“Dare to err and to dream. Deep meaning often lies in childish plays.”

-Friedrich von Schiller

Blog # 491 …4/28/2019

Put Key In Ignition Switch, /Start Engine…

I learned to drive a tractor before I was allowed to drive a car.  The rules my dad drummed into me were simple:

1.  Put key in ignition switch.

2.  Put shift lever in neutral position.

3.  Disengage clutch and start engine.

4.  Put shift lever in gear.

5.  Slowly engage clutch.

I remembered this when I attended an all-day seminar on the use of a computer App.  The vendor sales people showed prospects how the product worked, how easy it was to use and why it would pay for itself in less than a year.

The audience was both those who had heard a sales pitch and those, like myself, who had only read the vendor’s product brochure.  All of us had a need to know – sufficient to warrant giving up a full day away from the office.

The session was done extremely well, the product capabilities were presented clearly and in quite enough detail.  The day was well paced, I finished alert and awake at 4 p.m. and arose to observe several salespeople at terminals, answering questions and demonstrating to prospects and serious suspects.  You know the ones I mean . . . the ten people out of fifty who had only read the brochures, who came to look and were half sold during the seminar.

I listened in on two discussions, asked the receptionist to call a taxi, and then returned to a third group to learn while I waited.  The salesman was just completing the canned demonstration when I joined the group.  He asked for comments.

One person asked several specific questions.  In each case, she finally got most of the answers from the salesman; part of a lengthy demonstration of several of the product’s capabilities.  In the give and take, the prospect did a pretty good job of describing her whole situation – needs, method of operation, etc. – in thirty minutes the salesman never took down a single note on paper or a digital device.

The prospect had qualified herself, had the money and authority to buy.  She was even in his geographic territory!!!!

Then she asked that key, specific question that was very important.  If the product could do what she was asking, it was obvious (my gut feeling) that she would probably buy.

  1. The salesman gave a simple answer . . . only not to her question.
  2. She tried again in different words . . .
  3. He gave her a different answer . . . only not to her question.
  4. She tried again, this time slowly, at length . . . drawing DIAGRAMS in the air with her finger.5

I wanted to push the salesman aside and show her how to do it on the keyboard.  It’s an easy thing with the product – obvious after the day’s presentation.  It had, in fact, been talked about, but the prospect had missed it (so had the salesman).  I was so frustrated, I couldn’t stand it!!!

So was the prospect.  She changed the subject and gamely asked the salesman to send her some manuals.

On the way to the hotel, I mentally reviewed the whole episode.  I knew the salesman had tried hard.  What had he missed — how had he failed??

Then I remembered . . .

6. Each time the prospect asked her question, the salesman either started to talk (once or twice) before she finished, or he started answering the instant she stopped.

7. He never restated her question or his interpretation of what she said; i.e., what he thought she said.

He should have waited until she finished her question, then slowly counted to ten while he put his brain in gear and then . . . Slowly engage clutch.

Nuff Said !!! 

Wes Zimmerman

7one.com – click on book image and see the Arch
For information on Happiness Foundation – Email: wes@7one.com
(480) 628-2450
©Wesley W. Zimmerman 4/28/2019

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