As you read the title of this blog you might be thinking that this would never happen but the fact is it happens thousands of times each and every day. More often than not it takes the form of, “I’d like to talk to you about Product X today. Do you have a minute?” Obviously, the average salesperson would never make a statement like the title of this blog; however, many do begin conversations with their customers using the example stated above. The question we must ask ourselves is how our customers interpret these statements. Or better yet, when you are approached by a salesperson using this line, what do you think? If you’re like me, you think to yourself, “Uh oh, here we go…”
I used to feel sorry for goldfish swimming in that small bowl, day after day. But then I learned that goldfish have a 9-second attention span. They likely don’t realize they’re going around in circles. Certainly that wouldn’t apply to humans—but then I learned that our ability to pay attention has decreased dramatically in the past 100 years. Humans used to be able to pay attention for 20 minutes—now our attention span is the same as that goldfish. What this means for us in sales is that we better capture attention pretty quickly—or else our customers won’t listen to what we say. And if we can’t get them to listen, we certainly can’t get them to buy our product.
I was blown away by this recent video circulating on the internet. If you haven’t seen the interview about the “fake job”, you may want to stop and watch it right now. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY] Even if you have seen it, you may want to view it again. I believe it is one of the most impactful demonstrations of the power of gaining interest that I’ve ever seen.
Most business professionals stop listening to a presentation almost as soon as it begins—within 60 seconds (according to expert Joe McCormack). It’s not any better if you send an email—they’ll stop reading it after 30 seconds. And what is perhaps most alarming is that they stop listening to colleagues after 15 seconds. If that’s the way they treat their colleagues, how much time do you think they’ll give to those of us in sales?
With so much at stake with each sales interaction, why do reps set themselves up for failure? I’m referring to their lack of planning and delivering a great opening. As I have often said, “A great opening does not make a great call but without a great opening you won't have a great call.”
“Now, I want to talk to you about my other product…” This is how most reps transition from a discussion about one product to the next. What a lost opportunity! If they just used some transitional phrases (also called bridging statements) the conversation would sound more natural, would flow better, and they would get a chance to reinforce a marketing message or salient point about their product.
As David Ogilvy said, “Nobody ever sold anything to anybody by boring them to death.” In selling, reps get only a minute or two to try to connect with their customers. In Pharma, this is known as the stand-up call—for the rep is grabbing the doctor while standing at the samples closet or in the [...]