Some Sales Calls are Like a Bad First Date

admin Lead Generation, Localisation Sales, Localization Sales, Prospecting, Qualification Skills, Translation Sales Leave a comment  

During a training course I was delivering earlier this year, my client remarked that bad selling behaviours are very similar to bad dating behaviours.  In the world of dating, there are simply things (from the creepy to boring) that you just don’t do or at least shouldn’t do on a first date if you’d like a second date.  The same holds true for developing sales leads.

Don’t Show up in a Wedding Dress

This behaviour was inspired by a dating site advertisement on television here in the UK.  A man is sitting across from a series of women that he “swipes away” because of their behaviour.  One of them had turned up in a wedding dress.  This is truly cringeworthy.  Why?  I think the assumption speaks for itself.  Do you really want to marry someone on a first date?

If we cringe at the thought of this behaviour on a first date, then why do so many sales people do what amounts to the same thing when they make initial contact with a prospect.  So many sales people assume the customer needs or wants some or all aspects of their services when they understand very little about the person, industry or company, their aspirations or problems. In my mind this is just as presumptuous as turning up for a first date in a wedding dress!

Me, Me, Me

Most of us have been there.  Your date has a one-sided conversation by talking endlessly about themselves.  They are talking at you and demonstrating no interest in you whatsoever.    There is no conversation.  Just them “sharing” endless and sometimes extremely boring information about their lives.  They ask no questions and won’t or can’t engage in a two-way conversation.

Perhaps it’s nerves or lack of social skills, but this certainly shortens the duration of the first date, usually with the other person suddenly needing to take a phone call and leave due to an “emergency at home”.  Death knell to a second date.  All it would take to correct this is to actually read the other person’s profile and look for common interests to talk about or ask questions about to get some rapport going.  So simple!

Sales people who recite all the bells and whistles associated with their service offering–SME translators, DTP, engineering, TM, MT, ISO certification ad infinitum–hoping that something interests the prospect are doomed.  Why?  It’s self-centered, generic, boring and probably sounds like every other translation company sales pitch?   Moreover you’re trying to sell WAY to early in the process.  You need to know what the customer’s goals and problems are so you can match your service to their needs.

What is needed is a true understanding of the buyer and personalised approach that takes the customer’s industry, company, role and associated goals/problems into account.  This information will help the seller establish rapport and build credibility with the prospect, paving the way for a collaborative discussion about which aspects of their services can HELP the customer move from where they are today to a better future.

What?   I Can’t Hear You!

If you’re doing all the talking on a date, you will likely miss important cues from the other person.  Maybe one of the things you laundry listed above actually resonated with your date, but you were so busy trying to impress them that you missed their attempt to say something, agree with you or ask a question.  You’re so focused on your own agenda you can’t hear.

This scenario happens all the time in sales.  The sales person is either so scripted or focused on getting all their “great information” out, that they aren’t attuned to customer cues that something is of interest.  It’s as if the prospect must be interested in everything in the pitch, when perhaps they are only interested in one aspect of it…and that one aspect of it, if the sales person can help them do it better is enough to make the sale.  I liken it to the old Ginsu Knife commercials in the US that endlessly say  “but wait there’s more”!  More might be too much and turn the prospect off.  It’s always a turn-off not to be listened to.

Don’t ignore customer cues that indicate interest.  Better yet, do what I suggested in above.  Know something about your customer to establish rapport and then ask smart questions based on the customer’s business and buying journey.

Stop being as cringeworthy and boring as the worst dates you can conjure up in your mind.  Approach selling from the customer’s point of view, don’t sell until you understand what the customer needs and listen so you hear it!

If you want to establish better rapport with your translation buying prospects and learn how to match your services to their needs, please get in touch jessica.rathke@l10nsalesmarketing.com.

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