It was introduction time at a client meeting on the West Coast, mid-February. The Executive Vice President was introducing me to the staff at the beginning of a two-day training program. He had been through the Sales Coaches’ Corner training & coaching, so he had a good idea how to speak to his team – how to relate to them in terms that made sense…to them.
They are a successful contracting company that often uncovers additional opportunities once a job has started. Change orders…move this…change that…add this…can we do that? It’s the second sale (we call it “the sale after the sale”).
The VP was reminding the group (clearly experts in their field) how often they detail their discussions. How incredibly accurate & forthcoming they are with their solutions. How precise & technical they are with their proposals. Then, he said the four words that knocked me off my chair. He said, “Group, we do a great job, but we GIVE IT UP NASTY”.
Hilarious, right? At first, I thought this was a “West Coast Phrase”. I thought it might be words from a Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg song. Then I realized, not at all. This phrase spans the contiguous 48. It makes sense in every state and for every company that sells a technical solution, in a competitive marketplace, with high prices. What he was saying was, we tend to educate our prospects and customers just enough to do it themselves or buy from our competitor, with our idea. Sound anything like your business? Thought so. We call it DUMPING.
You’re not alone. Most companies do it. After all, it’s a technical solution that requires intelligence and thought. Give someone a chance to prove how smart they are and they will jump on it. Even if it means giving it all up nasty!
Some examples of DUMPING: Past experiences, best practices, drawings, white papers, specs, case studies, samples, trials, pricing, quotes, quotes and more quotes. Anything you can do to impress your prospect with your knowledge. And wow, are they impressed! But what does that mean? Nothing. You can’t take “impressed” to the bank.
So, what do you do? Well, you must hold something back. If you don’t then they don’t need you. If you give it all away then you are not a for-profit company – which most of you are (that’s the plan, anyway). You also must ask questions- good questions:
- Ask what is happening/ what’s the problem?
- Ask how long it’s been going on?
- Ask what they have done about it?
- Ask who else they are looking at?
- Ask how much it’s costing them?
- Ask what happens if they don’t find a solution?
The way to build credibility with people is by asking the right questions. Contrary to popular belief and West Coast rap songs, it’s not by GIVING IT UP NASTY!