If you had to guess, what would you say is the average age of all the sales training gurus you buy your books and training from? If you look closely, you’ll begin to notice something: most of these people are in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and some of them have already passed away.
Here’s the problem with that: those “sales training gurus” whose books and training you buy grew up – and learned sales – in a totally different economy. They were selling to a totally different consumer – and yet, they’re teaching you to sell to TODAY’S information aged consumers in exactly the same way they did decades ago.
An Example: Joe Girard, Sales Guru
To demonstrate, let’s look at an example: Joe Girard, a best-selling author and Guinness World Record holder for the most cars sold in one year, all the way back in 1963. He was a leader in sales at his time and a true guru. I’m sure that these techniques worked for him, but to understand the old model of selling and how starkly it contrasts from the new model, we’ll review his advice.
He says in his book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody, that if prospects mention that they've recently been on vacation somewhere, he’ll say that he's been there, too.
“Because wherever that guy has been, I have been. Even if I never heard of the place. “A lot of people out there, maybe millions, have heard of me. And thousands have bought from me. They think they know a lot about me, because I know a lot about them. If they say they have been to Yellowstone National Park, I’m gonna say I’ve been there too….If they say they fish for salmon near Traverse City, Michigan, then I say I’ve done that as well…”
So he is basically lying to his prospects to try and make a sale.
Girard also describes in great length his favorite COLD CALLING technique. It begins by choosing a random name in the phonebook. In this example, a woman answers the phone…
GIRARD: “Hello, Mrs. Kowalski. This is Joe Girard at Merollis Chevrolet. I just wanted to let you know that the car you ordered is ready.”
MRS. KOWALSKI: “I'm afraid you have the wrong number. We haven't ordered a new car.”
GIRARD: “Are you sure?”.
MRS. KOWALSKI: “Pretty sure. My husband would have told me.”
GIRARD: “Just a minute … is this the home of Clarence J. Kowalski?”
MRS. KOWALSKI: “No. My husband's name is Steven.”
GIRARD: “Gee, Mrs. Kowalski, I'm very sorry to have disturbed you at this hour of the day. I'm sure you're very busy.”
But Girard doesn't just hang up the phone at this point. He keeps talking to her so he can bait the hook!
GIRARD: “Mrs. Kowalski, you don't happen to be in the market for a new car, are you?”
If she knows they are, she'll probably say yes. But the typical answer will be:
MRS. KOWALSKI: “I don't think so, but you have to ask my husband.”
GIRARD: “Oh, when can I reach him?”
MRS. KOWALSKI: “He's usually home by 6.”
GIRARD: “Well, fine, Mrs. Kowalski, I'll call back then, if you're sure I won't be interrupting supper”.
When 6:00 PM rolls around, you know what Girard is doing.
GIRARD: “Hello, Mr. Kowalski, this is Joe Girard at Merollis Chevrolet. I spoke to Mrs. Kowalski this morning and she suggested I call back at this time. I was wondering if you are in the market for a new Chevrolet?”
- KOWALSKI: “No, not just yet.”
GIRARD: “Well, when do you think you might start looking at a new car?”
- KOWALSKI: “I guess I'll be needing one in about 6 months.”
GIRARD: “Fine, Mr. Kowalski. I'll be getting in touch with you then. Oh, by the way, what are you driving now?”
Girard then files his name along with the remainder in his calendar to call him back in 6 months and moves to the next name on his list.
Now.… Do you think using these types of sales techniques have caused consumers to not trust salespeople, and to look at you in a negative way? Yes, that’s right. And people are still teaching this method today, like it’s 1963!
How Outdated Is This?
Let’s think about just how outdated these methods and examples are if a modern-day salesperson like you or me tried to put these techniques to work.
- For one, in our day and time, it’s more likely that Mrs. Kowalski is at work, rather than at home. You would call Mr. Kowalski directly.
2. Her household has a caller ID to prevent “salespeople” from intruding on her family. It may even first have a tone that says, “We do not accept calls from solicitors.” (and that’s if she even has a home phone…) Not to mention the fact that many modern consumers do not answer incoming calls from numbers that they do not recognize, since caller ID is linked to their lengthy contact lists.
- If a salesman did get through the family's defenses, she would get rid of him quickly and find a way to hang up the phone. It’s easy to say many common objections such as, we’re not interested, we already have that, can you call back later, “I’ll have to look at other options” because the modern consumer has access to so many alternative options of what you sell. In fact, she may even Google his name afterward and post to her Facebook friends and Twitter followers about the creepy call from the salesperson she got that night.
A Loss of Trust
The most significant reason that this mode of selling is old and outdated is because we are now living in what I like to call the “Post-Trust Era.” The average consumer has been in pushy sales conversations so many times that they can tell when they’re on the phone with another pushy salesperson who just wants to close a deal. They are significantly less likely to listen to all the notable features and benefits of what you’re selling because even if all the glowing remarks you have to say about the product are true, they don’t trust you to tell them the truth. Rather, they believe that a salesperson will say anything they need to say to make the sale.
What’s needed instead is a way to help the prospect convince themselves that they need what you’re selling, and the way to do this is through the New Model of Selling – a technique I call Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning. In this model, you ask skilled questions to emotionally guide the prospect to identify their problem, feel the emotional need to solve this problem, then develop an emotional attachment to the solution (which is what you provide).
This method is considerably more effective than the Old Model of Selling not only because it aligns with the values and behaviors of the modern-day consumer, but because it aligns with human psychology. To learn more about NEPQ and how to implement the technique in your own sales strategies, visit 7thlevelHQ.com.