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  • Robert Farago

How to Sell Anyone Anything Pt. 3 - Present

As you sow, so shall you reap

A shotgun is a fearsome weapon. A 12-gauge shotgun loaded with OO buckshot fires nine .33 caliber pellets with a single trigger press. Great for home defense! Except for turkey shoots, hunters don’t use shotguns. They use a rifle. One bullet, fired one at a time out of a rifled barrel, aimed at a specific part of the entire target. Accuracy FTW.

The vast majority of salesmen present their product or service armed with a shotgun. They pepper the customer with multiple benefits: quality, convenience. customer service, price comparisons and on and on. It’s hit or miss. Or hit and miss. What’s needed: three precise rifle shots.

The time to put down the shotgun – and pick up a rifle – is before presentation. During qualification. Salesmen who don’t know their customer’s three likes, who make their product or service presentation based on fixing the customer’s dislikes, are just dancing in the dark.

Or guessing. Hoping some part of their presentation convinces the customer to buy. Based on nothing more than prior experience, how they’ve been told to sell or their own preferences.

Yeah. No. Hope is an attitude, not a sales strategy. Know your customer’s three likes then show them your product or service meets those needs. It’s that simple. Let’s take that idea for a spin…

A salesman could present an Audi S4 based on the car’s looks, prestige, comfort, stereo, interior design, passenger comfort, trunk and fuel capacity, fuel economy, safety, acceleration, top-speed, handling, steering, warranty, the service department’s convenience and quality, the car’s resale value and its price relative to the competition. My Audi salesman touched on many if not most of these benefits.

Why? My three automotive “likes” are speed, comfort and handling. Presenting the S4 on anything else is a waste of time. It’s distracting, confusing and boring. Speed, comfort and handling are what floats my boat.

Focus on your customer’s three likes, convince them your product or services fits the bill and their money is yours.

Of course, that assumes your product or service has what they really, really want. If it doesn’t, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Don’t waste your customers’ time or your own. Bail. Direct the customer to a product or service that fulfills their three likes. More on that in a mo.

There are two important “tricks” to the presentation process. First, make sure you fully understand your customer’s likes. For example, what does “speed” mean? For me, speed means overtaking ability. Someone else might think speed means being able to safely enter a highway. Or cruise at 70.

If you don’t define terms during qualification, you may well find yourself barking up the wrong tree – without knowing it. So ask the customer to explain the exact nature of their three likes at the beginning of the sales process. Again, write them down.

Second, as you present your product or service based on the customer’s likes, ask the customer if it got ‘er done. In other words, present but verify. One customer-dictated benefit at a time.

Imagine we’re out on an S4 test drive. The salesman waits for a clear road. “Floor it.” I put the hammer down and we rocket forwards. The next words out of the salesman’s mouth should be: “Is that enough speed?”

Uh-oh! What if the customer says no? Then stop. Sorry. No sale. A good salesman doesn’t try to sell a product or service that doesn’t meet their customers’ likes (a.k.a., needs). The customer ends up resenting if not hating the salesman. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Walking away from a sale runs completely counter to corporate culture. Yes, well, saying “sorry, we don’t have what you need” and directing a customer to a competitor is an excellent long-term strategy.

Your competitor may reciprocate. The admission surprises and delights your customer (who thought all salesman were douchebags), engenders loyalty and leads to customer referrals.

O.K. You’ve established your customer’s three likes about their current product or service. Raised their buying temperature by hammering them on their three dislikes. Presented your product or service based entirely on their three likes. Checked that your product or service satisfies those likes.

You’re ready to close…

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