She stared at the glass and froze…
I love it when companies grow, merge and change. It makes wonderful opportunities for the sales people involved. One of my newer clients has just gone thorough a buying binge and acquired a host of smaller companies that all offer related products and services. I had the privilege of working with the newly formed sales force which was comprised of seasoned pros from all of the new companies. Each one was an expert in selling their particular offering.
My job was clear. Get them all to sell everything. Sell the whole portfolio.
So here I am with this group of about 100 pros and I decided to pull out an old trick. I grabbed a water glass and handed it to the closest person and said, “Sell me this!” Ok, I put her on the spot, but that’s fair in my rule book. What did she do? She froze! She just sat their in front of 100 of her peers and said nothing. Finally, after a very uncomfortable amount of time, she said, “I sell services. I don’t know how to sell a product.”
Bunk! Trash! Huey!
There is fundamentally no difference between selling products and services. They all start with probing questions that help you understand the customer’s needs relative to your offering. Questions don’t care if they are asked about a product or service.
Mr. Johnson, what were you hoping our fugerwump would do for your company? Mrs. Smith, when you compare fugerwumps, what is most important to you? Mr. White, how are you planning to make your fugerwump decision. Insert any product or service you want for fugerwump and it works.
Let’s not trap ourselves into thinking that we only know how to sell one thing or another. If you have good sales skills you can sell many things. And if you have great sales skills you can sell them all as a total solution to your client’s ultimate need.
Oh, and the one that froze? She is actually one of the top sales professionals in the company they acquired. I predict she will go on to be one of the best as she has the opportunity to sell the entire suite of offerings of her new company.