When the phone rings during the evening hours one of the kids invariably sings out, “It’s for you, Dad.”
They do this reflexively because they know I want to hear the sales pitch on the other end. Why? More than just curiosity, listening to other sales professionals provides a learning opportunity for things both good and bad. From time to time, a sale is made, too!
Panera, Starbucks and restaurants of that ilk also provide a Petri dish of sales biology. Even if you’re just grabbing a decaf latte or a quick sandwich, you will invariably overhear an enthusiastic sales person pitching a prospect, and you will bear witness to the widest variety of skill and technique.
So all these iterations of sales talk patterns begin to emerge, and one in particular seems prevalent: the overuse of claims.
“We have the best service.”
“Our company is the greatest in the region.”
“Our team is professional.”
“Our product can’t be touched by the competition.”
In an effort to be more convincing or perhaps to shorten the sales cycle with one broad statement, these statements float out and land with a thud. These seemingly small sentiments create significant problems for sales professionals because they beg the prospect to say, “Prove it.”
Claims clumsily overstate our capabilities, contribute to puffery and decrease credibility unless they are backed up by solid evidence. So, in trying to become more convincing, a sales person is actually running in the wrong direction and raising more concern.
Evidence decreases doubt when it is skillfully used and introduced at the right time. Exhibits, demonstrations, testimonial letters and well-researched statistics bolster our case and mitigate prospects thinking, “Of course you think you’re the best -- you’re getting paid.”
What PROVES you’re (the best) tops in the industry? JD Power surveys? Letters from customers? What nails down the fact that your team is professional? Certifications? Training?
Examine a couple of things this week. Do claims regularly slip out of your mouth or your team’s mouths? What kind of solid evidence are you using to back up your facts and benefits?
Lastly, want to learn something new for good or ill? Every now and again, answer the phone at dinner time. It’s for you.