When Frank Robertson started selling microcomputers, now known as PCs and Macs, they were the first computers a person could own and use in his or her small business. Prior to these microcomputers, people in government and businesses of all sizes, from small to large, used typewriters to get typing done, i.e. to produce letters and documents. As Frank used typewriters himself, he had strong personal reasons for his enthusiasm and passion for personal computers.
Frank learned to type on a manual typewriter, the ones where the keys were pressed without the assistance of electricity. Then he got to use an IBM Selectric. The air base where he was stationed had them in the base offices. After duty hours, he was able to use the alert facility’s clerk’s Selectric to do his grad school papers. This was wonderful because IBM had a tape that would lift off mistakes, so you could retype without the error being noticeable.
That was great, provided you caught the error right away. However, if you found it when proofing several lines later, the odds were that you couldn’t line the paper up well enough to lift off the characters following the mistake so as to retype it free of obvious mistakes. Thus, the first reason Frank was passionate about microcomputers was that you could type a full page on the computer screen, catch and fix any mistakes then print out a letter-perfect page.
When customers came in who did a lot of writing on typewriters, Frank spoke enthusiastically and with passion about this great technology and how much time, effort, and frustration a microcomputer could save by using the word processing software. Naturally, those prospects were impressed and often bought because they felt Frank’s excitement and could relate to what he described. It was a problem they knew and understood intimately.
When you approach your prospect, you too will find more success if you know and understand their problems and can speak passionately about your solution. There are several ways to get enthusiasm about your products and services. Here are a few:
Frank spoke about how his daughter had an illness that hospitalized her for several months while the doctors tried to find the cause and the cure. It wasn’t until he had a minor problem with being able to breathe that he finally appreciated how scary it was to be losing muscle strength and control as the illness progressed from her legs up towards her chest.
Passion and enthusiasm for your products and services won’t increase sales for you until you apply them to problems or desires your prospects have. Don’t assume either that they recognize the need you think they should have. Ask questions to find out what they think their problems and needs are. Only after you are sure they are qualified leads do you invest the effort to share your enthusiasm.
Just reading about a problem will seldom give you the feeling necessary to authentically feel their pain and to know the relief when that problem is gone. When you find that experience that you can extrapolate to your prospects, you will be able to then come across as sincerely understanding either their pain or their desired outcome then your enthusiasm will ring true.
Indeed, excitement is great and helpful in the right context. Remember, though, the old adage: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” And you show you care by addressing their concerns, not yours.
In doing sales training, I sometimes point out that I don’t care how good the sale on tires is because I don’t need new tires. For the past fifteen years at least, we have traded in our car every four to five years. As our driving tends to be short trips, we never wear out the tires before trade in. The point is that you need to know your prospect’s ideal customer profile developed from your best customers in more detail than just ethnicity, gender, age, and education level.
This will enable you to find the right prospects for your products and services. Focusing on people matching your ideal customer profile will make your advertising, marketing, and sales calls more effective. In other words, you won’t waste time on people with no potential needs you can fix or desires you can fulfill. You’ll also improve your closing ratio.
Focus your sales and marketing on the people who most closely match the profile of your ideal customers. Confirm they have the problems or desires you suspect before launching into a sales presentation. Base your passion and enthusiasm for your solution on your understanding and empathy for their feelings towards their perceived needs and wants.
Frank Robertson sold effectively with passion and enthusiasm because he knew firsthand the problem that his microcomputer’s word processing software fixed. He focused his sales efforts on the prospects who desired a solution to the frustration of correcting errors on a typewriter. Use your experience and empathy to help prospects matching your ideal customers solve their problems and fulfill their dream goals.
Open your heart in selling,
John R. Aberle
Do you love taking care of your customers and prospects? If you yearn to build more long-term business connections with your customers, get your copy of the Amazon Kindle eBook:
I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.
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