I have a bad habit of slightly obsessing over things that amuse me. I say a bad habit because after four days of me walking around the house talking like Christopher Walken, or repeating one of the SNL Celebrity jeopardy Sean Connery impressions, my wife tends to get slightly frustrated with me. That said, I love a good laugh, and I also love a good metaphor.
My most recent obsession is THIS beer commercial on TV. (I hereby apologize for all the “DILLY DILLY” voicemails I have left people in the last few weeks, and also for referring to the local gym as “the pit of misery”).
That commercial is not only amusing to me, it is also an excellent sales metaphor.
A metaphor that reminds me of two crucial aspects of a good salesperson’s existence.
1 – Know your audience
2 – Make the sales call about their agenda, not yours
As fundamentally basic as those two concepts are, the core narcissist nature of most of us trips up a whole lot of sales calls. We think that what is important to us is what should be important to the prospect. Our priorities, our likes and dislikes taint our conversational focus at the expense of the focus being on the client.
It is fine that you are into spiced honey mead wine and not beer. It is even fine that you want your client to discover all the reasons you are into spiced honey mead wine. What is not fine, is coming at that approach under the supposition that they should care because you care. You need to know your audience’s priorities, and roll your priorities into helping them accomplish theirs.
Lets use the beer commercial as an example. If you want the king to drink spiced honey mead wine (or try it, at least) you need to find out a few things.
– Why does the King like beer? (specifically what features are a plus for him)
– What does the King not like about beer?
– What other priorities of the king are supported/conflicted by the beer drinking?
– Anyone else influence his choice of drinking beer? (like the queen, for instance)
Once you have an idea why the status quo is the status quo, you can begin to position you honey mead wine as a furthering of the objectives that created the status quo.
You shortcut that step at your own peril. Prospects do indeed have a pit of misery. It is called “maybe land”.
Pit of misery!!! Dilly Dilly!