Recently I was doing a training session with some very capable salespeople. We were talking about how to engage the customer in a conversation.
It was a good discussion, minus one thing. Too many in the group were talking about how they share with the customer results of things they’ve been able to do for other customers.
Sharing what I refer to as testimonial information with a customer can be a great approach, if it’s done right.
The problem is the salespeople with whom I was having a discussion were saying that this testimonial approach is how they open the conversation with the customer. Sorry, but in my book this is a big mistake.
Let’s get real. Do you think the customer cares about you? No, and the last thing they want to know is how wonderful you are.
Taking about you by way of testimonial information can work when it comes time to up-sell the customer or take the customer who is lacking that one final piece of confidence in you. They need this to say yes. In these cases of up-selling or securing their confidence in you, sharing this type of information can be good.
Other than these two situations, I say keep a lid on talking about yourself.
For veteran salespeople, keeping a lid on this type of information can be hard, but I’ll argue hard and long that it’s essential.
When a veteran salesperson starts using testimonial language to say how good they are, it can create an instant barrier — especially if there is an age difference between the salesperson and customer. The last thing a 20-something wants to hear from a salesperson who is 50 or older is anything that can appear to be condescending.
If you’re determined to talk about yourself, then wait for the customer to ask you.
If the customer is interested in hearing how great you are, they’ll ask you. Just be careful. Don’t take a quick question and turn it into a a sermon extolling the amazing success you’ve had. Share one quick item and then ask the customer a question. If they want to hear more, they’ll ask.
In general, you need to keep the focus on the customer and uncovering their needs and wants. Do this and they will soon see how committed you are to your customers.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
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