Greta Schulz, Sales Consultant
There is a glass sitting on a table with water filled halfway up the glass. Some see the glass half full, some half empty. Which is correct? Neither. Both. This old saying is a terrific illustration of seeing things through your own filter. Most things in life are subjective, merely subjective. When you hear a salesperson say, “I had a great meeting and this guy is very interested. I feel like it’s 95% closed”. You analyze the account yourself and realize it really wasn’t qualified properly, your salesperson didn’t discuss the dollars it would take to get the job done and most importantly, he isn’t truly the decision maker. You would put a 50/50 chance on this at best.
The salesperson was bonding with the guy. They talked baseball for 25 minutes of the meeting, then laughed about their toddlers and how into the team they are already. This convinced him that he would buy. On the other hand, you feel since the proper questions weren’t asked and the proper presentation wasn’t done, it is bound for failure or luck, alone. Who is right, who is wrong? No one really knows which makes forecasting pretty difficult and illustrates the point that we see things the way we see them.
Why do they see this sales call so differently? Mostly it is because of those glasses. The sales guy sees the bonding as a huge buying sign because that is what he looks for when he buys. The sales manager sees the technique of the call and without the proper steps it can‘t work except for luck. He is a guy that doesn’t believe in luck, he believes in fact and process. All of the tees need to be crossed and the I’s dotted then and only they will buy.
So who is correct? Not that there is necessarily a right answer besides the fact that everyone sees things very different. How important is that to know? Well let’s take this from a few angles. First, as a sales manager. Do you see how an enthusiastic salesperson can paint a picture so rosey that you have it practically booked and it isn’t even close? Or a salesperson says the prospect doesn’t like her, but really she is calling on a quiet, deep-thinker type and he was just going through the questions he felt were important, quietly and consciously. Actually he had all intentions in buying the product but the glasses she sees through is, “he doesn’t like me” which to her means, no sale.
As a salesperson, we do this most often in the presentation stage. We give all of the “features and benefits” of the product as we see them, or worse as someone in corporate decided the benefits should be.
This reminds me of a car sales encounter I had years ago. I was looking for an SUV. After looking at several of the “this car reminds me of something that totes a small village” type, I looked at a smaller version. I began telling this salesman a little about my situation. He obviously had some training because he did ask me a few questions. “Is anyone in your family tall?” No, no one’s tall” I curiously answered while walking toward the car. I got in the car to drive and he proudly started telling me about the 12 extra inches of headroom that this car had as opposed to the other I had been looking at.
He asked me the question, but didn’t truly listen to the answer because someone in “Marketing felt this was an important feature”.
Back to our rose colored glasses, apparently his were made at the big and tall shop.
About the Author
Greta Schulz is a sales consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs. For more sales training tips and tools, please sign up for her free tips at www.schulzbusiness.com or join her new online sales training course at www.b2bsalesplaybook.com.