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!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Need, Want, Desire

One of the textbook sales mantra's is you can't create a need in sales.  If you're not solving a problem for your prospect then  there isn't a need. Certainly you can't force a customer into willingly buying what you're selling. You can of course force a customer into unwillingly buying what you're selling - that's high pressure sales.

It may be possible to create a need however it's unlikely to be a romantic affair. Forcing a need is a bit like rape. It's probably more about your needs for a sale than theirs.

The sales textbooks then progress to creating a want.

I need a new car.  I want a Bentley.   I could have opted for a cheap entry level car but I want a Bentley.

This is where things get interesting.  My normal perspective on sales is that it's a lot like dating. In fact my first book Romancing The Sale is based on that simple observation.

So wanting a Bentley may be completely irrational. I may not have the money.  I could be a builder so loading the Bentley up with bags of cement and other construction materials may be totally impractical. Yet I want a Bentley.

Love is blind.

When a want turns into a desire the purchase decision has shifted from a want which satisfies a need into something totally emotional and all consuming.  The buyer may be totally infatuated with the prospect of owning the item. In fact the lust and infatuation may be better experience for the customer than actually owning the item. It may turn into a disappointment. I'm sure some of you may be feeling similarly deflated about some previous romantic experiences.  The lust for your hot potential girlfriend/boyfriend was more exciting than actually having him/her.

Creating a want an progressing in into a desire for your prospect is the art of sales. To achieve this you are playing with emotions and desires which may be completely unrelated to the thing you are selling. The challenge is to find a meaningful link which triggers the desire.

As a builder I may need a practical vehicle for carrying bags of cement yet I may have the desire to show my mates that I'm a builder that's going places and I will own the construction company. Suddenly the impracticalities of a Bentley may become secondary if my desire to express my aspirations are greater than mere practicalities. OK this might seem a crazy example yet I've seen "love and desire" lead people to some very illogical decisions.

Humans are animals and we are driven by emotions. Successful sales people will be skilled and reading and playing with those emotions.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Everyone's talking but no-one's listening

In today's world, we are all being encouraged to share our thoughts and opinions. Facebook this. Twitter that. In fact I'm doing this right now - I'm sharing my thoughts and observations on a blog.

It does seem that everyone's talking but no-one's listening.  Attention is scarce.  Un-divided attention is a rarity.  We are all eager to give our opinions but we are unwilling to spare the time to give the gift of attention to other people.  Giving your attention to some-one else is actually a very scarce resource.

So is the blog just yet another article that voices an opinion and changes nothing?  I hope not.  I genuinely believe that listening to what other people say makes a difference.  In sales it can really make a difference. It can be your differentiator. Since so few people are prepared to spare the time to listen, you say seem unique. People crave acceptance and listening elevates the speaker and shows acceptance.

Genuinely listen. I don't mean using the time when they are speaking to plan what you are going to say next. I mean really listen to what they are saying and taking it in. 

I would love you all to spend just 3 minutes a day genuinely listening to a loved one as a result of reading this post.  Listening in sales is just good  practice - it shouldn't be done with an ulterior motive anyone than you should give your 3 year old child your attention because you have an ulterior motive. 

We seem to have lost the ability to respect other people by listening. Let's make a change and promise to listen intently to each other for at least 3 minutes per day - after-all  it's probably 2 minutes 50 seconds more than you listen per day!