Have you ever watched the high jump in the Olympics? It’s amazing to see how high they can go, while jumping backwards over the bar.
It wasn’t always that way. In fact, until the ‘60s, athletes always jumped over the bar facing forward. That was just how it was done. Nobody had challenged it until Dick Fosbury began testing a new style of jump where he would lead back-first. By the late ‘60s, most Olympians were jumping back-first and crushing old records.
This story reminds me of sales. For many years, sales people have all been following the same general strategy to selling: pitch your product persuasively with enthusiasm.
This is not the dominant strategy because it’s the best strategy, but rather it is dominant because that is simply what most sales people do. That’s how it’s done. Just like high jumping front-first.
Stop following convention—it’s destroying your sales. The second a prospect decides that you are like all of the other sales people that he has met this month, you are dead.
Rather, break convention by being completely distinct from the competition during your selling interactions.
- Stop Pitching: Begin your meetings by seeking to understand the challenges your prospect is facing. Everyone else opens up with some explanation of why the prospect should do business with them.
- Stop the Enthusiasm: Prospects are sick and tired of the forced excitement thing. They have seen it a thousand times. Forced enthusiasm is pushing the prospect’s wall up immediately. Be genuine and seek to understand the prospect’s issues instead.
- Stop Persuading: When you persuade, you assume that every prospect you meet with is a fit. That is not true. Rather than persuade up front, seek to disqualify those that are not a good fit for you.
By breaking from convention, you not only set yourself apart from the competition, but you also can begin using selling strategies that work more effectively.
How do you break from convention in selling? Please share below.
Written by Marc Wayshak, author of the book Game Plan Selling, and a sales keynote speaker.