Ok, bear with me.
Jed Clampett was the main character on the hit TV comedy in the early 60′s, Beverly Hillbillies. Backstory: Jed was out huntin’ for some food, missed his shot, and up from the ground came a “bubblin’ crude, oil that is.” Watch the 54-second intro clip here:
Ok, remember that.
To improve your sales efforts, the first thing is to remember the basics.
1. Find out the current situation by asking questions. Maybe it is your own natural curiousity, but whatever it is, for you to find out if you can help your prospect or customer, you have to ask questions. It’s like meeting a pretty girl at a party, your first question is not “will you marry me?” You have to ask questions, and the more questions you ask, the more interest you are showing in the prospect, and the more you are discovering about their current situation, issues or concerns.
2. Jed’s Rule. Picture this….Jed was out hunting, right? His shot broke through the ground and up came oil. I have seen this happen countless times but in sales situations, just countless. The sales rep asks questions, and gets answers, and then asks yet another question, even if the answer describes a situation that can be solved, fixed or rescued by the rep’s products or services. Many times, rep’s questions are disjointed and do not flow naturally one from the other like they do in normal conversation. Think of your questions like Jed out hunting…when his shot struck oil, he didn’t keep shooting. He started digging. That is exactly what great sales reps do when they uncover something uncomfortable about the prospect’s current situation. They have struck oil too, and need to start digging. They do not keep hunting and shooting aimlessly. They should start drilling with more questions. Why don’t sales rep do this? Simple–they are more concerned about the questions than the answers.
So next time you are talking with a customer, remember old Jed. He was much smarter than you think.