How I broke my own Rules for Non-pushy Sales
An interesting thing happened this weekend – I found myself breaking one of my own cardinal rules of non-pushy sales.
I spent the weekend at Nick James’ “Ultimate Product Launch” seminar learning strategies to help me launch my new workshop “Selling from the Heart from Speaking” later this year.
Now, the value of attending seminars is not just about what you learn but also about the connections that you make. So during the lunch break one of the other participants (let’s call him Bob) came over to have a chat because he thought I might be able to help him and his small sales team sell more of his Business Coaching services.
Because it was a relaxed setting over lunch, and I wasn’t really in ‘business’ mode I asked him a few questions to get to understand what he might need – but not nearly enough. And then, without having taken him through my “7 Steps to Yes!” sales conversation I jumped straight in and suggested a possible way that I might be able to work with him and his sales team in future.
I then proceeded to talk very passionately and excitedly about what I do, what I’ve helped other people do and the difference it has made to their businesses. I positioned my value by giving the example another client with a similar business who had brought in an extra £12,000 in just 8 weeks by working with me. I also made the point that if he worked with me privately for a day it would only take him 2 clients to recoup his investment.
All good stuff isn’t it?
So, what’s the problem?
The problem is that my ‘solution’ and positioning of my ‘value’ came at the wrong time. Bob wasn’t ready for a full sales conversation – he was still in my Outer Orbit (see my last blog post on this here).
I hadn’t taken him through a sales conversation where I got to understand his specific challenges around sales and the impact that this was happening on the bottom line in his business, and the knock-on effect of this on his personal life. I didn’t explore how he would like things to be instead, or how committed he was to doing something to solve this problem, and I didn’t discover the specific emotional triggers that would be important to him – in other words I offered my solution too early. And all because I broke cardinal rule number 4 of non-pushy sales:
Rule No 4: Rein in your Passion
Instead I let my passion for what I do run away with me. I was so excited about the difference I could instantly see I could make to his business that I got carried away. Yes Bob was no doubt impressed by my passion for my topic. But most likely I left him with the overriding impression that I was more interested in my own agenda than his – in other words I was a typical pushy salesperson. And worse, I missed an opportunity to guide him into a structured sales conversation that would have resulted in a resounding “Yes please!” to working with me.
So, what should I have done instead?
Instead I should have asked him a few questions, just enough to assess that yes, I would be able to help him. I would then have suggested we follow up with a more detailed conversation in the next few days, and set a specific time to do that. We then could have returned to relaxing over our lunches safe in the knowledge that we had an appointment to have a full sales conversation at a more appropriate time.
I’m sharing this partly as a reminder, and partly because if I can break my own rules so easily after nearly 20 years of experience then you can forgive yourself when you also make a mistake. We don’t always do things perfectly, especially when we are not consciously in ‘sales’ or ‘networking’ mode. The important thing is to notice when we slip up, be able to see where we went wrong and resolve not to do it next time!
With gratitude to ‘Bob’ for the lesson and the reminder.
With Love & Gratitude,