The other day I was roaming Costco for the standard stuff we buy there when I first heard, and then saw, the sales rep positioned behind his counter selling the latest blender from Mars or Venus – that’s because this was the most scientific, best mixer of fruits and vegetables known to the human race.
It was easy. It was smart. It was perfect, and his presentation was well honed. He drew people into his cadence and well practiced pitch with his tone, smiles, and the aroma. People, even people not easily smothered with sweet talking sounds and engaging banter, were drawn in. Soon, several people were there tasting, smiling, and being won over to the purchase of a several hundred dollar machine.
He asked questions and answered them himself.
He made statements that appealed to the senses and the emotions of those who listened.
He offered samples with mouth watering descriptions, and the people bought.
The same thing happens on Time Square every day in the swami incensed camera shops there. World travelers are sold by charming enchantments delivered by well-practiced captivators who have been taught by the best of the best.
Time shares are sold the same way. People also buy boats, cars, and other products from stimulus response salespeople. These people they will never see again – nor will they remember their names. Pitch artists, snake charmers or carnie presenters represent a slice of selling in the end not liked by purchasers, but these practices are used by those selling land, auto, and the latest vitamin mix at a home party for a pyramid company.
Even today at breakfast with a bunch of men, one of them mentioned getting bids from tree-cutting services and being turned off by one of them by the self-confidently arrogant sales rep who seemed to have all the right answers and none of the questions.
Professional Consultative Selling
Professional Consultative Selling is practiced by sales people selling high end vehicles, homes, and products that require understanding the needs, problems, and wants of customers prior to a customized presentation.
This could be the Lexus company, a high-end staffing company, or an insurance and financial product company. It could be a wireless company that believes in high sales through exceptional customer service and repeat business to earn loyal customers and referrals.
The perfect presentation for professional salespeople depends upon a needs analysis prior to the presentation. It isn’t given, and can’t be given, unless the customer’s wants, needs, and problems are understood by the salesperson and the customer before a proposal or demonstration occurs.
It’s a quality sales process designed to please and satisfy the specific needs of the customer.
So, let’s discuss the 7 Crucial Parts of the Perfect Presentation, and I’m going to present these as if they are being done with me.
- The sales rep starts the presentation with a summary of what I want in a product or service – the needs I want filled, the problems I want solved or the wants I want satisfied. This rep often gives this summary with a word picture of how my current life without what I need looks with its problems and the impact to show that he has listened, understands what I want, and is ready to present based on this understanding. He could start this with, “Let me see if I understand .. currently you are…” Then, he explains with a word picture what my situation is and what I am experiencing that makes me want or need his product or service. This includes the impact of the situation – any frustration or economic loss I’ve experienced or I am experiencing.
- When presenting, the rep at times uses the exact words that I used to describe my needs. It becomes obvious that the rep has remembered, or has taken very good notes, and is now tailoring the presentation with some of the words I used in my responses to his questions in a prior step of the sales process.
- The rep adapts the presentation to my personality – whether I want less detail as a dynamo, more relationship as a diplomat, facts as a thinker, or ways my image will be enhanced as a performer.
- He also handles any fears, concerns, or questions I might have (sometimes in advance) – even questions I did not have to ask.
- The rep allows me to give my opinions, feedback, and to voice any of my unresolved fears, concerns or questions. He even asks for them if I seem shy or reserved.
- The rep presents with confidence and enthusiasm – an enthusiasm based on the confidence that his product or service solution will solve my problems, fill my needs, or satisfy my wants.
- The rep shows the value of the product or service next to my investment, the cost, and the benefits to me. As a matter of fact, because the whole presentation is tailored to me based on what I said I wanted, I am actually seeing the product as more valuable to me and my situation. My desire for the presented solution increases.
By the end of the presentation, it was obvious that the salesperson had understood my needs and problems. It is obvious that the rep cares about me and what I want to happen with the product or service I buy.
It’s quite different from the sales rep at Costco or the typical time-stare salesperson, because the effectiveness of the advice given during the presentation is based on a previous listening step before it – one that the rep designed with questions to understand what I wanted.
Henry David Thoreau once said that, “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked what I thought and then attended to my answer.”
So the greatest compliment ever paid a prospective customer was when a salesperson asked what I wanted and then in their presentation attended to my answer. They presented the best solution for my needs.
You can do this as a great salesperson and as a great sales leader. You can be a professional, and you can coach professionals. It actually brings meaning and purpose into a sales position, because every day your sales rep goes out to help people with their needs and problems. In doing so, they build customers and even friends for life.
Be a consultative sales coach and make your people into great professionals for themselves and the companies they represent. The listening skills and the interpersonal problem solving they learn will also translate into everyday life and into the lives of their homes.
It will make them better people.