On a recent summer vacation over the 4th of July holiday, my daughter and I found our way to an old-fashioned steel camper renovated into a frozen treat stand. We were craving something sweet, and I noticed their red, white, and blue popsicle sign. I asked my seven-year-old daughter, Grace if she’d like one. She accepted enthusiastically, and I ordered.
What we received was completely unexpected. We were handed a homemade, organic, pink, yellow, and purple popsicle. Grace was quick to point out the discrepancy as she was expecting a patriotic treat.
I brought this to the attention of the vendor, and her immediate response was a bit condescending, “Are you serious?” With my disappointed daughter at my side, I stated the obvious. The colors on the popsicle did not match the description and picture on the chalkboard sign.
The vendor then launched into an explanation on the nutritional value of the popsicle – its organic ingredients, and the special “green” process that left a small carbon footprint. I received a three-dollar Ph.D. in organic popsicle-making when all I really wanted was a simple patriotic treat for my girl, just as the ad promised.
Hoping for a positive answer, the popsicle vendor looked down at my daughter and asked, “Hey, sweetie, how does your popsicle taste?” Without hesitation, she replied, “Not very good. Can I get something else?”
So, there it was. All the technical knowledge in the world and the vendor couldn’t change the fact that this seven-year-old wasn’t buying it.
My point: Much like my daughter, your prospects do not care how advanced your process may be, until they know it’s going to meet their needs and expectations.
In fact, I see this quite a bit with salespeople. They show off their knowledge on the subject matter even when it doesn’t align with the prospect’s needs. It’s a symptom of technology arrogance, meaning, it’s much easier to dominate a conversation with tech-savvy dissertations because there’s less risk in it for you. You’re defaulting to a crutch and pursuing acceptance from the prospect, rather than risking a “gutsy” question that will help you better understand your prospect’s point of view.
In this case, the popsicle vendor knew everything there was to know about making organic popsicles and was passionate about every facet of her product, which was a good thing. But ultimately, she did not take the time to understand what my daughter was expecting and therefore was not adept at selling them.
Do you spend all your time pounding your chest about your technology, service and product benefits? If you do, who’s listening? I know a seven-year-old who isn’t.