When Selling is a Tug of War

Edition: July 2001 - Vol 9 Number 07
Article#: 1011
Author: Anita Sirianni, The Professional Sales Coach

They need your product. You delivered a world-class presentation and now you've asked for the order but the prospect won't budge! Why is it, that despite our best efforts, sometimes we just can't get customers to commit?

One of the best comments I've heard on how to get customers to buy is summarized in a quote by Gabriel Siegel: ''Most sales people try to take a horse to water and make him drink. Your job is to make the horse thirsty.'' How often do our presentations try to force our customers to drink? What can we do to shape our approach in a way that will make prospects pant for more?

Many reps operate as if they were being paid to push people into the sale. Yet, top performers operate by pulling customers toward buying instead of pushing. What are some of our selling habits that are more push intentioned instead of pull?

Drowning in Details

Have you ever set out for an appointment and thought ''I've gotta get this one'' or during the presentation thought, If I just tell him everything I know about this great product, he won't be able to resist it — he'll have to buy! Do you sometimes hear yourself reciting the same litany of product features and benefits in every call? Push is feature dumping. You can dunk that horse's head in the river but it doesn't he's gonna drink!

A better approach is to whet the prospect's appetite by tying each product advantage to accomplish their goals — not yours.

The Sounds of Success

Push is telling. Pull is listening. Ask any buyer what sales people tend to do too much of and every one of them will tell you — talk! By doing more listening than talking you will attract the customer's interest and learn ways you can be of service. I realize, this sounds so simple and basic, but so few reps actually do it. Probably the reason it is so hard for us to really listen twice as much as we speak is because we believe our job is to sell, which means to talk - to push. Think of selling as a two-way dialogue not a one-way monologue.

Realizing Results

Push presentations are product focused whereas, pull presentations are performance focused. Think back on your last sales call. Was most of your time spent talking about your product or did you spend most of your time

discussing the benefits they would gain by using it? Customers don't want to know the nuts and bolts of your product; they want what it can do for them. Pull your customers into the sale by talking about how your offer can improve their

condition. Sharing a success story by describing how your offering will fit into their business for increased efficiency

and effectiveness will put you on the right path to making that sale. And letting the customer give you feedback and actually listening to that feedback will help you close the deal. Push back your old habits and pull customers across the line to buying!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Professional Sales Coach Anita Sirianni is the President of Ansir International, which provides sales training and consulting to many of the country's leading corporations. She has more than 15 years of sales success in the healthcare industry. She can be reached at: 1-800-471-2619. Or on the Web at: www.anitasiranni.com