My good friend and colleague Larry Pino wrote a blog post last year where he related a wonderful story that also serves as a great lesson
for commercial real estate brokerage professionals. With his permission, I have posted it here and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. There is a big difference between talking to your prospects about features and talking to them about how your services will benefit them, solve their problem, improve their situation, etc. Learn how to get on the client’s agenda so you can talk about “what’s in it for them”. One last observation……it takes practice! Notice that Isabella role played her new found sales techniques over and over until she was confident in her approach! Great lesson from a 7 year old. Enjoy:
We had quite a bit of drama in the household a few evenings ago.
Isabella, newly installed into the 2nd grade, expected some family and neighborhood lay-downs when she started pitching magazine subscriptions for the annual contest.
Apparently, depending on how many subscriptions you sell, and how much money you collect in a two-week period of time, you get to be invited to the Dippy Dot reward party where extra spiffs are handed out to the 2nd graders who did particularly well.
Unbeknownst to me, she had knocked on the door of the neighbors across the street and got repelled with a, “we’ll think about it!”
Thereafter, she went to Mommy, who was non-committal.
She hit up her older brother, who said that he didn’t think that family should be selling to family.
Her secondolder brother wasn’t around.
And all of that was before she descended on me.
So, when she came to me, and I attempted to redirect her to Mommy, the tears exploded and there was general tribulation and gnashing of teeth in the Pino household for at least 15 minutes of agonizing sobs.
However, with a surprsingly adept sleight of hand and the aplomb only a mommy can muster, Janet got our little one into the shower, which apparently calmed her down and redirected her thoughts.
When she finally came back to me, afterwards, she told me outright that everybody had turned her down and she didn’t understand why. She appeared calm. . .and inquiring.
So, I said, “Well, sweetie pie, what are you telling them?”
“Well”, she said with incredible self-worth, “I tell them that they can buy all of these three pages of magazines and then I show them the pictures of the magazines they can buy from me.”
I said, “Okay, what else do you tell them?”
She said, “that’s it, Daddy.”
So I said, “Sweetie pie, what you told them is what you have for them to buy. What you didn’t tell them is why they should buy them. People buy something only when it’s in their own self interest. They don’t’ buy something because it is in your self-interest. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Without the drama or the tears, or anything else that has been relatively standard fair for our 7 year old little girl, she said, “. . . well, what should I have said then, Daddy?”
I couldn’t believe my ears. I didn’t hear an argument. I didn’t hear more tears. I heard an open-ended question that appeared to suggest a desire to really know the answer, or at least listen to one.
My teaching moment was afoot!
So I said, “. . .Great question, Sweetie pie. What you need to do is give them a reason why they should be buying from you. There are lots of reasons. But you need to give it to them. Can I show you an example of what it sounds like?”
“OK!?!”, she said, not totally sure.
“In this case, what if you were to go up and say: ‘Hi, my name is Isabella Pino. I live up the block. I’d like to show you a catalog that has three pages of magazines andask you if you read or would like to read any of these.” If they say “no,” or anything else, we’ll talk about that tomorrow. But if they point to one of them, you say ‘Fantastic, do you already subscribe to that magazine, or do you buy it on the newsstand?’ If they already subscribe, we’ll talk about that tomorrow. But if they say that they buy it on the newsstand, then you say ‘Wonderful, do you realize that by buying this magazine at Publix, you’ll be paying $48 a year. But if you buy it from me today, you’ll be paying just $24 a year?
‘You’ll read the magazine you enjoy . . . at half price . . . and you’ll be helping my school, which needs the money to teach us kids.’
So, Sweetie pie, you can put it in your own language, but do you see what I’m doing?”
To my amazement, she looked at me. . .hesitated a little, shifted into her criss-cross-apple-sauce 7 year old lotus position, and said, “OK, Daddy, let’s try it!”
And then she started trying it. Not once, not twice. . .but several times, as if she was actually practicing it.
In any event, to make a long story short, we actually practiced it half a dozen more times with the magazines. After that, Mommy and Jordan had come in so we practiced a couple of different types of products. Each time, Jordan wanted to get into the objections, but I kept telling them I would save those for another day.
But, when it was all said and done, I thought to myself that the elements of a sale are pretty much as simple as that. No matter what the product or service, the process is the same, whether you are 7, 37 or 67. They look like this:
- Acknowledge and relate to the person you are speaking with.
- Let them know what you have to offer.
- Let them know why it is in their best interest to acquire what you have to offer from you.
- Explain why the decision is critical to make either today or in short order.
- And, with your personal style, address three components: give them intellectual permission to buy, an emotional desire to buy, and a commitment to do it in a timely manner.
Of course, there are two other processes we deflected to another day: neutralizing objections and securing the sale . . . but, after all, we have two weeks to earn those Dippy Dots.