There are far more than five ways to destroy a Southwestern sales call. But, in the interest of brevity, and of maintaining my small readership, I’ll narrow this to just five. Remember, selling is a complex activity with many variables. Every prospect is different; every sales encounter has a new twist–especially when you’re dealing with another human being. So here are a five easy ways to sabotage your sale:
1. Opening with an awkward approach. A bad first impression goes a long way. I remember many of my earlier attempts to “be different” at the door. Most often it worked. People smiled. I got in. Occasionally, my attempts at humor failed. I saw the confusion/annoyance flash on the prospect’s face, and knew I was dead from the start.
2. Monologue-ing. Did you see the cartoon movie, The Incredibles? The arch-villain, Syndrome, catches himself just talking–explaining his diabolical plan at length to the hero. If you’re a villain, monologue-ing can ruin your plans. A one-sided conversation from you, the salesperson, can also ruin your sale. Be sure to initiate a conversation—get them talking and keep them talking.
3. Lack of enthusiasm. If you’re more than a month into the Southwestern summer internship, you’ve given more than 600 demonstrations. You may have noticed that initial burst of excitement is gone! Ho-hum demos don’t fly. One of the challenges in any sales effort is maintaining enthusiasm for what you’re doing and the product you’re demonstrating. Remember, you may have given the demonstration a thousand times—your prospect sees it once.
4. Spending too much time with non-buyers. You can burn a lot of energy with non-prospects. Pay attention to non-verbal feedback! If they’re staring at you, mouth agape, with a faraway look in their eyes, perhaps you are not connecting. If they’re texting or glancing at their watch or their TV, perhaps they are not exactly tuned in and interested. If they walk out of the room during your demo, perhaps you’re not as scintillating as you imagined. Ask, “So, Mrs. Jones, does this look like something the kids would use?” If she says, “Not really”, then leave—save your energy for a buyer!
5. No close. I am stunned by how many Southwestern dealers don’t use the closing steps! They either a) talk until the prospect interrupts with, “Can we buy this? I have to cook dinner.” Or b) they bluntly ask, “So…do you want one?” Awkward. Use the close that has worked for years. Be bold and assumptive!
When selling, you have to be your best self: sharp, engaging, interested, service-minded, friendly…in short, you have to be in a peak state. People respond to you first and your product second. They have good B.S. detectors. They want to deal with your human side first and your Southwestern sales side second.