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No More Show and Tell — By Kim Jones

I was recently speaking to a friend who is in the process of selling her home. She told me about her experience interviewing a prospective realtor.

He showed up at her home, armed with a thick, glossy, color brochure about his company. He laid it out on the dining room table and for the next sixty minutes proceeded to walk her through each page of the brochure. My friend, who apparently has the patience of a saint, still gets agitated when she retells the story.

Brochures typically tell a story that is all about your company, your products or your services. Which is great, except initially no one cares about your company, your product, or your services. They care about whatever it is they need to improve themselves, their business, their family, their health, their future, their community. The intersection, between what your company offers and what your prospects need, is called “the sale”.

When I train sales teams I always assign them the task of “selling naked” for a full week. My clients must meet with their new prospects armed with nothing but a pen and a notepad. No brochures, no samples, nothing, nada. This simple exercise forces them to do one thing; they start to ask good questions. With no brochure or pamphlet on hand this exercise forces the salesperson to get down to business and to start engaging in a genuine dialogue with the prospect.

My clients have found that something amazing happens when they “sell naked”. They start getting more sales! Why? Because without the crutch of the pamphlet or brochure they are forced to find out what is important to the prospect.

Rather than jumping into a page-by-page review of the company brochure they instead are forced to take the time to find out why the customer has invited them to meet. They also tend to do a much better job of uncovering the customer’s unique challenge or situation.

Think it’s easy? It’s not. For those of you who cannot imagine ‘selling naked”, try leaving your brochures out in your car on your next five sales calls. That way, if your customer specifically requests to see your materials you have them available. But go into the initial meeting armed only with pen and paper and see what happens.

Your success as a sales professional hinges on your ability to ask good questions and uncover prospects needs. Take the time to make that happen and remember no more “show and tell”.
For over 15 years Kim Jones has been helping businesses grow through incomparable marketing and savvy selling. Questions or comments can be e-mailed to Kim Jones.

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