I am thrilled to have back as a guest blogger Rich Gallagher, communicator extraordinaire and President of Point of Contact Group. Read on:
RG: A few years ago I was interviewed by a national business columnist, who among other things wanted to know how I closed sales. My answer made her choke on her sandwich: I never, ever try to “close” a sale.
In fact, I don’t sell at all. And neither should you.
I know, that flies in the face of every sales book you’ve ever read. Google the phrase “sales techniques” and you will come up with over half a million hits. But trying to get rich by reading many of them is like trying to attain good mental health by watching Dr. Phil.
Don’t believe me? OK then, picture yourself at a business networking meeting. In front of you are three people:
-Cal Closer, a back-slappy type who puts his arm around you, crows about whatever it is he is selling, and palms off his business cards on everyone.
-Hannah Hungry, who flits around the room expectantly, asking everyone whether they have any leads for her services.
-Sarah Secure, who obviously loves what she is doing, but spends most of the discussion genuinely interested in you.
Now, which of these people would you rather talk to? Who would you go to for impartial advice? Whom would you trust your son or daughter with on a date? And now, for the bonus points: if they were all selling the same thing, which person would you buy from? There you go.
This is why I never sell. And, not coincidentally, why I am usually very busy. Prospects soon discover that I won’t ever try to “close” them, overcome their objections, try to get past their gatekeepers, or use any other tiresome techniques to push for a sale.
Instead, they know I will listen to them, be honest about what I can and cannot do for them, and above all respect their intelligence. If I am not a truly outstanding choice for them, in their judgment or mine, I am more than happy to suggest other options and then shake hands.
The same thing goes for my existing clients. Whether they use me every week or every three years, we still have the same great relationship. One where they can talk to me anytime, knowing that I will be focused on them and not on snockering them into giving me more work. You see, I believe they are intelligent people who know what they want, they already know I am great at what I do, and I am not going to risk a good relationship by foaming at the mouth trying to sell to them.
Think carefully of all of the “sales-oriented” people you know – men and women whose agendas are obvious, and who would never, even under pain of torture, suggest something other than themselves. If you are being honest, I’ll bet that anything you buy from them is probably despite their selling techniques, not because of them. Am I correct?
As for me, I learned my approach of “not selling” from, of all people, a car salesman. Jeff has always patiently let my wife and I test drive one car after another, never presses us to make a decision, and knows his products cold. He never asks us stupid questions like, “Are you prepared to buy a car today?” or “What would it take to get you into this vehicle?” That’s why we’ve purchased close to $100,000 in cars from him over the years, and hope to purchase $100,000 more. And why he’s always the busiest guy at the dealership. If Jeff’s employers ever make him read a sales manual, they’re toast.
There aren’t a lot of Jeffs out there, either on the car lots or in my profession. But when you toss out your books and tapes on how to sell, sell, sell and start focusing on making your clients happy, incredible things will start to happen in your life. Join people like us, and watch what it does for your own business.
Rich Gallagher heads Point of Contact Group (www.pointofcontactgroup.com), a training and development firm that teaches people what to say in their most difficult situations. His eight books include What to Say to a Porcupine, a national #1 customer service bestseller, and his latest book How to Tell Anyone Anything. And not one of the over 10,000 people he has trained has ever heard a sales pitch from him.
CR: Thanks again to Rich for contributing. So much to learn from him…