When I was a rookie in sales it was very important to know as much as I could about the products I was selling.
I spent hours researching and memorizing...........really proud of what I knew.
One day I found myself in front of a very large opportunity – boy was I excited to show off!
They asked me to tell them about various products, costs, and differences between competitive products. I was quick to proudly share all of the features and benefits I had learned.
An hour later they said “Thank you very much. You’ve certainly given us a lot to think about. This was probably the best presentation we’ve ever seen”
I went home that day so excited because I thought I was going to make a very large sale! The prospects seemed very interested, they asked me great questions about my products. I expected to hear from them in the next few days and went to work hopeful they would call with the order. Days turned into weeks and as you might imagine we never spoke again.
Only later did I realize they didn’t need me anymore. I had told them everything. I had given them all of the product knowledge, expertise and pricing only to help them buy it somewhere else maybe even for a lower price.
I had done “Unpaid Consulting”
A few years later, David Sandler taught me that I had rights. I didn’t have to give away my expertise for free. Sandler taught me that my job as a sales person was to ask a lot of questions to understand why they would want my product or service, the issues and challenges they were dealing with and the impact if they didn’t take any action to address their challenges. He taught me how to truly qualify an opportunity BEFORE I gave away all of my product knowledge and pricing.
As a sales professional it’s important to “sell, not tell”. Selling means asking the right questions, to the right people, at the right time, not “telling features and benefits”.
My favorite Sandler rule is “never do anything without knowing what will happen next”. Don’t give away all of your valuable knowledge, expertise and pricing without knowing what the prospect is going to do next.
If you have been guilty of doing too much unpaid consulting and want to learn how to stay in control of the sales process, maybe you should attend our upcoming workshop “How to Stop Unpaid Consulting” on April 19th. Click to register.