You never let me finish my point!!

By Subraya Mallya - September 2013 | Topics - Sales

This is a complaint I have heard a few times from the sales guy in one of the companies I am involved with. But this time I thought I will do some digging into it.

Here is some context.  We routinely do role playing in the company before a sales meeting with a new prospect.  We were discussing a particular sales opportunity and we were playing roles – me being the prospect and him trying to sell me on the value proposition. A good demo and compelling value proposition tailored to that prospect and there was a reasonable chance of clinching that deal.

As my sales rep started his narrative – there were a couple of instances where I interjected abruptly.  As is my wont, it took only a few minutes for me to jump in and hijack the discussion. He complained “You never let me finish my point”. It might have been a one-off comment at that point, but I have felt his frustration on the same issue in the past. This time something must have broken the camel’s back for him to express his frustration.

Part of it was attributable to my front running his thought process and part of it was the problem him. As I started replaying the incident and tried to get to source of the issue, I settled on two things that were happening

  1. The sales guy was going on and on about something and if he had managed to lose my attention then there was reasonable likelihood he will have lost the prospect as well. Being succinct is the imperative. In my opinion, a sales person should be speaking the least in any meeting. They are there to get to know and understand the customer’s challenges and get additional supporting information to better judge if our product would be able to provide better outcomes. And if the discussion gets stuck at some point you then provide the necessary nudge to take it forward. A talkative person, although common, makes not a good sales person. A healthy split of talking-listening would be 40-60%.
  2. As I was pretending to be the busy VP of Operations in this company, the engineer in me could not  wait to hear the crux of what the offering was. I gave him some cues about my eagerness to get to the point earlier. Despite those cues, the sales guy was “beating-around-the-bush” and not getting to the point. My patience was dwindling and that manifested itself in frequent interjections.

Once we discussed the issue and both of us had our say and agreed we could do better, we came up with a different approach going forward. Pair up an engineer and a sales guy for each pre-sales call rehearsal. The goal was multifold –  the engineer gain an appreciation for the challenges sales faces in different situations and the engineer in return serves as the bullshit filter on the sales pitches.

What do you guys think?

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