I had the privilege of hearing Doug Lipp present at a recent conference where I was also a speaker. He is the former Disney University trainer for Disney. While his message was mostly about customer experience and satisfaction, he made a specific point that resonated with me and applies to sales.
He explained that at Disney World they would train their staff to look at the park from the child’s eye. They would physically get down on their knees and experience the park the way a child would experience it. Most companies I work with care about how the customer perceives the experience, but I don’t really know of any that go to this extreme in truly understanding how the customer experiences their products and services. It made me think about salespeople and how this might help them better understand and identify with their prospects and customers.
Many salespeople are so focused on making the sale, closing the deal, or convincing the prospect to buy, they neglect to really understand the prospect and how they might actually experience the product or service. So how could a salesperson effectively see their products and services through the eyes of the customer? I guess they could start by being a customer if appropriate or pretending to be a prospect, but that might be cumbersome, unfeasible or downright inappropriate. So a more universal way of doing it would be to ask the right “why” and “how” questions. These are the basis of what very good, consultative salespeople use to really understand the prospect.
Through the analysis tools that we use from Objective Management Group with our client companies, we have learned that the average proficiency of the Consultative Seller skill set is only 22%. The vast majority of salespeople out there do not have the adequate skill set to actually be consultative. And how can one be consultative if they do not understand where the prospect is coming from? How can they experience the world thru the prospect’s point of view if they don’t understand the “why” and the “how” behind the prospect’s decision making and need. The answer is they cannot. Salespeople must become skillful at asking “why” and “how” questions. For instance: “Why have you been using your current provider?” “How did you decide to use them?” How will you determine the best fit for you this time?” “Why are you choosing to talk with me?”
By adopting the Disney mentality, experiencing their wares through the eyes of the prospect will help them connect more quickly, gain trust from the prospect and ultimately point them in the direction to close more business more quickly.