The Great Sales Match

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch…”

For some reason, I’m on a weird kick lately to re-watch all my old favorite musicals. Those famous lyrics from, Fiddler on the Roof, haunt my head as I write this week’s Monday Morning Stretch and think about how often we complicate the communication process with a potential new client or patient.

When Tom and I were engaged to be married just a few short years ago, we shopped for wedding venues. We had four very different experiences at the places we visited, all providing more evidence to me that most of us have the entire sales cycle backwards.

Each events coordinator introduced themselves, handed us a pre-made information packet, and immediately commenced with the “tour.” Most did manage to ask the number of guests and if we had a date yet but not one asked us what kind of a wedding we wanted or if there was anything especially important to us in choosing a location. Had they asked, I would have told them we didn’t want the standard “aisle down the middle, alter at the front” set-up but rather a more circular arrangement with us in the middle of our family and friends. Tom would have shared that he has lots of grandchildren, and we’d like an area for a kid’s station with activities just for them as well as the fact that he really wants an outdoor area (preferably with a firepit) for a cigar-roller and port bar. They would have known we’ve already contracted with Lee Koch and his band to play at our wedding since we discovered and befriended them on our very first date.

With that knowledge in hand, two things would have been effortless for them to do: 1) show us just how perfect their location would be for our special day or 2) saved all of us a lot of wasted time and a long tour only to discover it would never have worked anyway (as in the case of one location where amplified music is not allowed other than I-Pod speakers…. a complete deal-breaker for us.)

Selling is nothing more than old-fashioned matchmaking. It’s simply showing your prospect how your product, service, or venue matches up to what they want to accomplish, but in order to do that, you have to thoroughly understand what that is. And you’ll only discover that by taking time up front to be curious and ask some questions first before launching into your “spiel.” It makes no difference whether you are selling great products, great dentists, or great wedding venues. It’s exactly the same whether you’re talking to a potential client on the telephone or in person. There’s only one script to follow: Be curious and find out what’s important to them and then show them how you, your team, your product or service, your doctor, or your venue can help them get it. So simple, but so few actually do it.

And one more note… We spoke to a man who was the manager of a small 10-bedroom hotel and a highly-acclaimed chef. He did something VERY right, in my opinion: At the end, he shook my hand, held it a little longer than normal, looked directly at me and smiled and then said in the most sincere way, “I hope you’ll consider me because I would love to cook an unforgettable meal for your wedding. I really, really would.” His earnest statement stuck with me all afternoon.

I often coach doctors and teams to say similar words to their patients. “I know we can achieve a remarkable and beautiful result, and I would really love to do this for you.” You think they know it but hearing it is so powerful.

This week remember that selling anything is matching what your client wants with what you can offer. Ask before you tell… and then tell them you’d LOVE to do it!

“Most salespeople don’t spend enough time listening and questioning. The moment they think
they have the answer,
they jump straight to talking about their solution. As a result they don’t do a good
enough job of  understanding issues
from the customer point of view. And if customers don’t feel
that they are listened to and understood, there’s an inevitable loss of trust.”

~Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling

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