Have you ever seen or experienced this?
A salesperson says, “Please tell me about your company” and the prospect excitedly starts talking. After about 1 minute, the sales rep starts playing with his tablet (later he said it was to find the company’s website – he should have done that before the meeting). After about 3 minutes, the prospect got up and walked out the door. It took the sales rep a few minutes to realize that the prospective 6-figure sale had just walked out the door too, never to return.
This article isn’t a slam against cell phones or other electronic gadgets! I love mine! They help us work faster and smarter. However, there is a time and place for them. Rarely is the time or place during a business network or sales meeting! The above story cost the company over 6-figures in revenues and the sales person his commission. This is not a rare occurrence for sales people in today’s high tech world!
Buyers rarely forget that your cell phone was more important than them!
What Did You Really Lose?
Money Lost? While it can be difficult to calculate sales that never happen, add up the known revenues from the potential sale, and the loss of company reputation and future opportunities to get a ball-park figure.
Time Lost? Many sales people, consultants, business owners and executives are unaware that their cell phone etiquette or Bluetooth is also costing them time. Their failure to listen to the promises they make causes failure to follow-up and follow-through. These are often the primary reasons prospects fail to buy! Relying on repeated calls and emails to prospects take time and rarely result in a sale. The time and opportunities lost cannot be recovered.
Trust Lost? We have a myriad of excuses as to why the phone (or other gadgets) is an integral part of how we conduct business. A popular one is, “I may need to take a call from an important client.” This tell your prospects they aren’t that important. It is not a way to build a trusting relationship.
Listening Generates Money and Saves Time!
No one wants to work that hard to be heard!
The truth is it’s rare to be able to sell anything if you’re not listening and instead are absorbed in watching the newsfeed scroll on your gadget!
Be Present. This means putting away anything that is a distraction; your phone, paper to doodle, etc.
Listen. The fact is many humans are poor listeners. Younger people falsely believe listening is simply absorbing information and regurgitating it back out when needed, like their electronic gadgets do. Listening is actually 80% more than that! Hearing the words is important. Watching nonverbal cues and becoming aware of the unspoken concerns provide 80% of the information required for a positive and profitable difference!
I had a similar experience when meeting with a prospective vendor. She literally kept looking at her watch every few minutes. When she would catch me catching her glances, she would explain she didn’t want to be late for her next meeting! Needless to say, I did not want to work that hard to be heard!
Careful Note Taking. Many gadget users rely on the excuse, “I’m taking notes.” Ironically, only your younger millennials could honestly use that excuse. They are as proficient using electronics as a trained court stenographer is when recording testimony. The rest of us are too busy hunting and pecking to find the right letter on the keyboard on such a small gadget! We miss out on so much due to our lack of concentration! Use paper! Only write down selective information (you should have already read their company website and social media feeds). It works every time!
Listen to Learn. You cannot close a sale if there isn’t an issue or challenge the prospect wants and needs to have handled. Uncovering this information requires listening and probing to find it. If you don’t master this skill, you will always be on the hunt to find your next customer, without a lot of success.
Get Real! Relying on practiced responses and company rhetoric is a turn-off! Everyone knows you are not really listening! Practice listening everyday with family, co-workers and bosses to become a more competent listener!
Excuses Be Gone! Responding to someone’s comment about putting away your gadgets, “I’m an adult. I should be able to do what I want, when I want, if I want” rarely works! (I know it is hard to believe, but, I did not make this one up!) Remember, one of the reasons 90% of entrepreneurs fail and salespeople have to prospect a lot is due to their failure to connect with others. Consider, think about your teammates and family — they are counting on you to close sales too!
I’m not blaming gadgets for everything! They help us to work smarter! Find information faster. And, initially connect easier. However, they are costing businesses time and money! Put them away during meetings! (Hint: Your emails, texts and newsfeeds will still be available later!) Your paycheck and career opportunities will thank you! And, so will your family!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
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Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for 24 years; along the way she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website , or contact Jeannette for a free, confidential conversation. Remember to get your copy of her 5th and newest book, It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition.