Most salespeople don’t know how to sell.

We’ve all been there. We’re having a convo with a salesperson and for some reason, they’re not listening to anything we’re saying. Then the salesperson says something contrary to what we’ve shared with them. Can you relate?

Less than three years ago, I researched laptops. I had unhappy experiences with brands like HP and Sony. After performing due diligence, getting advice from my circle of influence, I purchased a new Toshiba Satellite laptop.  Great brand, so I thought.

In year two, out of warranty of course, the speakers grew an attitude problem. Some days they would work and other days not. I ended up purchasing a cool external Gigaware USB Laptop Speaker from Radio Shack that works great.

In the 28th month, the CD/DVD drive decided to croak. In fact, it never worked properly from the get go! Replaced it.

A few months later the keyboard went kaput. Replaced it.

Recently, the WIFI has had a mind of it’s own. Every now and then, I lose my internet connection. For all you geeks out there, Linksys looked at the router and Time Warner Cable sent a technician to check out the modem and line. Everything is fine on their end.

I took this pile of electronics I nicknamed “ToCheapa,”  to a local computer garage to diagnose the problem and hopefully provide a financially palatable solution.

“Wow, this thing has seen better days” said the sales counter dude as he eyeballed “ToCheapa.” He pointed out multiple cracks in the case, wear and tear of the keyboard, and looked at me as if I were a reckless laptop owner.

Full disclaimer: I treat my computers with kit gloves!

He took “ToCheapa” to the back room, gave it to the bench tech, and came back to the showroom where we talked about the laptop industry. I explained, when it comes to computers, in the recent past, I’ve had bad luck with HP, Sony, and now ToCheapa. He was empathetic saying he’s seen all kinds of problems.

After 10 short minutes, the bench tech determined the WIFI antenna was partially broken. To fix everything including a new case, we’re looking at $200, minimum. Not gonna happen.

We start talking about purchasing a new unit. “Hold on, UPS just dropped off a shipment of new units. I’ll be right back!” said the excited salesperson.

Tech/Sales dude carries out a brand new HP.

Me: “I told you, I don’t want to take another chance with this brand. I had bad luck before.”

Tech/Sales dude: “Oh ok. I also have a couple of brand new Toshiba’s that just came in.”

Can you believe it?

I shared I heard great things about Lenovo. He said he was expecting a shipment of these bad boys next week and would give me a call when they came in.

You guessed it. He never followed up with me.

I love this computer store. Their service is the best. So, I’m not going to publicly slam them here.

Their salespeople’s selling skills need lots of buffing.

An often quoted research study states:

  • 55% of people in sales can’t sell

  • 25% are selling the wrong thing

  • The remaining 20% are the stars who sell 80% of the products and services that are sold —University of Florida publication, Greenberg and Greenberg research

This salesperson has what I call, selective listening.

He knew I needed a computer however his only interest was making a sale. He wasn’t concerned with what type of computer I wanted to buy. He just wanted to hear the proverbial cash register go, cha ching!

His selective listening cost him a sale.

I wonder, how many times the counter staff is making the same mistake with other customers? What’s the dollar amount in lost sales? Over a week? A quarter? A year?

Selective listening adds up.

If you want to sell more, you need to ask enough questions as to what the customer wants to buy. Why they want to buy.

Buying something is an emotional experience. It’s rarely based on logic. It’s based on how will this decision affect the buyer on a personal level.

What about your business? Are your salespeople in the best position to deliver the best customer experience and close more deals?

Sales people completing a selling skills intensive training program show increases in productivity ranging from 35% to 1,665%. Yet, an estimated 70% of companies provide no selling skills development at all. (Noting that competency in sales skills is different from competency in knowing products and services)
— ASTD, Annual Research Report

If you think your sales force needs to upgrade their selling skills, I’d be happy to discuss what I can do for you and your team.

Photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass.

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