How friendly sales are made. How friendly are yours?
“Allen Soden will be here at 11,” said Michelle Joyce, our Event Director Extraordinaire. She keeps my schedule and stays on me as to what’s-what during the day. “Who’s he?” I wanted to know, as it was 10:50. “No idea. He’s a friend of Ed Baker’s.”
Ed Baker is one of the nicest, classiest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and doing business with. We’ve known each other for more than a decade. He has helped my career and always steered me in the right direction. This Soden guy must be OK, he’s a friend of Ed Baker.
Allen arrives and after a brief warm up, he opens his sales case.
It’s a soap dispenser – it’s soap, it’s a commodity. This guy came here to sell me a dispenser of soap for my bathroom. Why should I buy Allen’s soap? He began showing me examples of soap dispensers that his company DEB SBS had done work for – the City of Chicago, other soap brands, one with a Nike swoosh on it, and as I ho-hummed through the presentation, (anti-bacterial foam, new kind of soap, yada, yada, yada) he then said, “Oh, I have another one I want to show you.”
He took out a soap dispenser with my picture on it, my name on it — “Gitomer’s Super-Foaming Skin Cleanser” — and a slogan, “In clean hands we trust.” Classic. It changed from soap, to my soap. After I looked at it and smiled, I asked him to change the slogan to “Where have those hands been?” We laughed, but the bottom line was the soap had my picture on it, not his.
Allen sold me my personal soap. No, Allen showed me my personal soap and I bought it. And it wasn’t a matter of “if” I was gonna buy, it was a matter of “how many did I need, where do they go, and when will they be delivered.” Yes, he also had the travel size with my name on it, so we bought a few of those. Thank goodness he wasn’t selling time-shares in Florida!
That was my sale, now let’s talk about your stupid sale. Your presentation is still a we-we sale. You’re showing the prospect all of your crap and telling him or her how great you are, when in fact, the prospect could care less who you are, and could care less about your product or service. He has already heard your pitch 50 times before and was most likely not listening, or thinking of other things they have to do that day, or waiting for you to finish your obvious pitch so he can ask the obvious question, “How much is it?”.
I did not care how much the soap dispenser was. It had my picture on it. I still don’t know how much it was. It had my picture on it. We will get a bill, then we’ll find out how much it was. I assume that the price was competitive, but I did not care in the least. How much can soap be? Anyway, it had my picture on it.
Turns out he had an invoice already made out. We cut a check on the spot.
Sales people think that they are in a commodity business, and unless they are selling pigs, cows, or chickens, they are dead wrong. I’ll address the commodity sale in future issues, but the bottom line is if you can make me buy my stuff, in my environment, with my name on it; I don’t care what the price is (within reason).
Here are 2.5 things to do tomorrow to make your sales presentation more ‘them oriented’:
1. Take a look at your literature. Circle everything in your literature with a red pen that has any value to the customer. Most of you will not have taken the lid off the pen.
2. Write out the first five minutes of your sales pitch. Circle in red all the things that you say about your product or service that are in terms of how the customer benefits, uses, can take ownership of, or see ownership of what you are talking about. In other words, can the customer feel it’s theirs and in terms of them? Can they see profit, productivity, or pride in what you are offering? If they can’t see profit, productivity, or pride, then they aren’t gonna take it, or they will ask, “How much is it?”
2.5 Change (reverse) what you are doing or die!
GOOD NEWS: 100% of the people who read this column will acknowledge that their sales presentation is 99% puke, but only 5% will change. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. They will continue to cold call. They will continue to ask stupid questions. And they will continue to present information that they think will ‘educate’ the customer. Customers do not need to or want to be educated. Sales people need to be educated. And the bottom line is–one of the sales people that needs to be educated is you.
Change your sales presentation from selling to buying.
GIT BIT… There’s a classic epilog to the personalized or reverse sale and more information about the new era of personalized branding. Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word SOAP in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org