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A Zoologist will tell you the Tiger is a “Predator of opportunity”. This means they will stalk, kill and eat their prey whether they are hungry or not—just because it’s there. Just watch one of the early scenes from The Life of Pi.
Salespeople can be just like the Tiger. A prospective buyer expresses some initial interest in their product or service, and seeing the opportunity, they pounce! Jumping right into a pitch that includes every possible feature, advantage and benefit. I have personally witnessed this, and done it myself, too often. The potential sale, like the tiger’s prey, gets mangled and dies—a graphic analogy to be sure, but accurate just the same.
A far better approach, and less gruesome, is to dig deeper with the prospect. Get them to tell you more. Ask probing questions about what specifically they’re interested in and why. Discovering their current situation and how they got there requires asking questions and listening. Uncovering their most wanted outcome and what affect it could have on their business demands even more questions and patience. The end result of all of this is to earn trust and create a buyer. Get them to tell you their story—beginning, middle and end. Then you can tell them about your solution and how you can deliver their most wanted outcome. If you do it right they’ll want to hear it!
Your product or service may be a commodity but you can’t be! Asking relevant, well thought out questions and listening with empathy are the hallmarks of a true Sales Professional not a Tiger.