How to avoid unbalanced political and sales messages

photo by superfantastic 

There’s a pretty common saying when it comes to software development and implementation (I’m sure it applies to other projects as well).  It’s all about balance.

Good, Fast, or Cheap – You can pick two of them.

It’s always a trade-off, a balancing act because at the end of the day nothing is perfect.  If you want high quality and you want delivered quickly, it’s going to be expensive.  If you want it cheap and fast, you’re going to get low quality, it’s pretty simple but proven time and again.

Now the great thing about this trade off is that it if it’s used properly, it really allows for a great discussion about what’s really important and a recognition that there is not a single right answer, just a matter of priorities.

It’s ignoring this fairly simple idea that is the major problem with selling and politics (especially the over the top political speeches going on right now).  By not acknowledging the inevitable trade-off I’m making as a buyer or as a voter and instead telling me I can have it all – you almost automatically lose the sale.

I don’t normally get into politics, but I think the current election is a great example (and both parties are making this mistake).

I don’t care what you want, here’s what I’ve got

If you turn on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC – or any countless number of other ‘news’ channels, you have been bombarded 24×7 by interviews and discussions with various political talking heads.  The most common format is for the host of the show to introduce an issue or an angle and have 2 representatives, 1 from each party, give their ‘take’ on the issue.

Clearly all of these people have been well trained in their approach, because I have yet to see any of them stray from this formula.

1.  No matter what question is asked, deliver the talking point of the week or the day.

2.  When it’s time for a follow-up to the question that wasn’t answered, repeat the same talking point.

There’s no discussion, there’s no sense of wanting to know what I’m interested in (or the host of the show) there is only the AGENDA – that’s all they’re selling whether you want it or not.

The really frustrating part is that it’s both parties doing this – basically leaving me with the perception that there are only bad choices out there.

How this applies to sales

This problem is also unfortunately very common in sales.  Like when you run into a salesperson that immediately jumps into their ‘pitch’.  I had it happen to me yesterday with a call from one of the online yellow pages companies offering to put my listing at the top of the page.

The salesperson was obviously trained in his approach, for every objection or question I had, he had a quick response, but if you listened closely he was basically just repeating and rephrasing the same sales pitch in different ways.  Of course as an ongoing student of selling – I put him through a pretty extensive round of questions and objections.  He got an A+ for effort and D- for really understanding my business and what might help me.

The result?  No sale and 20 minutes of wasted time.

What’s the ideal solution for this lack of balance?

Going back to the idea of balance and trade-off, find out what is most important to your prospect – what is their biggest pain.  Is there a way for your product or service to address that pain?

If not, then thank them and walk away.  The prospect will be shocked and may end up pursuing you.

If your product can address their problem, make sure they understand the potential solution and don’t dance around the trade-off.  Successful sales are those that build long term relationships and long term relationships are built on trust and good-will.  It’s that balance of recognizing the impact of a solution that will really convert buyers in today’s market.

If I’m going to buy a car and I make it clear that I’m looking for great gas mileage, I’m going to walk away from the salesperson that tells me I’ll have all the power I want, even with a high mileage engine.  On the other hand, I will feel like the sales guy that warns me that the ride will be a bit sluggish if I go with the economy package is shooting me straight.  Then I can make a decision fully understanding the trade-offs.

Have you ever been sold to without being asked what you want or need?  Did you buy?  Have you ever tried to sell someone this way?  Share your thoughts here.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

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