Imagine for a second that you’re trying to find your way around a city that you’re unfamiliar with. You have a map that you’re following, but even so, you’re just getting more and more lost. It sounds inexplicable … unless you realise that the map you’ve got is for a different city!
But what do maps have to do with sales?
So many people end up making this exact same mistake during sales conversation. See, all of us have a unique “map” that’s made up of our experiences, our beliefs, our values, and our desires. Nobody’s map is exactly the same, because nobody’s life is exactly the same. And this map makes a huge difference in the way that we want and need to be sold to.
The problem happens when you don’t take the time to find out what your potential customers’ maps look like. Then, chances are that you’re trying to sell to them based on YOUR map, which is not going to be the same as theirs.
Let’s make this a bit more concrete.
Let’s say that you’re a mum with young kids who wants to buy a car. You know what you care about in a car: you want it to have a high crash test rating, you need it to have enough space to hold your kids and all the things you need to bring along with you when you bring them out, and you’d like it to have a good entertainment system to keep your kids occupied when you’re driving.
But imagine that the second you walk into the showroom, the salesperson immediately starts telling you about the horsepower of the car, how fast it can go, the interesting colours you can get it in, and the nice leather seats you can upgrade to. You would quickly lose interest, even if the car did have all of the things that you were looking for in a car, because the salesman simply wouldn’t tell you about them. It’s not like he’s telling you anything that’s untrue about the car — he’s just working off of his map, telling you about the things that are important to him, not you. And because of this, he’ll needlessly lose the sale.
How can you avoid doing this?
It’s not hard — you just need to listen! Ask your potential customers what they really want, and use open ended questions to get the most information. (These are questions that don’t have a yes or no answer. More on that here.) Remember, you should be listening much more than you talk in a sales conversation, so ask a question and then SHUT UP.
Such a simple thing to do … but so effective!
Until next time,