One of the analogies I probably wear out is comparing bad salespeople to the kids selling ads for school yearbooks.
At several times in my career, I was in charge of the marketing for local small businesses. In each job, I would get a call (sometimes a visit) each year from a member of the local middle or high school yearbook staff. The exchange would normally go something like this:
Them: (mumble) Wanna buy a yearbook ad?
Aside from the fact that yearbook ads are not marketing (they’re donations), I may have entertained the idea of buying “an ad” if the kid had prepared SOME sort of sales presentation that focused on my marketing needs. You know, something like: the ad will be seen by parents who are your customers, people will see these ads in 20 years, etc. Anything in additon to just asking.
These days I hear lots of salespeople say, “I asked them if they wanted to buy _____ and they said no.”
If your sales pitch is just asking, you’re missing alot of potential sales.
(There’s also the problem of salespeople who just talk to the customer and never ASK for the sale — but that’s another post)
If you’re just asking people to buy, then you’re not a salesperson. You’re a beggar. It’s a small distinction, but an important one.
Most of this problem (and most sales problems) can be traced back to the salesperson’s motivation. Are they wanting to make a sale or are they trying to solve the customer’s problem?
People just trying to make a sale do make a few (the yearbook always has ads in it) — but problem solvers are always successful salespeople.