As an ongoing part of the previous post “Top 10 Sales Fails” I am continuing to write on each of the Top 10 as voted by one of my regular Presidents Club sales training groups. In this post I will cover the #3 “Sales Fail” too much talking.”
A favorite saying among noted sales gurus is “telling isn’t selling” and I couldn’t agree more. No one likes to be “sold” even though most of us thoroughly enjoy the experience of “buying.” While most would basically agree with that statement, it reflects a GIANT disconnect in the process. The intimation is that we would rather be left alone to navigate the process of buying on our own than be assisted in the process. This implied intimation is obviously untrue as evidenced by the massive amount of research conducted online each day. We still require assistance but we have changed the way we prefer to acquire it as well as the type of assistance we prefer.
There is still a valuable place for the skilled, well-trained, professional sales person but their role in the process has dramatically changed over the years. The “old school” role of the seller as a repository for dispensing information on the features and advantages of a product or service to an uninformed consumer are no longer required. If you doubt this assertion I invite you to view statistics on how much time is spent researching products and services online. Most estimates indicate that over 90% of our purchasing decisions now begin online and that buyers are at least 70% of the way through the “buying process” before ANY interaction with a professional sales person.
This does not lessen the importance of product knowledge for the sales professional it just means there is a marked difference in WHEN and HOW that product knowledge is applied. At Sandler Training we have a saying, “don’t spill your candy in the lobby” which addresses the fact that nobody enjoys salespeople who “show up and throw up” features, advantages, etc. especially early in the process when it little or no connection with identified customer needs.
I believe the selling process could be more correctly labeled the buying process and the role of seller could be more correctly defined as a “facilitator of the buying experience.” We have another saying, “a prospect that is listening in no prospect at all.” A sales call where the seller is doing most of the talking is doomed to failure or, at best, will succeed far less frequently.
Too much talking is a common and serious failure in the selling process, or more appropriately, the BUYING process but it is also a failure that is EASILY corrected.