What sales people can learn from failed dating

datePay-off: avoid unwittingly killing the sale (or a date!) in the very early stages
Investment: < 3 mins

In this post we’ll look at the very best way to lose your sale or date early by watching a professionally clumsy approach from Jon Favreau in the movie ‘Swingers’, together with 5 main tips to avoid this. Let’s begin…

The best way to lose the sale?

Shoot it down yourself before it’s even started, just like Jon Favreau does when calling a new date he’d just met in a bar in one of my old favourite clips from the movie Swingers:

I love the line, “maybe we should just take some time off from each other”. Ever felt like that about a new prospective customer?

How to avoid this

Think. What would you have advised Mike to do before that call? And what could you have helped him put in place as an aid or support to achieving this?

New sales behaviours don’t just come from knowing what you should do (which is just another of many reasons why sales training fails). You need the ‘how to actually get yourself to do it’ part. That’s the missing link for many sales teams and something I urge learners to learn.

And once you’ve thought about the advice you’d give Mike, how would you advise sales people to approach similar calls when starting to ‘court’ new prospective customers?

I’ll start you off with some ideas:

Mike had 5 main challenges that many people in sales also face:

  1. An almost submissive approach fuelled by a poorly defined intent
  2. Too much emotional baggage, confusion and pressure to ‘win’
  3. Leading to a lack of clear thinking for his call
  4. Leading to nervously over-talking to create a sense of progress
  5. Thus pushing the ‘sale’ away until it was so far away he destroyed it

..with that great line, “maybe we should just take some time off from each other”.

5 important tips

Reversing those then, you could:

  1. Get crystal clear on your intent, and ensure you design your intent with the right mindset that points to a win:win. It must align with where the customer is ‘at’ right now and what they’re most likely thinking. (Attention sales people – many stumble here).
  2. Learn how to manage your emotions (if your sales people need help here, give me a shout. Most people could do better at this. Emotional intelligence is a vital sales capability and your sales results will be directly related to the emotional intelligence of your sales people).
  3. Get clarity on the vital points of your conversation that deliver on your intent – and get to those points fast.
  4. Keep things brief and focused whilst also piquing curiosity when appropriate. Asking nearly always beats telling, and pulls both you and customer closer together. Don’t over-talk and talk yourself out of the sale.
  5. Generally, don’t be the one to decide it’s over. Because if you decide it is, then it is, no matter what their thinking or situation actually is.

Finally, in general, messages should never do the selling. They can do the marketing, but it’s usually conversations that should do the selling and help people to think things through effectively. People don’t engage a counsellor in order to just receive messages from them. Two way conversations are vital.

The biggest crime?

And possibly the biggest crime of all? If you paid attention you may have noticed that Mike deliberately called her when he did because he thought she was out and he WANTED the voicemail! He didn’t want a conversation! Too scary.

I’ve coached many sales people who have come clean and told me that they have done similar. The easy route often looks like progress, and helps you avoid temporary discomfort (but usually leads to much more discomfort later). The more difficult but necessary route brings the results and rewards and also strengthens you as a sales person, earning you respect, trust and most likely pride along the way too.

Do these things…

…and the value to your customers, your employer and yourselves will increase. If you need help to learn how to put them into action, contact me.

Fail to do these things…

…and you’re more likely to get the call back that Mike got; “don’t ever call me again”. Or even more costly to you…the dreaded ongoing silence…

Questions? Thoughts? Want help? Contact me. I’ll be pleased to lead you towards improving your sales through a conversation.

I work with people in any size firm, mostly UK based but can work virtually too, so location isn’t an issue. More on me here.

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