emotion sales dilema

by I. F.
(Oakland, CA)

Hello Toronto uncle,

I've been thinking for the past few days about sales and thought to reach out to you for your expertise.

Here's my dilemma: I've been in a number of situations recently where i'm presenting a topic that i'm sure the recipient is on board with. Nonetheless, after my presentation (including numbers and breakdown of benefits) the recipient chooses the decision I was hoping they would forgo. What to do? My first thought is that this is related to social capital and that my presentation skills and body language are in need of fine-tuning. I say this because I've received the following feedback: 1) that i'm hard to read 2) that i'm not genuine. As I always aim for honesty and value compassion and listening above all, I believe that I am engaging with people as fully as possible. Thus, I conclude that it's not the content but how the information is presented that is impacting how it's being received, aka, the results.

What do you make of my assessment? If you agree do you have feedback or resources? Or might you even have time for a chat?

I guess the bottom line is, i'm not closing the deals and I think there's something I can do about it. Furthermore, as you are a fabulous salesman, from what I hear, I think that you might have some useful insights.

Awaiting your reply,



Hi -----,

What it boils down to is the following simple formula:

1) Ask
2) Tell
3) Ask

What you are trying to do is find out what your customer's agenda is and then present according to that.

Stereotypical sales and marketing is about having a polished presentation and pitch and going in with guns ablaze; unfortunately, this does not work! You need to get into the habit of talking less and listening more (seriously!). Remember that the best sales meeting is where the customer is doing most of the talking. In fact, the person listening and asking questions is in fact in control of the conversation.

I know you will have your personal appearance and presentation notes, etc, in order and this kind of preparation is important, of course (as well as playing out conversations and scenarios beforehand in your mind, if possible). Beyond your first impression, however, you should be as close to a blank slate as possible; you are there to find out what is on your customer's mind.

Ask them general and specific questions about the personal and professional concerns and goals. Find out what they are really looking for, what really interests them. Do not make do with a half-hearted response; if a customer says, "just show me what you have, already!" say, "I appreciate your enthusiasm but I need to ask these questions to make sure I present to you accordingly."

As you progress, you will develop "qualification" questions that will let you know whether or not you think a customer is a "good fit". Do not assume that everyone needs what you have, no matter what you think you know about them and how cool your solution is. Remember to go in with zero agenda and try a build your entire case around only what the customer is telling you directly.

If you can do this, you will build a foolproof case and closing the sale is an automatic outcome of that. You see, if you ask someone what they want and go through all of their concerns and whatnot, and if you ask at each step of the way, "how does that sound?", how can you go wrong? Whenever the customer has an issue with something you say, deal with it before going any further.

Try and preface your presentation with the powerful question: "If I can show you all of that, what then?" You are simply looking to gather whatever information you need about what the customer wants and present that back to him. You want them to say, "this is what we are looking for and if you can show it to us then I am going to recommend this to my boss." How can you lose then?

Ask, tell them what they asked for and then ask, "does that sound good?" "Is that what you are looking for?" Get into the habit of stopping and asking, "How does that sound?" Don't be scared of pushback because if you don't deal with it, you will jeopardize the process. You are looking for honest and direct feedback and responses from your customer and asking for that builds their trust.

As for presenting to groups, try and do the same thing. The hard part is that it takes some practice and experience not to be nervous and whatnot. The good news is that they best way to present is to BE YOURSELF. If people tell you that you don't come across as genuine it is because you are putting on a "presenter" mask instead of just talking to them like you would to friends and family.

I hope that helps! I am very flattered that you reaching out to me and know that you will succeed mightily. :o)


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