TENNIS OR GOLF?… Earl Nightingale (1921 – 1989) was one of the earliest proponents of modern personal development. Earl was ahead of his time. His classic 1956 recording, "The Strangest Secret" is still current in its thinking. He said that when talking with customers we need to have a conversation, not make a speech. In one of his more memorable metaphors he said Salespeople communicated with their customers like they were playing one of two sports:
1. Tennis… "the ball is struck back and forth with each player participating equally"
2. Golf… "they just keep hitting their own ball, over and over and over again"
Nightingale went on to say that, "a good conversationalist is able to achieve a marvelous give-and-take with his audience". Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? The obvious preference is to choose tennis over golf.
Here is your ACTION STEP… so how do you ensure that you are playing tennis and not golf? To be a powerful Salesperson you need to create conversations with your Customers. Here's some ideas on conversing more effectively:
1. To get things started, use more open ended questions (typically they will start with who, what, where, how, why, and when) and avoid yes/no questions. This will take some practice but it is highly effective.
2. Create some standard questions for yourself that are designed to create conversation… "What's the next step for you?" or "Why do you ask?" or "I'm curious, how did you come to that conclusion?"
3. Use the same "conversational bridges" with your Customers that you use in your personal life. It makes your dialogue much more natural. These bridges are often prefixes such as "Tell me…, Just so I know…, Let me ask you…, I was wondering…".
4. Bonus Point: whenever you are stuck, always fall back on this "magic pill"... "That's interesting, tell me more about that?" It creates conversation every time!
Here's an interesting thought for you: when a Sales presentation isn't going too well, it is human nature to start playing more golf than tennis! Do you get nervous and start "hitting your own ball over and over" (blah blah blah) or do you ask more questions? The next time you find yourself in a tough spot, conduct one of those out of body experiments. What do you find yourself doing… talking more or asking more questions? Get in the habit of improving your tennis game (for this purpose, avoid golf). In the Sales Business it works much more effectively and as a result you will earn more money. Thanks Earl. NO Excuse.