When I was seventeen years old I took a summer job selling baby pictures. It was my fourth formal sales job — the other three are other stories. The best part about this job was that they actually trained me on what to say and how to act.
The deal was that a photographer came out and took pictures under the condition that there was a “free 8×10” of the baby with no further obligation. My job was to show all the “proofs” and sell the mother on more.
Just to date myself, the pictures were black and white. You figure it out.
The training was short and sweet. I was to lay the pictures out on the kitchen table or coffee table, and ask the mother which three of four she liked the best. Then show her the packages available (plus the free photo), and ask for the sale. The tactic was to ask the following “alternative-of-choice” question. “Mrs. Jones, did you want the standard package or the best value?”
That tactic was supposed to eliminate the “free one only” from consideration, and emphasize the larger purchase as the best deal.
Well, in those days, when you were seventeen, you did what you were told and taught. So on my first call I went through the spiel and popped the question: “Mrs. Jones, did you want the standard package or the best value?” She immediately replied without a moment’s hesitation, “I’ll take the best value.” TA DA! I made the sale! I made the sale!
Trying to hide my exuberance, and quickly calculating that I made $23.00 commission, I finished the paperwork and darted for the car and the next sale. But from that moment on, I knew I was a salesman, and sales was for me.
Year later I figured out that I never “sold” her the pictures, she “bought” them.
ENTER: The Baby Picture Principle of Selling.
Why was Mrs. Jones so eager to buy? Easy. The ENTIRE sale, and all the samples, and the demo, were entirely in terms of (and all about) her. I mean, come on — do you want to see (much less buy) some pictures of my new baby? Or if given a choice would you rather see and buy pictures of YOUR own baby? Even if my baby is pretty and yours is ugly, you still want yours.
All I did was show her some pictures of HER baby. And immediately she took a keen interest.
And thirty five (OK, OK thirty eight) years later I re-discovered one of the most powerful and overlooked principles of sales: If you say and do everything in terms of them, they will take an interest, and perhaps buy. If you say and do everything in terms of you, you will be forced to sell. And maybe be forced to sell “price.”
Your name? Your company? Your product?
Wake up and smell the brochures… they are as unwanted as dirty diapers. Your sales presentation? Three week old bread, baby. Stale and moldy.
1. They don’t care who your are.
2. They don’t care what you do.
3. They don’t care how long you’ve been doing it.
4. They don’t care about your features and benefits.
4.5 The customer only cares how what you sell affects them, and how they use it for their benefit. If it DOES positively affect or impact the customer, or if they can use it, and they perceive the value to them — then, and only then, might they care about buying what you sell.
“But Jeffrey,” you whine. “I gotta tell them a bunch of crap about me or they won’t understand what I’m selling.” Wrong again sales breath.
TRY THIS: Why not just walk into your next sales presentation and NOT SAY A WORD. Just show a ten minute testimonial video that your customers have scripted (but ad-libbed) about how they found out about you and your company, why they bought your product, how they loved it after the purchase, and why they recommend that the person watching the video (or CD) buy the product, NOW!
All you have to do is slide over an order form, and a pen, and smile as you point to the place they need to sign. (still no words)
HERE’S THE KEY: Your task is to reverse the way you sell. Your challenge is to create an atmosphere to BUY. At each part of your sales presentation, just ask yourself, is this a picture of my baby or theirs?
Here’s an action: take some pictures of your kids with you on every sales call. Ask the prospect to see some of his or her kids. They will show them to you in ONE SECOND, hundreds of them, if it’s a small baby. Ask the customer (prospect) which photo he or she would like more of, your baby or theirs? Then tell him you are going to show him and demonstrate a new baby — a business baby that he will love.
From that point on, you are forced to do it the right way. Sell them (let them buy) their own baby.
YOU’LL CRY WHEN YOU START: Once you uncover the painful fact that everything you’re trying to sell is in terms of you, you can begin the “baby picture” transformation process. And oh, by-the-way — your sales will double. Put that in your diaper bag, baby.
Free GitBit…Want a few more “buying” bits? I have compiled a list of things you can do and say that help create more of a buying atmosphere. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words BUYING MOOD 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 training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org