Why There Is No Room For “IF” In Selling

I received this email the other day and it started like this;

If you work in sales enablement you should —

Well, I don’t and I suspect most of the other recipients didn’t either. The email then went on to talk about the value proposition of the podcast they were promoting. After a decent list of benefits the email ended like this:

If you are in sales enablement, and need to scale, you will benefit from listening to this podcast.

The email was short, targeted and offered a decent  value proposition. It wasn’t a bad email, except, it started and ended with “If” and that was the problem.

Recently I was on a demo and the rep continued to move through the demo by saying;

If your people post to XYZ then this feature will bring a lot of value. If your company does ABC then . . .

It was driving me crazy. More than 50% of the time, we didn’t do things that way, our people wouldn’t require the feature I was being shown or our company had little value in the feature being shown.

As sales people, when we ask  a client or prospect, “if,” what we’re basically saying is, we don’t know what they do, who they are or how they run their business. That’s not good.

There is nothing worse than advertising to prospects and clients that you are unprepared and not schooled in their business or company. As sales people, it’s our job to know who we’re talking to, what their issues are and how they run their business. If you don’t know something, ask.  But whatever you do, don’t go with “if.”

The good news is, although this is a terrible habit, it can be fixed rather quickly by simply paying attention and being aware of how you engage prospects. Pay attention to how you deliver information. Listen for the times when you’re about to say something that you don’t know the answer to. One of the best ways to avoid this mistake is to know exactly what issues or challenges you’re going to address for your customer before the meeting starts.  Take the time to know your buyer before you engage with them. If you don’t know enough, then don’t pitch. Use the meeting as a discovery meeting to get more information about their business. If it’s an email, know who you’re sending the email to before you send it. Don’t waste their time by sending them an email that isn’t germane to them. I promise you, it was irritating getting an email for a sales enablement person when I’m not.

Rather than sending out bulk emails to your entire list, consider creating lists by title. Have your sales leadership list. Have your sales enablement list, sales operation list, have your sale people list, etc. This doesn’t prevent you from doing bulk emails, but when bulk isn’t appropriate, you can send targeted emails that matter and tells your prospcet you know who you’re talking to.

When you use “if” when referring to your client or their environment you’re telling everyone within earshot you don’t have a fuckin’ clue. Yes, it’s that bad.  Clueless sales people are the worst. The entire value of sales people is steeped in knowledge, don’t tip your hat and let everyone know you don’t have any.

There is no room for “if” when selling. It’s that simple.