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Sales Training - Don't be a Sales Politician.

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Have you ever watched a politician being interviewed?  They never give a straight answer.
Question - “Do you think we should keep air available for the humans on our planet?”
Answer – “I think air is very important.  Air is something we have had for a long time.  And if I’m elected, we will do a thorough investigation of air.”  

You may think this is funny (and it is, thank you) but I’ve had sales reps who’ve called on me sound this way.    

I was doing internet banner advertising with a publisher who owned several online publications (sites).  We spread our ads over all of their sites.  After the initial campaign we looked at the results.  Some of the sites did better than others.  In my conversation with my sales rep, who wanted me to buy another campaign, I suggested we just run the ads on the sites that beat the overall average response rate.  First he said, “That’s a good idea.”  Then he said, “But we probably can’t do that.”  I asked, “Why not?  Don’t we want to put our emphasis and money on the better-performing sites?”  What happened next set me back.  He said, “We need to use all the sites.”  I didn’t say anything.  I was just trying to digest what I heard when he continued; “You can’t pick just one or two publications.  We have to do that.”   I still said nothing.  Now I’m thinking this guy’s story keeps shifting and he’s hiding something from me.  Within 30 seconds he went from “probably can’t” to “we need to” to “you can’t.”  Trust was gone because he flip-flopped within 30 seconds. 

When a prospect asks you a question give them a straight answer – even if your answer is in the form of a sincere, clarifying question.  Anything other than a straight yes or no or an honest, straightforward response, including a clarifying question, will be seen as your hiding something.  In the above example I would have understood it if he had said “I’m sorry, but it’s our company’s policy to run campaigns across all our sites at the same time.  We cannot isolate or leave out sites.”  I would not have liked it, but I would have understood it.  Plus, he was correct about how his product is sold, and I was uneducated.  Many online publishers require you to purchase the “run” across all their sites.  If he had come off as more of an authority, my trust level would have gone up and I probably would have advertised again. 

Sales Homework – It’s simple.  Just answer your prospect’s and customer’s questions honestly and in a straightforward manner.   You will gain more trust and more customers.  Sadly, however, you’ll never be elected.

Sales Managers – You don’t have time to check every response your sales reps give to a prospect or customer.  Emphasize that fact during in your sales meeting today.

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