In my years of a sales career, I have found inspiration in places I least expected. From children to the elderly, front line employees to CEO’s, there are lessons you can learn from virtually everywhere. None of us are strangers to learning from the television. Many marketers learn what to do (and not do) from other advertisements they see on T.V. From copy-writing, to colors and branding, even how to target an audience, can all be learned from well constructed commercials and infomercials.
But sometimes the lessons we learn are from places we least expect. Like learning how to drive by sitting in a parking lot, sometimes the lessons become obvious, even if the teacher didn’t know they were teaching you. I had an experience like that when binge watching with my family, of all things, Family Fued.
For those of you not familiar with the game show. It is basically where 2 teams, made of family members, compete by guessing the answers most-likely given by a survey of 100 people. If your answer is on the board, you get points, if your family guesses all the popular answers on the board, you get all the points accumulated, if your answer is not on the board, you get a strike. 3 strikes and the other family gets the opportunity to guess one of the remaining answers, to steal your points. First to 300 wins.
Now you may be thinking, “how on earth is this guessing game relevant to sales?!” Glad you asked! Let’s look at the 3 top answers on the board.
There Are 3 Answers On the Board, & Your Business Can Triple.
Number 3 (ding!): A Supportive Team Builds Confidence. Remember these are family members. The game is filled with hand clapping, high-fives, and the often white lie, “good answer…good answer” (even if it is terrible.) All of these things build morale. Want to see a funny reaction from your team, followed by the feeling of closeness? Go around your office and offer a high-five. Just do it. It is an international symbol of team-work that we instill in children. Think about it, how often do we get down to the level of a child and ask them for a “high-5”? It is one of the first things we teach children, and it instantly makes them relate to us. And when the answer is on the board? Not only do you get high-5’s, but the crowd goes wild. And if you give a series of good answers?!! You get a celebrity endorsement (the host) of how good of a player you are. Imagine if you and/or your company celebrated every victory your team achieved like this?
Number 2 (ding!): Listening Is The Key To Success. You know those bad answers we spoke about before? They usually come because the contestant didn’t listen to the question properly, the other contestants, or the clues given by the host. If you give an answer that is nearly identical as someone else, you will get an x 99% of the time. This is for 2 reasons, the judges are incredibly lax with how close you have to be to the actual survey answers or you gave the exact answer that someone already got a strike on. Either way, you weren’t listening. If you give an answer like “bird” and they ask you to be more specific, that means there are at least 2 different birds that are on the board, otherwise they would just give you the points. How does this translate to sales? We get buying clues all the time from our prospects. Sometimes it is in the form of body-language, other times it is verbal cues, but either way, the buying cues are always there. For that matter, so are the “I’m-not-going-to-buy-no-matter-what” cues. We have to train our teams to identify those buying signals, and really take time to pause and listen to our clients and prospects. If your prospect keeps asking questions, this is a good thing, because it shows active interest. If they start talking about their pain-points, this is good, because it shows they are looking for a solution, and trust you to solve it. If your prospect is talking about other decision makers at the beginning, they are telling you that they are a potential advocate to close the deal. Every time I am in a selling situation, the first thing I do is try to identify the mindset of the individual or group, so I can find their buying signals. Once Identified, they are like a sign-post leading me to a new client.
We Get All The Time From Our Prospects
And the Number 1 answer of what Family Fued can teach you about sales is…(Ding!) Your Thoughts Do Not Matter! So sometimes the contestant gives a really really good answer, and yet still gets a strike. How can that be? Well there is a few reasons, but over all it is because the contestants (or those of us watching) thoughts really do not matter. The survey has already been conducted, and the thoughts those 100 individuals is what your trying to guess, not your own. This is a hard concept to grasps, but the families that do really well, seem to understand that their bias, whether geographic, racial, social, economical, age, or w.e, does not matter at this point. All that matters is they relate to what the general population, as represented by this sample size, thinks. This teaches us 2 things in sales. 1.) Know your audience and target market. If the question is “we asked 100 married men…” then does it matter what a single women would think? Not in this case, so any answer that a women would likely give, is likely going to be wrong, because the target audience was married men. Same thing with sales, doesn’t matter if every restaurant in America is using your product, if you are talking to a plumber. The testimonies, use-cases, and even verbiage, has to appeal to who you are speaking to. Thisis a key to sales success, being able to relate to your potential clients. If you can think how they think, then you can help them solve their issue. 2.) Let the customer decide how your product fits their needs. This can only be done by asking questions (and listening to the answers.) I remember a time where I was trying to get a client to build a sales funnel the way I thought it should be built, instead of just making their idea more robust. Because of this I lost lots of time, and worse yet, a good client. It does not matter if we create, or are selling, this cool thing to do ABC and the customer wants to buy it to do XYZ, they want to buy it. As long as your product can deliver their results, it isn’t dangerous, and it isn’t illegal, then be flexible and solve their issue. You may even have found an entirely new client base to market too. I saw this first hand working with a SAAS company whose target market was restaurants. They had some competition, but everyone was going after the same people. A Food truck company came and asked if it could be used for them, the CEO of the company was smart, and decided to test it out, now they are the only provider of this service to food trucks!
It has been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. There are many successful products and businesses that you can study and start to imitate in your own business. What small business wouldn’t want to be a little bigger? What sales person would not want their commission checks to be bigger, or their bonus to be higher?You can achieve this by finding inspiration all over the place, or even hiring a coach, to help you achieve higher levels of success. What ever you decide to do, make sure you are constantly trying to improve your sales, and customer experience… Good Answer….Good Answer