I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He was a relatively new friend, one that I had met recently, in a bowling alley of all places. It was one of those big places that has several lanes, a bunch of pool tables, a full-blown sports bar, and a group of karaoke boxes in the back. Here when you go and sing karaoke, you don’t sing in a big room in front of strangers, you hire a private room so that you and your friends can drink and belt out tunes to your hearts content without worrying about being judges by others.
It’s interesting when you think of all the bowling alleys you can go to. Some are set up just as bowling alleys, some are set up like the one I went to above, or before, where you can get many entertainment needs met in the same place. If you go with a big group of people, you don’t all have to hang out together. You can break off into smaller groups and kind of do your own thing, and still be together in the same place. It’s interesting when you think of how many ways there are to satisfy different levels of criteria.
So my friend was telling me about his consultant he’d hired to help him start his business. He has several different products, related of course, and he needed help to figure out how to sell them as effectively as possible. This is a lot harder than you think, because when you are a business, and you hire a business consultant to help you sell as much as your product as you can, the business consultant is doing the same thing. His job, as a business consultant is to sell his consulting services to as many people as he can. And most people don’t have look very far back in your experience to find people selling stuff that is more in there best interest than your best interest.
But this particular consultant came highly recommended by many people, so he was fairly confident he was going to get his moneys worth. The consultant told him that when he attempted to sell his product, the idea was to elicit as much as the customers criteria as possible. That way, he could easily show how his product was a good match to fit the customer’s criteria. When you fit your product to your customer’s criteria, it is almost certain that a large percentage of them will buy your product.
Of course, this isn’t quite as easy as it can seem. Because many people aren’t even aware of their own criteria, getting it out of them can be tricky. This is where some really good non-confrontational conversational sales skills can come in handy. Of course if you are selling cars, and somebody knows they want a red car, it’s fairly easy. When you are selling something harder to pin down, like landscaping services or estate planning, this can be a bit more difficult.
It’s like another friend I had. She is getting close to thirty years old, and around this part of the world, if you are female and thirty and not married, that can carry quite a negative social stigma with it. So of course she took some steps to make sure that didn’t happen to her. Nobody wants to have a negative social stigma. So she went to a relationship counselor. And the first thing she asked her was what was important to her in mate. She had never really thought of this before, so she didn’t really know how to answer. It took several sessions with her coach to final flush out all of the things she thought were important.
Her coach had her put them in three different categories. Must haves, Like to have’s, and must not haves, or deal breakers. When she had her list set up like that, it became much easier to go out and meet people. She said a really interesting thing happened when she developed her list of criteria. Before, whenever she went out into a social situation, she was pretty shy, because she always thought people were judging her. But as soon as he developed her mental list, she felt a lot more power and control whenever she found herself in a conversation with somebody. It was as if guys were unconsciously trying to qualify themselves to her, to fit her list, even though she never overtly communicated it.
That was several weeks ago, and I’m guessing, since I haven’t heard from her she’s doing pretty well.
And my friend that had hired the business consult said that as a result, his sales were slowly increasing, and he is really starting to get excited about his future.