Sales Tip Week: Part One – No One Cares

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“No one cares about you or your story, unless you can make it about them and their story.”

–  Steve Heston, in a fundamental truth of the Heston Group Sales Training System

Look, they just don’t.  Sure, occasionally, we’ll catch a break and have an early-blossoming with a prospect or client who invests in who we are.  But, ultimately, they don’t care that we can get on to ________ Golf Club, that we have tickets to The Book of Mormon.  They don’t care that our manufacturing process is more efficient, that our procurement team gets better prices on raw materials or that our engineers are certified in 27 different disciplines of Lean or whatever other certification-flavor-of-the day is hot.

They care about themselves.  And about their stories.

The “pitch” is dead.  The “tell to sell” approach hasn’t made sense for almost 25 years, and now, more than ever, connecting with the person on the other side of the deal, and with their story really matters.

So, what do we do?

  1. Ask questions, in a ratio of about 5:1 to every point that’s important to us.
  2. Do research in advance of the meeting.  Know, understand and connect the dots to inform the questions you will ask.
  3. Find a way to be genuinely curious about the business, the person / people in the business and their collective story — “I see in 2002, you announced ________.  How did that feel for your team?  For you customers?  What impact has that had on your job over the last 19 years?”
  4. Defer opportunities to tell about you and what you do.  “Hey, thanks for asking about the new ABC Corp consulting method.  If it’s ok with you, I’d like to validate a few more things about your company before I try to wedge our story into the conversation.”

No one cares about you or your story, until they do.  And when they do, the game has changed forever for the better.

Much is said about seeking a “win-win” set of outcomes.  Until common interest is established, whether or not we win won’t matter to the person to whom we’re trying to sell.


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