By: Alan Hayman, President at Hayman Consulting Group
After looking back at my sales career and those who try to sell me something, I have figured out that those salespeople who can “paint” a picture or vision of how the prospect will benefit or feel as a result of buying a product, solution, or service are the most likely to succeed. It’s not about the demo and it’s not about the price. It’s about the “picture”. It reminds me of the tag line of Men’s Warehouse where the founder proudly states in his TV pitch, “you’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it.”
In the seventies, I sold cash registers (e.g. Sweda, Sharp) which were usually the most expensive on the market at the time. As time went on, I sold MICROS to independent restaurants and small chains in the Washington, D.C. area. Again, these were the most expensive systems on the market. Since we rarely discounted anything, I learned to “paint” and create a vision for my clients as to how our solutions and services were to going to make them more successful, give them peace of mind, drive revenue, reduce costs, etc. One day, I decided to stop doing demos. I usually had the product with me but when I was done “painting” and asked the prospect if they wanted to me to show them how we rang up a hamburger or split a guest check the answer was a resounding “no thanks”. They saw themselves in my picture.
Once Hayman Systems was acquired by MICROS and I was promoted to EVP of Major Accounts, we trained our sales teams to become “painters”. We would present our vision for our clients through carefully crafted presentations that took the prospect on a journey for where we were going take them. We never rang up a hamburger, split a check, or did a demo unless they requested (or demanded) it. Occasionally we would demo our above store reporting solution but even that was rare. Our sales strategy worked. Demos became a thing of the past and face-to-face meetings were about articulating the prospect’s vision and ours in a convincing way.
Today, I still sell but it’s rarely face-to-face. Whether I am presenting our XCO mobile app platform to the Miami Heat, the Hair Cuttery or the National Aquarium, it’s a Go To Meeting and a few PPT slides. I rely on my ability to “paint” a compelling picture for the prospect. Yes, I still do my homework, ask about their goals, objectives, and pain points. However, at the end of the day, I find prospects are rarely swayed with demos and can be convinced that value is more important than price but only if you’ve painted a great “picture”.
If you or your sales teams want to close more deals, learn how to become good painters. You will be surprised by the incredible results as I was early in my career.