My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Sunday 10 February 2013

Romantic Sales #7: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

February is the most romantic month of the year. In the lead-up to Valentine's day we are encouraging you to be romantic with your selling by sharing our Romantic Sales tips.  We'll cover the top 10 tips to spice up your sales in time for Valentine's day. Make February 14th the day you start Romancing Your Customers.

Tip # 7: Respect
Aretha Franklin's classic song Respect isn't a love song, yet the need for respect is important in a sales relationship.

In complex sales it is important to build a trusted relationship. That doesn't mean being a lap dog and saying yes to everything the prospect wants but it does mean respecting their views and not forcing your views upon them.  

The chances are the thing you are selling is not 100% what they want.  In a relationship no-one is perfect either. So there is some need for compromise. For a successful marriage  both sides will have to make some changes in order to build a successful relationship.  As you are the seller, you are more likely to accept a higher  level of compromise than the customer. Here it is important to know when to walk away - don't sell yourself short or allow yourself to be changed so you are no longer you.

In highly complex leading edge technology sales, it is common for the seller to have deep technical knowledge that the customer often needs to understand to feel comfortable with the purchase decision. Lack of understanding is seen as a risk and unfortunately the devil can be in the detail. 

This is however a danger area where "religious" arguments about the technical approach can be brewing. The customer will have a different perspective and often a knowledge of the product from a different dimension.  The seller will know "how the product works" whilst the customer will know "how to use the product". The challenge is to have a technical discussion to bring both sides together and exploit those different view-points.  I've seen these differences of perspectives leading to a damaging argument where the customer is told they are wrong. Here respect for the customer's  knowledge and an openness to learn from their perspective would have created a win-win situation rather than making the customer feel like their nose has been put out of joint.

By respecting the views of the customer and when the customer makes an unexpected comment which on the surface seems to be wrong, it is far more powerful to be curious and ask "that's an interesting point you've just made. I've got something different in mind. Can you help me understand your point."

By showing respect, you will avoid damaging conflict. When there is an argument or conflict, you trigger the customers reptilian brain (I call him Croco Mojo) into a  fight or flight mode. Emotions are invoked and powerful chemicals released which destroy any logical thought process. When that happens say goodbye to your sale.

So show R-E-S-P-E-C-T !

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