There are a lot of excuses and guesses why a sale is lost or someone says “no.” Success Magazine wrote an article titled, “3 Reasons You Lose Sales” and it discusses the top three things that go wrong. Here’s the thing though, it isn’t three reasons. It’s one reason with three different examples.
To summarize the top three reasons, it boils down to:
- failure to create value for the customer,
- failure to differentiate from the competition,
- and failure to develop relationships.
Can you see it? Maybe not just yet. Let me give you a hint with a story.
The Bug Spray Guy
It was a busy Monday and I was already behind schedule. I rushed out the front door to head out to the grocery store and ran smack into a door to door salesperson. He worked for some type of pest-control company and proceeded to hit me with his pitch. He was well-groomed, polite and was super eager to know if I had any pest issues that I needed help with.
I thought about it for a few seconds, but I didn’t have any. We had already taken care of the ant problem and we are very careful what chemicals we use because we have chickens and rabbits. So he was politely informed that we didn’t have any right now.
He asked me if I was sure, and began talking about indoor pests. Nope, we were good there too. Once we established that I did not have any pest issues (I dare not tell him about the feeder insects we raise), he proceeded to explain how safe all of the chemicals were and what sales they have and all the different packages.
At this point, I am really wanting to leave and don’t have anything he can help me with. BUT, he still insists on tell me all kinds of irrelevant information. I am beginning to think I DO have a pest problem, and wondering what kind of spray works for pushy sales people.
Do you see what the problem is?
It’s called FAILURE TO LISTEN. It’s an ear problem. He is not LISTENING.
He is so worried about himself and his job that he is failing to listen to me. He was trying to sell me something I had no need or desire for. Because he wasn’t listening, he didn’t understand that there literally was nothing to spray, that I avoid sprays unless it is a last resort, and that if I did spray, I would be putting my animals and feeder insect colony at risk.
Unless he was hoping to have success by creating the problem he was offering a solution for, I wasn’t buying.
He was now wasting my time, his time and ensuring that I didn’t refer him to anyone I knew who actually might need pest control. Not really making a great impression right?
So back to the three reasons, and how they stem from one issue.
1) The bug dude failed to create value, because he wasn’t willing to listen. He made me FEEL LIKE I was a liar and really did have a pest problem. You can’t possibly create great value for your customer if you don’t listen to their needs and then explain value in a way that means something to that customer.
2) He failed to differentiate from the competition, because he failed to listen to what was important to me. If he had a product that targeted pests common to my area, was safe for all the animals I had and wasn’t a spray, I might have even purchased something for a future day when pests might show up. Or, at the very least taken a business card and saved it. You need to know what matters to the customer before you can zero in on the specific ways your offer is unique and tailor it to fit that customer.
3) It really isn’t rocket science to figure out that when you don’t listen, you can’t possibly build a lasting relationship – just ask any marriage counselor! The entire book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie goes into great detail about how good listeners build the best relationships to land the biggest and best business deals.
The failure to listen is the number one reason you will lose the sale – every time.
If you don’t listen to someone, you have no hope of building a good relationship with them. By not listening to me, this pest control salesperson signaled that what he wanted was more important than what I wanted. He also looked like a fool and I don’t need any foolish friends. You probably don’t either.
So the number one thing you can do to improve your sales is not your sales pitch. It’s your ability to be a great listener. When you are a great listener, the person you are communicating with feels understood, feels a connection to you and trusts you. When you listen, you can hook them up with whatever is best for them, even if it means you can only offer them a referral to something better. When you do that, they will remember you, they will refer others to you and they will trust you enough to come back and buy again!
So what are you waiting for? Go clean out your ears and study the art of listening. Test it out on your friends and family. They make wonderful guinea pigs!
Disclaimer: Jaimie is not the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, a lawyer, a doctor, a veterinarian, or a CPA. Nothing your read in my blog is a substitute for professional advice and doing your own good research. Remember that just because someone has credentials doesn’t guarantee their advice is golden or perfect. Put your smart hat on and do your due diligence. Good luck!