Does anyone hear past all the talking?

In my racing days, I partnered with a very smart sales person to open a high performance auto shop. The very first day we were opened he said, “He who speaks first, looses”. Prior to our time together, he was one of the few folks in the NW who actually made money selling copiers. He said his success was because he qualified the customer by asking questions about what was important to them, handled any objections, made an offer and then shut up.

McDonalds has long been known as the most successful up selling companies. They got that reputation because every employee on every order asked for the sale of another item beyond what was ordered. You ordered a burger, they asked if you wanted fries with that. You order a burger and fry, they asked if you want a cold softdrink with that. You order all three and they ask if you want a apple turnover. They always have one more thing they can sell you so why not ask. The employee really doesn’t want to be troubled with the additional sale so if you buy, they are done… if you pass, they are done. Either way, they make a single offer and move one.

Today, we seem to have lost both of those successful techniques. Sales folks almost never qualify, they just assume (there is a process called ‘assumptive closing’, but you have to be pretty good to pull that off) and head down their script. They feel that if you say no to something they should offer the next item in their list. And, they don’t read the environment around the sale to know when to not be the last person talking.

The A/C repair gent returns… it was Monday since they don’t work on the weekend unless the hot house is an emergency. He against suggested replacing the A/C unit with the much larger one since we could get half of the difference back as a refund next year. I asked if there is any chance that a 10 year old system can just loose a tiny bit of coolant and we should add a bit. His answer to me was to cover the different financing they offer. I asked if it was possible to see where a leak might be. He replied with an explanation that replacing one part would be money thrown away when we replaced the whole system.

He finally went upstairs, returning with a mention of a leak in the one part that is very expensive and thus we really need to replace the whole system… “interest free for a year”. Never did he look around and notice a whole family at home in the middle of a week day. Could it be he was dealing with a family that had been hit with downsizing? They would be more concerned about keeping the house than going into debt for 10 grand. He did end up adding a bit of coolant and said he felt bad for us throwing that money away since we really need to just replace everything.

During a recent visit to Starbucks, I grabbed my bag of beans and headed to the register. As I approached the checkout area, a employee put down his broom and came across the store, stopping between me and the register. He asked what beans I had chosen and what I had planned for them. He then explained the flavor of six other bean offerings and why he liked each one. No matter the response I gave, he continued. I had to make a very agressive move to get around him, only to find the person at the register had moved on. The gentleman that had stopped me before went around to take my money. Not before he explained how I should buy a gift card so I could earn points. I explained we had a bad experience with the Starbucks Gold Card… he offered that I should read the pamphlet available on the stand about the new offerings and started to head over to get it for me. What drives an individual to that level of non stop effort to get a customer into something additional?

Did both of these individuals act on their own? Do they believe that I ‘need’ their services and must drive me to them? Or, should we direct the attention to poor training? Did they only get half the message about how selling works so they don’t understand that the best path forward is to work towards a win-win ending?