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  • Writer's pictureDAVE MOORE

Salespeople who speak KLINGON

The Salesman Talks Klingon to a Customer!

So there I was browsing in the computer shop. Looking at all of the interesting toys and gizmo’s on display. I saw a laptop exactly the same as mine. Same spec, everything. Well, apart from one crucial thing: it was £80 less than I paid the other week.

As I was silently congratulating myself on my immaculately timed purchase (!) I became aware of a man and a boy looking at a desktop PC next to me. The man was middle aged and scratching the side of his face as he stared at the PC with what I describe as a ‘rabbit caught in the car headlights’ look.

The boy said, “Dad, we really need something that’s fast!”

I watched the man as he rubbed his cheek.

‘Don’t scratch your chin, pal’ I thought, ‘That’s a sure-fire invitation. It\’s a buying signal. It tells the salesperson you want information.’ He rubbed his chin. From nowhere the salesman appeared. He pointed at the PC the man and boy had been looking at.

“Great choice. E6990 Intel core QX6700 processor; 90GB DDR2 memory; External DL DVD RW-CD-RW and DVD-ROM/CD-RW drives; 800GB SATA 150 hard drive. It’s hard core!”

“Oh, right” the Dad said, nodding his head.

I was impressed. He was giving a very good impersonation of someone who had understood what he had been told. In fact he hadn’t a clue what he had been told. He could have been given the location of the Holy Grail and he was none the wiser. It sounded to me like the salesman was speaking in Klingon.

The salesman stood looking at the Dad as he weighed up the situation. After a few seconds the Dad said, “Thank you, we’ll have a look around.” And walked to the door dragging the kid behind him. I watched him walk out the shop. I turned and looked at the salesman and he was looking puzzled. He was wondering what was wrong with the guy.

I could have told him, but think about this… Always communicate with people in the same way THEY speak and think, and not the way YOU speak and think.

This is crucial and never more so than when selling over the phone.

1. Listen very carefully to words and phrases they use to describe situations, needs, desires and problems. Write down the relevant ones.

2. Question to get explanations on ones that you don’t fully understand, or maybe even seem foreign to you. For example, “When you say you want something that’s fast, what exactly are we talking about? What will you be using it for?”

3. Use their language when presenting your sales message recommendations. Sell them on the results, using the language they understand. “…and with this machine your son’s games will run twice as fast as on that old machine you said you have now. Plus, you won’t have to sit and wait for it to grind through those spreadsheets you mention you run…”

Don’t sell the means; people buy the end!!!

If you are going to go fishing, bait your hook with something the fish likes and not YOUR favourite food.

Don\’t \’assume\’ your client is as clued up as you…think about it…it\’s your job to know what it does, it\’s their job to use it.

Pace yourself and mirror the customer.

And remember this:

\”The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.\”

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