You just finished selecting and wrapping the Christmas gifts for your significant other, parents, children or grandchildren. Normally, you would place the gifts that aren't from Santa under the tree and the intended recipients would anxiously count down the days until Christmas. Gifts from Santa will be placed under the tree late on Christmas Eve and the next morning, with tremendous anticipation, everyone excitedly unwraps their gifts and exclaims, "Oh, I love it - it's just what I wanted - thank you so much!!!"
How much of the falling in love with the gifts - the excitement of it all - comes from the anticipation - knowing that it's coming but having to wait for it? And of enormous importantance, how great is the disappointment if you were hoping for one thing and you got another?
Suppose you arrived home from shopping and rather than wrapping and placing the gifts under the tree and making your family wait with anticipation, you simply walked in the door and handed the unwrapped gifts to them - in the kitchen? They would still say they love it and thank you for it but...would the feeling be the same? Would the lack of anticipation take away the enthusiasm and sense that this was the perfect gift from the perfect person on the perfect day?
If you understand that, then why do so many executives and salespeople, from all industries, still insist that the first thing they must do with a new prospect is present? Even the word "present" suggests waiting for the perfect time. When you meet someone to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary you don't walk in their home or enter the restaurant and shove the gift in their hands. No, you wait for the ideal moment. Back to selling, how huge is the risk that what you present disappoints because your prospects were expecting one thing and they got another? Why would your presentation disappoint? Because you don't know exactly what they need - yet. It's the same as Christmas Day disappointment!
Why aren't your salespeople waiting for the ideal moment? Whey don't they allow their prospects to anticipate the presentation? After all, the first thing a prospect asks for is a present..."So what have you got?" or "How can you help?" or "Tell us about your capabilities" or "Show us that new technology". If it was one of your kids you'd make them wait for the right moment!
Selling isn't any different from gift-giving. You should wait for the ideal moment. Why aren't salespeople following a customer-focused, consultative sales process where they become trusted advisors instead of vendors, partners instead of suppliers and stand out from their competition? Why aren't they waiting to present until they know exactly what a needs and cost appropriate solution is? Why aren't they waiting until the decision makers are committed to moving forward so that they present in the right context, to the right people, at the right time?
It's really only fear and discomfort that stand in the way of getting this right.
What are they afraid of?
Just two things:
- Asking questions.
Go ahead - might as well stop reading and just give everyone their presents right now!