Yesterday I wrote why I believe “relationship selling” is over, done, finished. Today, I was reminded why.
I’m currently shopping content marketing support firms. I have a very specific challenge regarding my Hubspot strategy and I want to get them addressed by the end of this year.
Two companies were recommended and I scheduled initial phone calls with both.
The first call went well. The sales rep asked great questions, suggested a few ideas I hadn’t thought of and that I was unaware of. She expanded my view of what my challenge was as well as how her organization could solve my problem. This sales rep didn’t spend one second on small talk, or asking how my day was going, or anything superfluos. She got right down to business. She knew the space. She articulated the challenges. She took what I shared with her and outlined what she saw might be tripping me up. She was knowledgeable and built my confidence with her knowledge. When I got off the phone, I felt this salesperson and her company could do more than just fix my problem, but could substantially improve my situation.
The other rep did just the opposite. He started with the cheesy small talk, “hey how is your day, how are things going,” etc. He told me he is doing well and their business is booming. I couldn’t have cared less about his business booming. It took a few minutes to get the meeting started as he needed his boss on the line too. Once his boss was on the line they asked me to talk about my business and what I was looking to do. Before I finished, his boss had dropped off and the sales person said he couldn’t get him back on and that we would just continue with out him, but asked me if I could repeat what I had just said, as he missed the last part. I walked him through my issues and challenges again.
When I finished the rep started asking questions, questions unfortunately I had already answered and he would have known if he had been paying attention to me. The rep did a terrible job of conveying he understood what I needed from them and an even worse job on how he could help me. It was maddening. He didn’t appear to understand what my key challenges were. He struggled at suggesting why I might be having the problems and what specifically his company could do. He didn’t offer any unique ideas I hadn’t thought of. It appeared he didn’t know how to solve my problem. He sounded confused and lost. To top it off, he said his company doesn’t traditionally work with companies like mine that are this far along. Translation, were not that familiar with your unique challenges. Based on my experience with this rep, I have very little confidence in his company and the only reason I’m not stopping the process all together is they are one of just two and I want to allow the comparison to get to the finish. Maybe his company will surprise me.
The lesson is this and sales managers and sales leaders pay very close attention. Buyers WANT PROBLEM SOLVERS. They don’t want small talk and jovial sales people. Buyers want experts who can talk shop and educate them on their challenges and problems. Buyers want people who know more than they do about the problem they are facing. Buyers want creative solutions high in value. Buyers want to feel confident that the sales person they are talking to can fix their problem better than anyone else on the planet. They need to know the sales person “gets it.” They want to feel good that the company they are engaging can make things better and that starts with the sales person.
Don’t put in front of any customer or prospect a sales person who can’t gain the customer or prospects confidence, teach them something they didn’t know, expand their understanding of the challenge or identify a myriad of valuable solutions on the fly. Dont’ do do it.
If you’re not already doing it, sit in on your sales folks calls and listen to how they engage with a new prospect. What type of conversation are they having? What questions are they asking? How well do they understand what the prospect is trying to do? How well do they assess the call and the buyer? How equipped are they to engage with the prospect about their business and the common business challenges associated with that business? How good is the sales person at building the prospects or customers confidence?
Real sales people build confidence, have the knowledge to build trust around business issues and educate their customer base.
Please, put real sales people in front of your prospects — otherwise you’re just wasting everyones time.