Most of them seem to talk just to talk. They make small talk, ask me how my day is, blah blah blah. Some of them will ask me if I’m a big David Bowie fan since I’m often wearing a David Bowie shirt. (And I know they’re trying to get a little more personal than just asking about the weather, but would I be wearing the shirt if I wasn’t a fan?) And so many of them will start talking about something that has nothing to do with the business at hand. Some personal life story or some crazy thing they just heard about.
That stuff probably works for a lot of people.
But my task-oriented, let’s get down to business side kinda hates it.
If I’m ready to buy something, (or if I know I’m going to say no), that small talk, glad-handing, let me tell you my life story part of the conversation is honestly an annoyance to me.
Though there have been exceptions.
Once in a blue moon, a rockstar salesperson strolls into my life. We gel perfectly, they tell me stories. I tell them stories. And before I know it, I buy something that I hadn’t even planned on. And even when I don’t, I walk away feeling good about the interaction.
Since I’m not a very outgoing person, that means they did an incredible job at nailing my personality and picking up on what would work with me.
I mean, maybe they were just lucky. But I doubt it.
The point is that you have to know who these tactics will work with and who they won’t.
And for the love of all that is holy, don’t just talk to talk. Listen to your prospect, ask questions because you care about the answers, pay attention to their cues, and use storytelling in a relevant and appropriate way.
Another issue discussed in these last two episodes focused a lot on John and how he struggles with the storytelling technique during sales conversations.
Since he is both my boss and my life partner, I’m sure you can imagine how many of his sales calls I’ve heard.
And I never would have known that it’s something he struggles with.
Now, he tends to be overly self-critical and demanding of himself at the best of times. He’s basically a real-life Chidi.