Want More Sales? Act Dumb!

Nick had just been hired and as yet, had not been sent out to the sales training seminars. If it were not for the fact that two of the salespeople called in sick, Nick would never have been on the floor. But there he was, with only the most basic information about the products he was supposed to sell.

“Hi,” said the prospect coming up to Nick, “I’m interested in the grey one over there.” Nick was in a panic and before he could help himself, he blurted out, “Oh, that grey one over there, that’s good…I guess.” The prospect replied, “Yeah, it is good. Been looking for awhile.” Once again Nick found his mouth working independently of his brain. “I guess you must not really need it…since you’ve been looking for awhile.” Nick couldn’t believe he had just said that! What an idiot he thought to himself. “Well,” responded the prospect, “now that you mention it, I really do need it. Just wanted to make sure.” “Oh,” said Nick, “then you’re not really sure…” Nick was really struggling to come up with the magical words that would close this sale.

The prospect just stared at Nick for a moment and turned to look at the grey one. Nick had no idea what to do or say next. So he found himself just standing there, speechless, like some sort of dummy. “Tell you what,” said the prospect, “I’ll take it.” “You’ll take it?” asked an astonished Nick. “Definitely, my mind’s made up.”

After the customer left, Nick decided that as soon as he got the sales training, he’d really know what to do. He never again wanted to feel like such a dummy.

With any luck and enough time, Nick will learn that professional salespeople do exactly what neophyte salespeople do, but learn to do it on purpose. And when the two ailing salespeople return and learn of Nick’s successful sale, it will be attributed to beginner’s luck. Nick succeeded in this case because he stumbled into a way to let the prospect close himself — Nick did not get in the way of the prospect and the order like most other salespeople would do.

Being a professional dummy does not mean you immediately forget everything you know about the products and services that you sell. Product knowledge is useful for building confidence and to know what questions to ask. In many instances, forgetting this information could get you into quite a serious situation. However, product knowledge can sink you if you dump it at the wrong time. Once you have product knowledge, the vast majority of salespeople now believe that by telling anyone who will listen what this information is, a sale will be made.

Consider this for a moment: people buy a product because it solves some pain they have. People do not buy because some salesperson educates them. People in pain want relief, not an education. Do not assume that you know what the prospect is looking for nor that the prospect has any interest in knowing what you know about a product/service.

How do you go about doing this? Ask questions. Then take the answers and reflect them back to the prospect.

The prospect makes the decision to buy based on his level of pain and budget. The sale is NEVER made based on the intelligence and knowledge of the salesperson.

If the prospect feels that your solution to his pain is within the budget, he will be convinced that you are the best salesperson in the world. His perception has nothing to do with what you actually have or don’t have in your head.

The most successful salesperson is an educated dummy. Therefore, if you want more sales, act dumb!

Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at kschaphorst@sandler.com. You can also follow his blog at karlschaphorst.sandler.com.