Inoculate your weak points and make them advantages

I hear that Swine Flu will rear its head later in the autumn as the cold weather draws in. And I’m hearing rumours that children will be inoculated against the illness shortly in schools. I remember being jabbed against polio as a child and feeling awful afterwards for a few days.

Apparently, inoculations give you a tiny bit of the disease, just enough for your body to build an immune system protection against the full blown illness. So when you get exposed, your body can fight it off.

Clever stuff really and something we can use in selling and coaching as well.

In sales, it’s a good idea to inoculate your customer against weak areas in your proposition or product. Sooner or later they’ll find out about them so try to immunize yourself first.

For example, one weakness I have over my competition is that I operate a small company without all the back office coordinator support and big company benefits. I point this out early in my client meetings with the benefit that I personally can be involved in all aspects of dealing with the client.

You might be selling life assurance or protection and you know full well that your underwriting standards are the strictest on the market, so you point out that your company likes to ensure that their health is fully vetted so any claims are paid out almost immediately. If there are doubts about your initial health situation this could lead to hold ups in having the benefit paid. Not good. But this does mean the underwriting takes a little longer.

You might want to do some coaching with one of your team members but you can’t get the time to personally visit them too often, so you point out that you would like to conduct most of our meetings on the telephone to free up their travel time to your offices, so they can spend more time with their customers.

You might want to do some coaching with an experienced salesperson and you are new to the industry that they work in. So you point out earlier in the meeting that you can bring fresh best practice ideas from a different industry thus bringing a different perspective to the coaching experience.

I’m sure you get the idea.

So remember to figure out your weaknesses and try to immunise your customer or coachee early on in the conversation.