Photo by George Kendall on Unsplash

I Don’t Need Your Great Product

Shyster. Pushy. Snake oil. Clown. Time-waster. All words synonymous with what profession? Can you guess? I bet you can salesperson. Moreover, I bet you have few nicknames to add to the list. Why is this list so familiar? Are all salespeople swindlers, cheats, and awful people? I don’t believe that to be true. Even the bad salespeople probably think they are selling a good product or service. I think there is a different problem that needs to be addressed.

Imagine a 3-piece hedgehog grooming set. No matter how awesome that set is, unless I know a hedgehog with an unruly appearance I won’t be needing this product. People trying to sell me stuff that I don’t really need is what creates all the negativity and stress around “sales.”

Too many salespeople are selling products just like the hedgehog grooming set. They want to come in, tell you all about their great company (We have been in business for 100 years!), their personal journey in the industry (I have so many years of selling this and that for these guys and those guys), and jump right into their latest product offering. They have even practiced their responses to your stalls and objections. Yet, in my experience, they rarely start with the basic question of “Do you know any unkempt hedgehogs?”

A real problem won’t have any stalls or objections. What I mean is if you have really understood my challenges, the financial impact on me and my business that the problem creates, and you have a solution that solves that challenge, I will be signing the check to buy faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle!” However, if you are trying to wedge, slip, or jam your product into my world, I have to go through all the mental gymnastics to evaluate if your product might meet a need that I have. However, I will be looking through a filter of “Why should I spend the money?” That is a much harder sell.

So, here is my question for you: Do you sell stuff? If so, do you fully explore your prospective buyer’s compelling reasons to buy before you blab on and on about your amazing product or service? Pro Tip: If you know really know that those reasons point to your product, you won’t have to actually sell anything, they will beg you to buy it. Try it. I promise it works.

Oh, and vendors who try to sell stuff to me … are you reading this?

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