It’s interesting what you talk about when clients call for “Help Desk” Sales Coaching (as we refer to it). Talked to Gary, a client-turned-friend, a few days ago, & he had a zinger. A great idea that could help everyone reading this blog.
Now, don’t stop reading because Gary happens to be in the insurance business – commercial, personal, life, etc. He, himself, will joke about the fact that, in his early days, he cleared many a room by making that declaration. It happens. The thousands & thousands of insurance agents that proceeded Gary screwed it up for him. Not his fault.
You’ve had it happen to you. You’re settling in at a social event, gathering or party & someone (we’ll call him Tom or her, Tina) asks what you do. You know for certain that they don’t give two squats about what you do. That’s just their spring-board to them telling you what they do. “I’m in the insurance business.”Never before has your glass become so empty. “I need to freshen up my drink”, you say, as you escape the impending awkward conversation. Phew, avoided that one!
When there were land lines, it used to be a phone call. You haven’t seen Tom or Tina since high school. But somehow, they get your phone number. You don’t attend class reunions, so it’s been 10, 20 or 30 years since you’ve even seen them. After the obligatory (don’t care two squats about) What have you been doing with your life? Married? Kids? They drop the bomb. You know it’s coming. Nothing you can do about it. No drinks to freshen up. No wiggling out of this one. So, the real reason I called was . . .
“I’m in the insurance business & I wondered if you’d like me to take a look at your policies.” (Thinking . . . What? I haven’t seen you since Reagan was President. And I didn’t like you very much back then . . .).
Awkward. For both people. Tom & Tina were told by someone, “Call everybody you know… & have ever known.” So, they do. Welcome to the life of Tom & Tina.
Enter Gary’s great idea. He knows he has to prospect for appointments. New business is required. He knows prospecting is the toughest part of our jobs (all of us). He’s also smart enough to know what the “typical” salesperson does. . . & Gary runs in the opposite direction.
Check it out: We’ll start a little closer to home. Leave the high school classmates, that you haven’t seen for 25 years, for a rainy day. We’ll start with people you know. Interestingly enough, the fact that you know them so well is what makes them becoming prospects so awkward – equally as awkward.
In the B to B world, we all know people that work at companies that buy the products or services we sell. In the B to C space, we all know people, consumers, that buy what we offer. Problem is, they are not always buying from us.
Whichever situation you are in, we’d advise you to be very disarming – right from the start. Dis-arming helps you to not be “that guy” or “that gal”.
Sounds like this: “Steve, I know you (or your company) are probably not in the market for (product or service). Or Steve, there’s a good chance that you (or your company) has already purchased (product or service) – you’re probably all set. This helps someone to relax. Now they can think to themselves (& say) – yep, your right we have. We’re all set.
Now, you can tell your story. Sounds like this: “OK, good. The reason I bring it up is because I have been burned a few times. Every-so-often I find that people have previously purchased (product or service) but they didn’t know I was in that business. My fault. I never brought it up. So, I promised myself I’d never let that happen again.”
You can only imagine what happens with the other category of people & (companies). The ones that have not purchased our product or service – the ones in need. The say, “Oh, I never knew you did that. We should talk.
Nobody wants to be “that guy” or “that gal”. It just happens. It happens when you don’t have a better way to approach prospects. Try it out.
Will it always work? Not a chance. But, how often does what you’re currently doing work?