Yesterday, I met my brother at the gym early in the morning. After our workout, my brother asked me in helping him pick out the right tie for him to wear to work. (he had brought 4 to the gym with him). Why? My brother is colorblind. Not black and white only, but enough that getting himself dressed can present challenges.
I had forgotten this about my brother. I shared a VERY small bedroom with my brother for about 14 years before I left for college, and helping my brother with his clothing choices used to be a regular occurrence, but having not lived with him for so long, I forgot about it – and having him ask me about it reminded me of life in his eyes.
As I left the gym, I related the story in my mind to sales. (My wife will tell you that I relate EVERYTHING in my life to sales). The question I asked myself was… am I too wrapped up in the way that I see life and the deals that I’m working on that perhaps I’m not looking at the deals in the way that my prospects see them. Do I really understand and know the way that they see the world – so that I can better create a win-win scenario that will lead to a close? (It is interesting that this is the second time that a tie has caused me to blog about the prospect’s point of view.)
The good news was that for most deals, I believe that I have taken the customer’s point of view into consideration and framed them correctly. A few other deals, I rethought them and am trying some new strategies to awaken them. But, the simple tie question really points out that every prospect and every person within that prospect will see the world in a different way – and the way that they see the world will color (pun intended) their view of the world. Unless you, as a salesperson, understand that and build your deal around that, it will be difficult to get your deals done.
Imagine someone trying to sell my brother another tie. They could show him a green tie and a blue tie, and those ties might look identical to my brother. OR, one with a beautiful hue may actually look hideous to my brother. And… I guarantee that he won’t know if it matches anything else he owns so he may not make the purchase regardless. This is a man that thinks demin blue jeans look purple, and thinks Christmas trees have a reddish hue. A salesperson who understood that my brother was colorblind might do a better job about describing the color, or matching it to his current suit – or other tools in selling items that are color dependent to color-blind people. Whatever the tactic, if the salesperson never takes the time to understand my brother’s colorblindness, he will never make the sale.
Ask yourself… do you REALLY know your clients challenges? The way they see the world? Do you understand how the economy has affected their business? Is buying your product something that is a great risk for them personally? Do they even think about how to solve problems in the same way that you do? If you are a technology guru, using technology to solve problems is a natural. Perhaps your prospect doesn’t immediately run to technology to solve a problem. If you are under 30, you may immediately understand the value of social networking, but your 60+ prospect thinks that social networking is a big time-waster.
Whatever the challenge, you need to understand how they see the world, so that you can frame your sale properly. Going back to the social networking sale: Perhaps you need to spend more time on the basis of why social networking has transformed business and get them on board with that before you start touting your product where for another prospect you can launch right into the benefits of your specific solution.
There are no hard rules here – but just the simple idea that you should always be looking for ways to see the world thru your prospects eyes. And if they are colorblind, simply ignore the fact that they may be wearing a mismatched tie.