Weak salespeople tell the client what they want to hear. Great salespeople tell the client what they need to hear.
Want to Hear
The weak salesperson tells the client what they believe he wants to hear. They believe that by telling the client what he wants to hear that the client will like them. They believe by telling the client that they can achieve the result they need without making changes and without spending more money, they increase the likelihood of winning their business.
But the client’s baby is ugly. Pretending it isn’t doesn’t help the client.
And sometimes this strategy works. It works on some clients who need to be important and some who really don’t want to deal with their real issues.
Need to Hear
Great salespeople tell their clients the truth. They believe that by telling the client what he needs to hear, no matter how uncomfortable, that the client will trust them. The better salesperson knows that the client needs to understand the changes they need to make, why they need to make them, and how to make them in order to improve their results. The better salesperson also knows that helping their clients produce better results often requires asking the client to invest more in those results.
The client’s baby is ugly. But your help makes for a much prettier baby.
Much of the time, this strategy works. It works on mature contacts who are serious about better producing results and accountable for doing so.
Over time, the businesses that are led by people who would rather hear what they want to hear run into big trouble. The baby gets uglier and uglier. After they limp along for a while, the responsibility to make a decision falls to someone who wants to hear what he needs to hear.