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Could you sell a bottle of water?

Jun 30 • Morry Morgan Blog, Sales and Negotiations, Trainers Blogs • 8104 Views • No Comments on Could you sell a bottle of water?

Could you sell a bottle of water? Source:  Muffet @ Flickr

BAD SALESPEOPLE MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. These salespeople mind-read, knowing for sure what the potential client is thinking, even before they have opened their mouth. They talk over, and in many cases never let the potential client talk at all. After all, they salesperson is the expert, right? It’s the potential client that needs their help!

Rhetorical question. Don’t answer that.

Of course the answer is no. In my 18 years of sales experience I have never been able to mind-read. If I could, I’d be in Macau playing poker and living a very different lifestyle. I realised a long time ago that ‘assumptions’ will get you into trouble. I was reminded of this on a V-Line train ride between the cities of Melbourne and Geelong in Australia, when a ticket inspector told me that I should never assume I could buy a ticket ON the train. “Honest,” I said. “I saw an old lady last month buy one.”
“Never assume anything,” he snared, but gave me a ticket none-the-less. I got off with a warning. I was 18 years old, and clearly looked like I couldn’t afford the 250 AUD fine.

Not assuming, was a valuable lesson, and one that I reiterate in my sales training courses. However, I do it with water. Here’s how.

Imagine you are in my class.
“Why does someone buy a bottle of water,” I ask you, and the 15 other trainees. You shake your head in confusion, “because you are thirsty”, you think to yourself. Someone else voices the same opinion aloud to your left.
“Com’on,” I say in mocking tone. “Think! What’s another reason.”
Your brain kicks into second gear. Why would you buy a bottle of water? Thirst, that’s it…hang on. You have an idea.
Your shoulders raise up, and your hand protrudes out like a 14 year old school boy.
“I know, because you’re hot! You want to poor it on your head.”
“Good!” I shout, “Now what else?”
God, there are more?
“Because you have been told to drink two litres a day by your doctor!” announces a fellow trainee. “It’s for health!”
“Good! What else?”
“Because you have to take medicine for a cold, and you have to wash it down.”
“Good! What else?”
“Because you have sticky hands from an earlier ice cream mishap!”
“Good! What else?”
“Because your dog is thirsty! It’s not for you!”
“Good! What else?”
“Because the bag carrying your newly purchased goldfish is leaking!”
“Fantastic,” I finish. “You’ve got it.”
You look around the room, and everyone is beaming.

If a bottle of water can be so misunderstood, what about your own company’s service of product? Do your sales people really, I mean REALLY, know the needs of their potential clients? And even more importantly, do they have the skills to be able to elicit these needs?
If not, then they are bad. And that means they need be trained, or managed out of the organisation. Call ClarkMorgan before it gets that bad.

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