How to Use Playlists to be More Effective at Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 @ 09:02 AM

By now, many people have either an iPad, iPod, iPhone or MP3 Player to create playlists for music.  Your playlists might include favorite songs of a particular genre, such as "Rock" or "Jazz"; for a certain setting, such as "Dinner" or "Poolside"; or simply a collection of your favorite songs.  Of the thousand or so titles on my devices, perhaps only 200 of them are songs that I love and they appear on multiple playlists.  But there are another dozen or so selections that actually move me.  I feel something.  I suppose it's similar to the members of a concert audience who are not only dancing, but moving in such a way that they believe they are actually part of the band - "Hey everybody, look at me - I'm part of this performance!"  You know who you are....

My analysis showed that of my dozen or so "move me" tunes, a couple are "Big Band" performances, a couple are "Jazz", a couple are "Rock", a couple are "Classic Rock", one is "Classical" and two are "Ballads".

It got me thinking about sales -- what doesn't?

I attempted to group my clients from over the years into playlists, for lack of a better term.  Not from the perspective of who was a favorite, but more from the aspect of the sales calls themselves.  From the hundreds I reviewed, I asked myself, "Which were the routine sales calls where nothing out of the ordinary occurred, and which sales calls or cycles moved me?  Which were extraordinary?  When did something powerful occur?"  It might be completely different for you or your salespeople, but I did find some that were meaningful from an "I felt something powerful" happen.

There were the firsts - first "Big One", first "Win Against the 800-Lb. Gorilla", first "Strategic Win", first "Win in an Industry", etc.

But the deals that stood out - the deals that moved me - were those when at first the client wanted to buy something completely different from what we eventually did together.  They wanted to spend a small amount of money on a relatively small service and instead they spent 10 times that amount on a more significant service.  And don't think that I simply upsold them.  That never happens.  Clients get what they truly need.  Clients don't usually know what they really need, but instead often identify what they think they need.  Clients hardly ever know what their problems truly are, but some have identified symptoms.  What always moves me is when I help a client gradually realize that what they need is something different from what they believe they want.  It should.  After all, that is what selling is all about.  Providing people with exactly what they ask for is called order-taking.  Differentiating your company from that of your competition, by quoting lower prices, is called discounting, not selling.  Salespeople who do that are not among the top 26%.

If you ask your sales force to go through the same exercise - separating the deals that moved them from those that were routine - which customers and clients show up on the list?  What put them there?  Was it simply the difference between order-taking and selling?  Was it something else, like having to overcome resistance?  I believe that you and your salespeople will discover that when they actually engage in selling, the deals are special.  When they simply take orders, or discount to buy the business, the deals are routine.


Topics: Dave Kurlan, order taking, true selling, closing deals, playlists

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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