Here is something to think about. It is something I have observed many times over the years. Sales guys go into a meeting seem to get the right answers to the questions that they ask and leave believing an order is imminiment. They don’t get the order. It’s staggering and surprising to the salesperson how often this happens.
It looks to me as though not all the communication methods have been observed well and acted on accordingly. People don’t realise it is not just the words spoken that matter.
When we are in a sales situation face to face, over the phone or even a video session communication happens in three main ways. The areas we need to focus on are:
- The Words used
- The Tone in which the words are delivered
- The Body language that accompanies words and tone of delivery
If you don’t observe and act upon all three it will be luck that determines the sales outcome, not your skill as a sales closer.
An example of what I mean can be summed up from the following snippet of a sales meeting I was riding shotgun on.
Dave was looking to move towards an order for the cloud based payroll system that he had presented to John the CFO of a medium sized manufacturing business. Most of the meeting was straight forward, but there was one point that would have uncovered a serious objection, but the trinity of communication was not observed fully.
The meeting was wrapping up and the dialogue went along the lines of:
Dave – ‘Well John we seem to have covered off all the points on the agenda and we have shown how our payroll software will benefit you greatly. In fact it should help you generate savings of 30% per year and give you a payback in only 18 months.’
John – ‘Yes, the software did look good.’
Dave then wrapped up the meeting and left to await the board decision on his proposal. He of course put it in his forecast as a dead cert. The customer had agreed to what he said and who would not want a 30% cost saving per year.
Unfortunately Dave did not win the bid. It went to a more expensive competitor with a lower projected cost saving of 15%
Dave had listened to the words but ignored the other parts of the communication trinity
The Words – ‘Yes, the software did look good’
He didn’t hear
The Tone – John was business like and conversational – not excited about the savings he was going to get
He didn’t notice
The Body language – John had been sat there arms crossed and avoiding eye contact
If Dave had taken into account all three elements he would of realised that further questioning was required as there may have been an underlying problem. On losing the deal he did go back and drill into the reason for his failure and John summed it up as:
John – ‘Well quite frankly I didn’t believe the cost saving calculation you had given me. You didn’t break it down. Your competitor said the increase would be in the region of 15% and they went through how the numbers were calculated. I think I felt more comfortable with them on that basis’.
If he had followed the rules he could of knocked the objection out of the park and won.
It is important that you head all three elements of the communication trinity. It will only improve your hit rate. Remember WTB – Words, Tone and Body