It was January, late afternoon, starting to get dark. I headed off in my car from Cheltenham to Yorkshire. I was expecting a call from a client so I’d rigged up my hands-free kit to take the call when she phoned.
It was along the M5 motorway that I took the call and we chatted in all for 25 minutes. It was a complex call requiring all my concentration. Clicking the earpiece to terminate the call I had a sinking feeling that I’d not recalled any of the past 30 miles on the M5, occasionally checking the Sat Nav.
Thankfully the 30 miles had passed without incident but I do wonder how I would have coped if there had been one, how I would have pr-empted any problems and acted to avoid the issue.
I’d taken my eye off the ball during my journey and instead, I’d focussed on my conversation. Dangerous. In the same way salespeople do the same during their sales meetings.
Observing hundreds of sales meetings, I gauge that salespeople act in one of three modes during calls:
- Product focussed
- Salesperson focussed
- Customer focussed
Product focussed salespeople concentrate on their product offering or their service, maybe they’re newly trained or it might be habitual in them to product-bash. They are thinking of the next thing they wish to say, often keen to jump in and tell the customer about their offering. Customers have moved on in this decade, are more in control than ever before; don’t need a salesperson for information anymore. No one’s told them.
Salesperson focussed salespeople are just thinking about themselves, their needs, their targets and getting some commission. Needy and too attached to the sale. Occasionally ego gets in the way as well.
Customer focussed salespeople have everything under control so they can focus 100% on the customer. They adapt, change, calibrate their customer continually picking up signals and sensory information. They flow, know their product and are comfortable in themselves.
Most salespeople will weave in and out of the three modes but to remain in customer focus here’s 3 reminders:
- Preparation should never be underestimated, product knowledge, process, systems should all be thoroughly prepared putting these areas into autopilot so we don’t need to focus on them
- Practice. Set up continuous role-play so the selling becomes second nature. Role play and practise at every opportunity.
- Good coaching to reveal the 3 modes, make the salesperson more aware and set actions.
With all the best intentions sometimes we’re distracted. Driving a car is similar in a way, I was distracted away from the road which could have been disastrous, what I needed to be doing is better preparation, leave earlier so I can pull into a service station to take calls, rather than take calls in the car.
Maybe another reason why trains are great methods of travel as you can rely on someone else to drive the train letting you relax and make calls. The only problem here is that you get to hear everyone’s calls as well “It’s me I’m on a train” you hear bellowing down the isle. At least they have quiet carriages where no phones are allowed, but doesn’t that put you back to square one?