Many of us are familiar with this rhetorical expression: There is a glass sitting on a table with water filled halfway up the glass. Some will see the glass as half full (optimism), others half empty (pessimism). Which is correct? Neither? Both? This old saying is a terrific illustration of how people view things through their own filter.
Sales Perception and Reality
Most things in life are subjective. For instance, when you hear a salesperson say, “I had a great meeting and this guy is very interested. I feel like it’s 95% closed,” after further analysis you may come to a different conclusion.
After you analyze the account, you soon realize the sales lead wasn’t qualified properly, your salesperson didn’t discuss the investment it would take to get the job done and most importantly, he isn’t truly the decision maker. You might put a 50/50 chance on closing the deal — at best.
The salesperson was bonding with the guy. They talked baseball for twenty-five minutes of the meeting, then laughed about their toddlers. This convinced him that he would buy. On the other hand, you may feel since the proper questions weren’t asked and the proper presentation wasn’t completed. Who is right, who is wrong? No one really knows. This makes forecasting pretty difficult and illustrates the concept of individual differences of perception.
Why do they see this sales meeting so differently? Mostly because of their respective “glasses”. The sales guy sees the bonding as a buying sign because that is what he looks for when he buys. As a business owner you see the technique without the proper steps and think it can‘t work, except for luck. Possibly, you don’t believe in luck, only in facts and processes.
Rose Colored Glasses and the Sales Process
So, who is correct? Keep in mind, there is not necessarily a right answer. Everyone sees things differently. But we can evaluate this sales meeting from a couple of angles.
First, as a a business owner, do you see how an enthusiastic salesperson can paint a picture so rosy that you can perceive the sale is practically closed, yet in reality it isn’t even close? Or the salesperson tells you the prospect doesn’t like her, but really she is calling on a quiet, deep-thinker type and he was asking questions he felt to be important, quietly and consciously. In actuality, he had all the intentions of buying the product, but the glasses your salesperson sees through makes it appear as though “he doesn’t like me” which to her means, no sale.
Most salespeople do this often in the presentation stage. We present all of the “features and benefits” of the product or service as we see them, or worse, as someone else decided the benefits should be.
This reminds me of a car sales encounter I had years ago. I was looking to purchase an SUV. After looking at several of “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 such as: “Is anyone in your family tall?” I curiously answered, “No, no one’s tall,” while walking toward the car. Then I got in the car to drive and he proudly started telling me about the 12 extra inches of headroom that this car had in comparison to others.
He asked me the right question, but didn’t truly listen to the answer because someone in marketing felt this was an important feature. His rose colored glasses, apparently, were made at the big and tall shop.
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.
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