No one cares what you have to say
It’s funny that in my 25+ years of working in this industry, I’ve come to anticipate that frequent demand that “you’ve got to get [fill in the blank exhibitor] to sign up. They must be there.” And for many years my quest was to find the perfect email to write or the phone script to recite that would get these targets to buy. Was there some word or phrase that could make it happen?
The internet changes everything
Over time, it became apparent that on the other side of the computer screen or phone, out of my sight, something had happened. While I focused on my message, my prospect was making evaluations of me based on different factors whether I knew it or not.. Through the Internet, the prospect now had access to all the information they needed to make their own buying decisions and could do it without my assistance.
Listen and qualify your prospect
Given that situation, my challenge was not to push my message, but rather to gain my prospect’s attention and then listen carefully, asking the right questions such that I might elicit enough information to continue the conversation. I learned that what I was selling wasn’t as important as understanding what motivated my prospect. This was a conversation with someone who didn’t know me, nor didn’t care about the event I was selling. And unless I could make the connection between their needs and my offer, they would never care(or pick up my phone call again).
A light shines on Expo! Expo!
Given my understanding of this new reality, I was thrilled to attend Rick Farrell’s session at “Expo! Expo!” this past December. His session, “Selling Has Nothing to Do With Selling,” was easily the best one I attended.. Rick’s presentation reminded me that rather than focus on what I was selling, the important thing was that I understand the fears and drivers of my prospect. That meant understanding my prospects’ concerns about “how am I going to pull in my lead numbers for the quarter,” or “how am I going to get all my work done so I can go on vacation,” or “how am I going to look good in front of my boss so I can get a raise.” Before, such questions were not part of my thinking; yet if I am going to understand my prospect’s side of the interaction, they are crucial to know.
No one cares what you have to say
A traditional selling situation often forces the customer to knit together all the pieces of what you are saying in a way that makes sense to address their needs. But they may not be interested or willing to make that effort. That’s why many ‘deals’ fall through; the burden is placed on the prospect and they are not willing to assume that burden.
Can you pick out the buyer?
But if you listen closely to the prospect, you may find out what they need and then determine whether what you offer is a match. Also, whether they are in a position to buy. After all, there is no assurance that the person with whom you are speaking is either a recommender or a decision maker. Or the dynamics might be such that that they will never buy from you. Separating out those who might buy from those who never will is crucial to not spinning your wheels
Unfortunately, the truth is that no one wants to buy what you are selling, unless you can serve it up for them in the right way, at the right time, to the right person, and for the right reasons.
Do you have the discipline to change your approach?
Here’s more about Rick’s philosophy: http://www.tangentknowledge.com/philosophy.html