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Geez Dude! Read the Room Already!

My colleagues call it “WAIT” or “Why Am I Talking?” I call it – being in your head and not paying attention to who is in front of you. Ok, their name is better.

Case in point: My friend Kristy and I went to a Farmer’s Market recently and a vendor who was selling his family’s pasta and Italian sauce dove into his story about his acumen and history as a chef, his grandma’s recipe, his family, which region of Italy they came from, the quality of the ingredients…

Are you tired yet? We were.

He didn’t notice that both Kristy and I had questions. First, neither of us can eat gluten. So, spending time telling us about your pasta is not helpful.

Second – Kristy cannot have cream – so if she can’t look at the jar you are holding onto so tightly – no sale.

The point is, his story was SO well rehearsed and given SO many times, that it really didn’t matter who was standing in front of him – if anyone at all! We were the people he was trying to sell to and we did not matter!

Now, don’t get me wrong – I teach storytelling for sales and having a story to tell, understanding its structure and how it works in the sales process is vital. So is rehearsing it! However, the goal of the story is to be engaging and gear the story to the needs of the person to whom you are speaking. If you are on auto-pilot, that’s the opposite of engaging. That’s just, well, kind of rude.

About six years ago, I walked into a Volkswagon dealership and drove a “pre-owned” wagon. The twenty-something sales rep did his very well-rehearsed hard-sell spiel. I wasn’t impressed. I bought the Subaru from the dealer up the street.

When the sales rep called the next morning to see if he could seal the deal, I said to him, “Just an FYI – you weren’t listening to me when I said I was concerned about this, this, and that. Did you notice?”

“No,” he replied. “It’s what I’ve been told to do.”

“I understand,” I said. “But not everyone wants to have a hard sales pitch. Some people just want to drive the car and let it speak for itself and the harder you pitch, the more it turns people off.”



Remember – the audience you are selling to needs to feel like they matter. Otherwise – why would they buy?

Given a choice, would you?

Once the pasta/sauce guy stopped talking and we could ask questions, Kristy bought a few items. But his spiel took so long we both kind of resented the fact that it made us late for our next destination.

Think of it this way, would a good buying experience make you want to come back?

I was at a different Farmer’s Market yesterday and he was there. I refused to stop.

“Really?” You may be asking yourself.

Yes, really. I walked right by as fast as I could.

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