Sales Principle: Demonstrate, Don’t Assert
Have you ever noticed that two people can say essentially the same thing, but it can be received in wildly different ways?
Assertion: The only way to eat a hot dog is with ketchup on top.
Demonstration: Wow! Have you tasted how good this hot dog is when you add ketchup? Try it!
The point of both statements is that hot dogs are better with ketchup. But if you make it an assertion, you’ll have people arguing for mustard or mayo instead. If you demonstrate, people might just try a bite and consider your augment.
Take this to a sales conversation
Assertion: “ABC, Inc. is a client-centric global leader with award-winning, best-of-breed solutions that are truly comprehensive in their scope of functionality; and we can help you integrate your legacy data.”
Demonstration: “When I speak with other VP’s of retail banking, they say that cross-selling at the point of service is a key to customer retention. As a result of mergers, their customer information is in multiple systems, so that it is difficult for their staff to get the information needed. I don’t presume, however, that you see that in your bank?”
Many people believe their job as a salesperson is to extoll the great things about their company. But if you assert how great you are, it carries zero weight with the listener, and might antagonize her.
Demonstrations, on the other hand, are invitations to discuss the customer’s problems. If you describe some experience that relates to her world, and draw out her knowledge, she is more likely to engage.
There is a natural force that drives most salespeople to assert
Asserting, or pitching, is easier than initiating and sustaining an effective dialogue. But it doesn’t work.
If you start telling me how you can solve my problems before I have recognized or acknowledged a problem, you might be right. But you will not be viewed as helpful, and I might just shoot the messenger.