Thursday, May 5, 2011

Who's Knocking at My Door and What is He Selling?

It happened again: a knock at my front door.

I answered the front door - which was an interruption. It always is. Why don't door knockers understand that they are interrupting? I was not waiting for the visit.

As a marketer I am always interested in what salespeople are doing and saying. But I don't have much patience. And I can be more edgy than some. Yet I have some empathy because I knocked on a lot of doors as a sales person, fund raiser and political campaigner.

I opened the door.

"How are you today?" (A stupid opening.)

"What do you want?" was my reply.

He then backed several steps away and mumbled something I didn't hear.

When he had retreated to a safe distance he recovered, "Hello, I am Roberto. We are doing a lot of business in your neighborhood and my boss sent me."

"So who cares?" was my reply.

Then Roberto backed up even more and replied, "I'm sorry" and then he walked away.

I don't know if I wanted what Roberto was selling. I don't know what Roberto was selling. He clearly didn't understand that I wanted to know what was in if for me before I would listen to anything else he had to say.

Poor, stupid Roberto. He didn't know how to describe what he was selling - because he failed to clarify it in the first few seconds of contact. He failed to capture my interest.

He wasted my time by asking, "How are you today?" That question is both an insult and waste of time. I knew that he didn't care "how I am today" yet he pretended to care. I was insulted by that. Too many telemarketers still start their call with that phrase.

I was interrupted and then he wasted my time by telling me his name and a stupid lie that they are doing a lot of business in the neighborhood. So by that point I didn't like him or trust him. And I still didn't know why I should listen.

After he wasted the first critical seconds of our contact I posed the question, "So who cares?" This question is on most minds but most people don't say it out loud. Roberto was not prepared for this question because he retreated when he heard it. That was a question - not an objection. He had not told me what he was selling and refused to tell me. A question is just that - a question. I asked a question - gave him an opening - and he failed to pounce on it. Have you noticed how some sales people shut down when you ask them a direct question?

Poor, stupid Roberto. He failed to engage me in the first critical seconds of contact. I wonder if he will play back that scene and analyze it so he can correct his behavior for next time. If not then he wasted his time as well as mine. At least I got a story for my blog.

So what can you use from this incident?

1. Questions might just be questions.
2. Always be prepared for your worst questions.
3. Be prepared to adapt to different styles of your listener.
4. Time is a valuable resource - don't waste it.
5. The first few seconds of contact can make or break the sale.
6. Ask yourself "So who cares?" before you deliver your sales presentation.

About the Author:
© George Torok helps business owners gain an unfair advantage over the competition. He is a bestselling author and published in 12 books. Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" at http://www.powermarketing.ca/ Arrange for George Torok to speak to your team at http://www.torok.com/ For media interviews call 905-335-1997 No. of Times this article has been viewed : 423
Date Published : Nov 9 2010

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