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  • Robert Farago

How to Sell Anyone Anything Pt. 2 - More Qualification

The worst mistake that every salesman makes is....

The first question a salesman should ask a customer: “what are the three things you like about your current product/service?” Once they’ve noted and logged their customer’s three likes, it’s time to go negative. “What are the three things you don’t like about your current product/service?”

You may recognize this question as a quick and easy way to exploit the customer’s “pain points.” To make them dissatisfied with their current product or service and, thus, “raise their buying temperature.” True! But here be dragons!

Presenting your product or service as the “answer” to their pain points/problems is a great landing at the wrong airport. At best. You might close the deal, but your conversion rate won’t be half as high as it will be when you use the right approach. For now know this: three dislikes. Get ‘em and forget ‘em.

To grasp this counterintuitive concept, let’s return to my Audi S4 (from Pt. 1). The three things I don’t like about my German four-door: it’s white, it isn’t a convertible and the engine sounds lame. A traditional salesman would be all over these “pain points.” I’ve got just the thing! Check out this beautiful blue Mustang convertible. Listen to that V8 rumble!

Wrong. I bought my S4 despite its deficiencies, not because of them. Clearly, they weren’t that important. What is important? My likes! Speed, comfort, handling. The Mustang isn’t as fast or comfortable as my Audi and doesn’t handle nearly as well. How about a Bentley convertible?

Comfortable, for sure. But it’s not as fast (in an exciting way), it handles like a boat and the engine’s as quiet as a church mouse. A dead church mouse.

No sale. And if you do sell me, you’re selling me the wrong car. A car that doesn’t give me what I want.

Solving problems is the single greatest mistake that 99 percent of salesman make. No surprise there. Salespeople and customers have profoundly different psychologies.

Salespeople are greedy motherfuckers – and I mean that in the nicest possible way. They’re always chasing mo’ better. They want a bigger/better house, car, clothes, watch, food, significant other, school for their kids, respect – everything. They’re avaricious alphas looking for an edge. To score more, they take risks.

The average buyer doesn’t like risk. Anything new is a risk. Buying something new from you could lose them what they already have – even if bits of it suck. Equally, they believe your product or service has hidden suckage (that you’re hiding). “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” is their motto.

Asking for your customers’ three dislikes isn’t about looking for problems to solve. It’s about stopping them from doing nothing.

Doing nothing – not buying – is your competition. Not your competitor. The easiest thing for customers to do: walk away. Continue doing whatever it is they were doing before they met you. So before you sell your customer on your product or service, you have to sell them off what they already have. Or don’t have.

Once the customer’s told you their three dislikes, ask questions! Is this your first white car Mr. Farago? How would you describe the color? Did you have a convertible? Do you miss opening the roof on a beautiful summer’s night? What’s your favorite engine sound? How does it compare with your Audi’s?

The cool thing: you’re not arguing. You’re not being an asshole. You’re agreeing with your customer’s dislikes. You’re empathizing with them. Sharing their pain. Showing them you understand and care. Which you do, right?

When you’ve hammered their three dislikes, again, forget them. Don’t write them down. Don’t remember them. Throw the dislikes down the memory hole. Never think about them or mention them ever again as long as ye both shall live. From this point on, don’t say a single negative word about what your customer bought previously.

Helpful hint: If a customer can’t come up with three dislikes, don’t prompt. A prompted dislike is your dislike not theirs. (Same for their likes.) Wait it out. Encourage them, but don’t prompt. If they’re coming up short or blank, you’re fucked; their buying temperature is arctic. You can keep going, but you stand a good chance of freezing to death.

Don’t worry, be happy. Like hurricanes in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, that hardly ever happens. After all, if a customer is talking to a salesperson, their current product or service isn’t good enough. They’re primed.

So relax and enjoy taking them for the ride (not in the mafia sense).

You’re a third of the way through the Qualify, Present, Close sales process! Next up: Present.

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