Improve your sales process by showing instead of telling

John had been working at the piano store a couple of months. He had completed his sales training — but things weren’t adding up for him. First, the approved sales process involved leading off with price, and leaning heavily on talking about the value of the piano offered. Secondly, a large portion of the prospects were first-generation Americans who wanted to buy pianos for their children — English was not their first language and it could sometimes be hard to communicate the “hard sell” preferred by the sales training manual. He was closing sales; but not as many as he thought he should — and each one was a battle. John’s frustration led him to experiment until he discovered a better way, an improved sales process. But his new approach was radical; he wasn’t sure if the other sales people, or the owner, would be willing to go for it. With the store’s sales sagging he decided they had nothing to lose. He convinced the store owner to try his improved sales process for one month and compare the results.

The sales people were skeptical. Some jumped onboard, but others stuck with their “tried and true” process. After a week the results were clear. Those who made the switch had seen definite sales improvement, and soon everyone had adopted the new sales process. By the end of the month the results were stunning. The new sales process improved sales by 5X. That’s right, 500% increase in sales. What did he do?

Instead of leading off the conversation talking about the value of the instrument and negotiating price, John would welcome customers into the store by playing 20 − 30 seconds of familiar melody, then rise from the bench and invite the customer to sit down at the piano. That was his improved sales process! He figured people were coming into the store because they valued music and wanted their children to experience the joy of playing a piano. So John gave them that experience right away. The rest of the conversation was similar from the sales person’s end — identify a model, negotiate a price — but the tenor of the conversation was different. Those customers who had sat down and played some music were already “sold”.

In the first approach the sales person was telling the prospect about the tremendous value that the instrument provided. In the second approach John showed the value of the instrument, and transcended language barriers by letting the prospect experience the difference that purchasing a piano would make in their lives.

When someone tells you how smart they are or how strong or fast they are, what’s your natural inclination? When someone is selling me, my response is to push back, to argue and to “win” the argument. On the other hand, if someone shares with me something that they care about — I’m attracted to that — it makes me want to make a connection. By getting on the same side of the table with your prospects you turn an adversarial discussion into a discussion about how you can work with them to accomplish their goals.

Oh, and you can close a lot more deals too!

Are you telling your prospects about how great your service is, or are you letting them experience what working with you and your team will be like?

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