You never let me finish my point!!

This is a complaint I have heard a few times from the sales guy in one of the companies I am involved with. But this time I thought I will do some digging into it.

Here is some context.  We routinely do role playing in the company before a sales meeting with a new prospect.  We were discussing a particular sales opportunity and we were playing roles – me being the prospect and him trying to sell me on the value proposition. A good demo and compelling value proposition tailored to that prospect and there was a reasonable chance of clinching that deal.

As he started his narrative – there were a couple of instances where the sales guy was interrupted by my abrupt interjection.  As is my wont, it took only a few minutes for me to jump in and hijack the discussion. He complained “You never let me

my point”.

Part of it was attributable to my Attention Deficit and part of it was the problem with the sales guy. As I started analyzing the issue, I settled on two things that were happening

  1. The sales guy was going on and on about something and if he had lost me then there was high likelihood he will have lost the prospect as well. Being succinct is the imperative. In my opinion, a sales person should be speaking the least in any meeting. They are supposed to be letting others speak and listening. And if the discussion is stuck at some point then they provide the nudge to take it forward. A talkative person, although common, makes not a good sales person. Anything beyond 20-80% split of salesperson-customer speaking time is detrimental for the salesperson’s success.
  2. As I was pretending to be the busy VP of Operations in this company, the engineer in me (ADD and all) could not  wait to hear the crux of what the offering was. Despite seeing my restlessness, the sales guy was “beating-around-the-bush” and not getting to the point. My patience was dwindling and that manifested itself in frequent interjections.

Out of this analysis, I figured out a novel way of ironing out the chinks in our pitch. Pair up an engineer and a sales guy for each pre-sales call rehearsal. It serves multiple purposes – the engineer gains an appreciation for the challenges sales faces in different situations and the engineer in return serves as the bullshit filter on the sales pitches.

What do you guys think?

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