Why Most People Fail At Sales: Because They're Sales Technique is Like Salt On A Slug
"Don't you ever put salt on a snail or a snug!" I remember my mom telling me when I was just a little boy. The words of caution were delivered with force and sincerity. And I knew she meant business.
But I was a little boy, and I had to explore the world because I thought I knew better. So when the day came that I saw a slug climbing across the back our small house naturally I ran inside, grabbed the salt shaker, and came out giggling with maniacal little boy laughter.
When I first started throwing salt on the that little slug nothing happened at first. But then I saw him oozing and bubbling. I saw his already slow travels diminish to nothingness. And as I sprinkled more and more salt on him I watched him slowly and painfully die.
Being a sensitive little boy I tossed the salt shaker aside and ran into the house crying that I had just injured a small creature.
"WHY DIDN'T ANYONE WARN ME?!?!?" I screamed as I ran into my bedroom.
But I had been warned.
Most sales people approach their sales process and closing in a similar manner.
"Practice your sales pitch 20 times before you do it," I'll say to a new student in my mastermind.
"Record yourself making the pitch, see what you did good, see what you did bad, and refine," I'll go into further detail.
"Make sure you're actually selling to your potential client's needs and wants," I'll implore.
I provide countless hours of training to those who work with me, and I demand accountability. But most sales professionals are not used to a routine or responsibilities that put them at blame if they lose the sale. And sometimes they'll come back to me after a big pitch saying, "I didn't close them because [insert lame excuse here]."
And 100% of the time when a potential client hasn't closed it is because a vital part of their new learned sales process has been skipped.
Every. Single. Time.
That's okay. That's why they come to me for coaching, training, and sometimes hand holding. But most of them are just throwing salt into the slug of their sales process.
Most sales professionals have never been trained properly. Yes, major corporations have sales training in place. But it's wildly out of date and high pressure tactics. Recently I spoke to a group of over 200 sales professionals for a major organization and I told the event organizer I was going to start with some mindset and meditation techniques that I use with all of my personal students.
"Oh no," he said timidly. "That won't work here." There was no equivocation.
"Oh?" I asked with a smile. "Proven scientific techniques and practices don't work here? Well okay then. I'll just fly onstage since gravity won't be an issue."
I wasn't subtle. And I never am when it comes to sales coaching and sales training. Because this is an industry fraught with dated techniques and processes.
The potential client is the slug.
The traditional sales person is the little boy.
The sales process is the salt.
"Hey, don't you ever ever do that in a sales pitch!" I'll warn new students working with me.
And then they'll come back to me and say, "I'm sorry Stan. I did such and such."
They through salt at their slug and killed it.
It's learned behavior. It's dated techniques. And it's why most people get a creepy heebie jeeby feeling when they hear the dreaded words "Sales Person".
I recently worked with a small local clothing retailer in a mall who felt like they were going to go out of business. They sell high end clothes in a typical suburban mall. Most people who enter the store come in walking casually and slowly as if to waste time waiting on someone else.
Their traditional approach for the last 17 years when someone enters?
To say "Hi! How are you? What are you looking for today?"
The traditional response for the last 17 years?
"Oh nothing. I'm just looking."
This visitor would then just browse for 3-5 minutes and leave without ever making a purchase.
The tweak I taught them was simple.
Someone enters the door. The quiet bell goes off letting folks know someone has walked in. And the new greeting?
"Thank you for coming in! We have a 30% off special in the back of the store and we have snacks and drinks back by the dressing rooms if you want to try something on. My name is Tiffany and that's Susan over there and we'd love for you to hang out for a while."
Yes. That's the greeting.
And embedded in it is simple scientific triggers to get someone to stay, hang out, try clothes on, and perhaps most importantly, walk all the way to the back of the store. Which causes them to pass everything else in and out.
There's a two hour PowerPoint lesson on that greeting I could give. But suffice it to say that in the last 120 days sales have increased 37% for this local retailer. And they don't even mind cleaning up the crumbs from the cookies in the back.
And that's just for simple retail sales. Not even real estate, phone closing, or high ticket items.
So let me ask you dear sales professional or business owner who is reading this:
Where did you get your sales training? And has it been in the last 10 years?
And if you can't say "Somewhere Awesome" and "Yes" to those two questions then it's time to stop throwing salt at the slug and bringing more revenue into your life and business.
I'm your mother here. You have been warned. And I hope you'll stop killing your potential clients by your lack of training.
Whether it's here with Peak Sales Results or with another reputable coach and program it does not matter. What matters is that you're actually serving people with whatever you're selling.
So go forth and serve. And don't be salty about it.