A while back, I held a bootcamp for a large company at their headquarters. I spent Thursday and Friday with sales representatives who sell all across the country, and on Thursday night I heard a story that is a great example of sales gone wrong.
When I speak in front of large groups, I like to ask if anyone has experience selling used cars before I use it as an example. In this group, there were two sales representatives who had worked in used car sales previously.
On Thursday night, we went out to dinner as a group and I happened to sit next to one of the guys who had been a used car salesperson several years before. And during dinner, he shared this story with me. He'd never been able to get over this sales tactic he was taught, and was relieved that the Sandler principles we'd gone over that day were so different.
The man that I talked to worked at a used car lot when he was younger. The owner owned about six or seven of these used car lots, and he worked with a sales trainer that he brought in to train his sales team.
This trainer spent about a day and a half training these sales people, and he told them, "If you want to sell more cars, here's the best close you can use." The trainer encouraged them to understand that for most people, buying cars is a pretty emotional experience.
At this point, I'm thinking, okay, this could be going somewhere good.
The trainer told them that if you're with a prospect who's wrestling with their decision, here's what you should tell them: "Hey, I know this is a tough decision, but I feel like we've gotten to know each other a bit today. I just wanted to tell you, if you don't buy this car from me, I won't be able to feed my kids tomorrow."
Immediately, I think, NO! That's a terrible way to treat a prospect. When he finished telling me that story, the sales representative told me that he had a friend who visited that car lot recently, and that's still the close.
Obviously, that's the kind of behavior that makes prospects wary of sales people. And while I think that's a terrible way to do business, it's important to know that your competition includes all the sales people who use tactics like that.
Those are the kinds of expectations that you need to work around or disprove in order to have real communication with your prospects. Understanding that some of your prospects will have had that experience in their past can help you understand their behavior better when you're working with them.