars,” I answered.
“Oh, no! There’s no way I can afford that!”
Do you see the problem? This woman called to enroll in my seminar and proceeded to ask questions about the features of the seminar (when is it, where is it, etc.) instead of the benefits of the seminar (how will it improve my life?). I then proceeded to answer her questions, instead of telling her what she really wanted to know. It is a classic mistake salespeople often make. I gave control to the prospect, I talked instead of listened, I addressed the wrong issue. Finally, having realized my error, I turned the conversation around:
“I understand,” I said sympathetically. “But let me ask you a question. If the seminar was at a time you could come, a place that was convenient, and a price you could afford—what would you want to get out of it?”
“Well, I don’t know exactly, but I have a lot of stress around money in my life….”
With one question, I had taken back control of the conversation. I asked more questions: What do you see as your biggest problem with money? How long have you had this problem? What would you most like to change about the money in your life? And so on. After she answered these questions, and told me her vision of success, I saw that she would benefit from taking my course. Then I shared with her the success stories of people just like herself who had benefited from the workshop in the specific ways she wanted to benefit.
By the end of the conversation, she got so excited about the possibilities, she exclaimed, “Okay, I’m in! Tell me how to get there.” She voluntarily threw out all her objections and enrolled in the class, because she wanted the benefits.
What do people come to you for? How do they benefit? That’s what you have to give—and what you have to sell.
“People love to buy from me!”
Even though it was years ago, I remember that conversation so well! I learned a lot from that experience that helped me with sales conversations ever since. Isn’t it funny how often we learn the most from our mistakes?
Being able to have a good sales conversation is a skill everyone needs to develop. You might be selling your product or service, or you may just be convincing your child to pick up their room, or a friend to go with you to the movie you want to see.
The biggest mistake most people make is that they start with an “I” message. As in, “I want to see this movie, do you want to come with me?” or “I’m a coach and I have 20 years experience and here are my credentials…”
I tell all my clients to start a sales conversation by making a new friend. Find out about them by asking questions like, “What do you do for a living?” “How long have you been doing that?” “What do you love about it?” “What did you do before you discovered this profession?” etc. Be sincerely interested in them!
This cannot be faked. If you aren’t truly interested in the person you’re talking to, they can tell. Can’t you? Do you remember some fakey schmaltzy salesperson who was “acting” as if they liked you but you knew they had an agenda to sell you their stuff and they really weren’t listening to you. Most people are really bad actors.
The second biggest mistake is people are so afraid of making a bad sales call that they don’t make any sales calls. It’s unbelievable to me how many people go to networking meetings and then never call anybody afterwards. They think if people are interested in their product or service, they will call them.
Let me give you a tip. They aren’t going to call. They’re afraid you’ll turn out to be one of the fakey people and they don’t want to feel uncomfortable turning you down and so it’s just easier to forget the whole thing and write another email…
Would love to help you make more money, do more good, and have more fun next year!