The Best Type of Sale Is the One That Never Happened

The other day I was driving in the car with my eleven year old daughter. For those of you who don’t remember eleven it’s the age where your kid is entering the “my dad thinks he’s cool but he’s not because he’s old” phase. I decided that I would play some music that I grew up listening to during the drive. I purposely didn’t tell her that the music was over twenty years old because I wanted her honest reaction. After a few songs I noticed that she was tapping her foot and bobbing her head. A few more tracks went by and she was even mumbling through some of the lyrics trying to learn the words. Then, I decided to spring it on her. 

“Ya know, this song came out in 1994…”

“Whaaaat?” she responded. “1994? Did they even have iPods back then?!”

That was it, she stopped bobbing her head, folded her arms and wished for the ride to be over. 

This happens a lot in the world of sales. You’re going through your sales process with a prospect and everything is going great. You’re laughing and talking and building rapport until you notice the time. You think, “If I don’t start pitching to this customer now I might not make it home for dinner”. You abruptly end the small talk and get right down to the “brass tax”. As you progress through your pitch you realize that your prospect has turned cold and stopped engaging. You wonder what changed but you still finish your pitch. In the end you’re still late for dinner and you’re now behind on your quota for the month.

What happened in this scenario is that your prospect noticed that you stopped conversing and started “selling”, and just like my eleven year old  he folded his arms and waited for the ride to be over. No one likes to be sold to and no on likes to hear a sales pitch! However, people do like to be engaged, listened to and helped. To avoid “selling” your prospect make sure that you move through your sales process in a conversational way. Allow them to interject and add their thoughts and opinions. Don’t be afraid to briefly veer off your script to keep the interaction lively and fresh. No matter what, make sure your prospect knows that you care and are genuinely interested in them and their unique obstacles and not just selling them to make a commission.