Do you need a Dongle?

One of the fastest growing sectors at the moment is mobile phones. Not the typical phones but Smartphones which provide internet access, applications, email…in fact they’re much like mini computers and the Apple iPhone has swallowed the market. The guy in the O2 shop in London told me that they sold 1 million of the new version in less than a week, in the UK alone.

So you can appreciate the guys in the O2 store don’t have to sell. They just order take for the iPhone, which is a shame because the chap missed some golden opportunities and the phrase “Do you want a dongle” keeps ringing in my ears.

Let me explain.

In life there are two kinds of people – sameness people and difference people – some people like everything to be the same as it was before and some folk appreciate being different all the time.

Now when it comes to phones I’m a sameness person. I didn’t want an iPhone preferring to have O2’s own brand Smartphone called the XDA that works with a Windows operating system and Windows programmes so I could synchronise all my contacts, diary and email systems painlessly and add a few applications as well..

He took my “order” and processed everything really smoothly which I appreciated since outside in the City of London it was excessively hot and they had no air conditioning.

As I approached the counter he asked “Do you want a dongle?”

Now to some people this can appear to be very rude. Very vulgar indeed.

But to me it meant one of those slim things you plug into your laptop which gives you internet access. Now I had been looking into these but had discovered a way to link my Smartphone to my laptop and use that as a dongle saving myself a few quid in the process.

No thanks” I replied and he carried on processing my order.

Classic non-selling at its best. Use of a closed question inviting a “No thanks” and if he’d tried to overcome this objection it would have been an uphill struggle for him.

How should he have approached it? By using consultancy problem selling skills.

You see I think marketing departments should explain to salespeople not features or benefits of products but the problems it solves for people. This is really important.

A dongle solves a number of problems people have:

  • Not being able to access fast internet access for your laptop when on the move
  • Not being able to be up to date with emails at all times
  • Not being able to access the internet to check client details when in the car
  • Not being able to access the customer database whenever you want
  • Not being able to keep in touch with clients worldwide

The list goes on.

And my new friend at O2 could have asked me questions to see if I suffered from any of these problems. Simple really. First of all he needs to establish if I travel and since his computer told him I lived in Cheltenham and I was in London, then yes, I guess I do travel. I actually travel a lot.

“Do you travel a lot in business Paul?”

“Sure do, all over the UK and Europe and sometimes the world” I kind of strangely felt important here so not a difficult question to ask anyone.

“I bet you have a need to use the internet all the time don’t you?”

“Yes I do, it’s such a vital tool nowadays”

“Can I ask Paul, how easily to you access broadband when on the move?”

And from there he could have listened to me and carried on drawing PICS if he wanted (problems, issues, concerns, situations). And when I was biting he could have explained the key benefits of a dongle and closed me.

Remember to ask questions and draw PICS when selling anything from dongles to suspension bridges. Modern selling is about solving people’s problems with your product. Help people buy don’t just order take.