Are your sales slumping? Do you wonder why prospects you consider “sure things” won’t buy your product or service, though they heard your presentation? Want to dramatically increase your closing rate? Then change your perspective, as widely respected Sales Coach Matthew Lampros explains:
If you’re driving slower than me you’re a dullard; faster and you’re a psychopath.
I’ve known Bill Lampton for several years now. I’d say our relationship has been close. I decided I wanted to get to know him better after watching him in action at a seminar held by one of my clients. He was a fantastic presenter, orator, and especially a teacher. I knew I could learn a lot from him. Since then I’ve read his book, ‘The Complete Communicator,’ watched many of his presentations, followed his BLOG, and had the privilege to have several great conversations with him – including one on my weekend radio show where he was the guest.
I was very honored when Bill asked me to write a guest column for his BLOG. I have a lot to say about a lot of things (so goes the criticism I commonly hear) but as I pondered what topic I would write about for this article, I recalled an old George Carlin joke that goes something like this, “Really, how self-absorbed are we? Did you ever notice that everyone driving slower than you is a moron and anyone driving faster is crazy?”
In an odd way that joke sums up a lot of what I have learned from Bill over the past four years:
* Put yourself in the other persons’ shoes; understand where they are coming from.
* Relate your presentation to their company, their city, their world.
* If you’re going to be a complete communicator, you have to start by looking at things from their perspective.
* Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
* You have two ears and one mouth for a reason – that’s the correct proportion for communicating.
At any given time, I’m driving too fast, or too slow, or too close or too far for the person behind me. But, really, am I doing it wrong just because I’m not doing it the way you are?
I’m a sales coach by profession. I spend my days teaching high-earning sales people and CEO’s the nuances of the most successful sales professionals. Getting to know Bill and understanding one of his basic philosophies about communication has helped me be a better teacher and a better salesperson. The single biggest mistake any CEO, entrepreneur or sales person makes (when it comes to driving revenue) is an assumption they know what is best for their prospects. “No, no, you’re doing that all wrong. You need to use this widget – that’s the way you should do it…” so goes the thinking. But that sounds a lot like the Carlin joke, doesn’t it?
Maybe I’m driving too slow, or too close for a reason. OR maybe I’m doing it because I need a good lesson in safe vehicle operation. Maybe your customers haven’t signed the contract because they have a legitimate reason, OR maybe it really is because they don’t quite get it yet. Bill has helped me to hone in on this truth. My research has found that up to 60% of sales that could have closed do not, simply because you don’t stand in their shoes. They don’t see what you see because you aren’t guiding them there – and so they don’t buy.
Specifically the research has found that it takes a prospect, on average, SIX TIMES LONGER to see the benefit of your product/solution than it takes you. Why? Because, you look at their situation and immediately see that you can improve it but:
* You are an expert at solving that problem, they are not. So they don’t see it as quickly. If they could see it as clearly as you they wouldn’t have the problem and you’d be out of business.
* You are too used to jumping to the solution and are likely missing a few nuances that only communication will help you uncover. Be sure to really make sure you understand their “illness” before you “prescribe” a solution. (Ever been to a doctor that won’t hear you and, gives you a prescription and sends you on the way so he can get to the next patient? Frustrating isn’t it?)
* They don’t trust you (yet) because you’ve not indicated to them you really understand where they are coming from – you’re just jumping to the solution.
Hopefully that is connecting: in most cases they need what you have, but they don’t see it your way … so they don’t buy. Stand in their shoes. Walk them towards the solution from where THEY are standing.
The next time you are working with a prospect you know would be a great customer remember Bill Lampton, remember to empathize with their current situation, and remember George Carlin’s joke about our self-important nature … and then you’ll close more deals!
Matthew Lampros is a sales coach and time management expert based in Salt Lake City, UT. He is an advocate of “get your hands dirty” methods for finding, getting, and keeping customers. You can follow his BLOG at www.SalesWings.com or reach him directly (anytime) at 888 99 QUOTA.
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