I recently had two very different sales experiences. One was fantastic, just perfect for me and resulted in a sale. The other was misery, and though I was interested in the product, will not be signing up. Here is what happened.
Let’s start with the amazing sales experience first. I was interested in joining a gym. A part of the process is to go in and get a tour. I went in and was clear with the salesperson about my needs. I told him I was familiar with the space (I had worked out there before) and I was low on time. He instantly adjusted his sales approach to match up with that new information. He told me just what I needed to know and nothing more. I hate going into too much detail and don’t care about the specifics like the age of the machines and all of that junk. He didn’t bore me with that at all. I asked him three or four questions, he answered them, and I signed up. I was in and out in less than ten minutes. When I left the skies parted and the sun shown down on me, it was perfect.
Now for the worst sales experience in recent memory. There is a service I was interested in using for my business. As is common, I opted to have a phone call with the sales guy about this service to learn more about it and how it might work to grow Sideways8. I just wanted to know two things. What will it cost? Has it worked effectively for other companies like mine? The sales guy just wouldn’t shut up. I could hardly get a word in as he took a deep dive into the very specific details of how to setup their product and all of the details of their packages. I hate details like that and didn’t care at all. Several times I had to flat out interrupt him to ask the questions that I wanted to know (I hate interrupting people and consider it very rude). Then, he didn’t answer the question well and would dive back into the underworld of details. He didn’t take the time to understand what I needed to know. He didn’t care. He only cared about talking about his product and how it would solve my problems, only he didn’t take the time to even hear my problems! That call lasted a horrifying 45 minutes until I finally cut him off and told him I had to go. I should have cut the call off much earlier; I’ll never get those minutes back. The sales experience was terrible. Their product might be great, but I want nothing to do with that company ever again.
Thinking of these experiences, I think the biggest difference between them is that one sale person was able to understand my needs quickly and adjust his approach to meet my needs. I had a need to get in and out fast with basic questions answered. He did that, and I signed up. The bad sales person didn’t recognize that I was in a hurry (even though I told him) and didn’t take the time to understand or answer my questions well. He just ran the sales call like he always does, running through a laboriously detailed pitch. That lack of customization to the sales process lost him the sale.
Sales is about the customer; otherwise, it’s just a one-sided conversation.