Do You Have Happy Ears?

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Most of us would agree that a salesperson has to be enthusiastic. But unfortunately, too many are enthusiastic only about their product and nothing else!
Optimistic is another adjective used to describe good salespeople. Unfortunately, there are also consequences when salespeople are being overly optimistic

The consequences in both cases, are the ones most companies don’t see until it’s too late.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

The consequences

Here’s a great comment from sales guru Mark McInnes on what can happen if you are over-enthusiastic and over-optimistic:

“Do you or your team have “HAPPY EARS”? 

Salespeople are often quite optimistic in nature. This can help us to remain resilient in the face of rejection. It can also cloud our judgement. 
Happy ears are what salespeople have when we believe almost every interaction is going to move to a successful transaction. We tend to only hear what we want to hear, or even what we HOPE to hear, the reality is usually quite different. The challenge this creates is if we load our pipelines full of deals that will not close, we spend way too much time on deals with no INTENT. 

Remember just because someone is INTERESTED in you or your product doesn’t mean they have the INTENT to buy!”

Interest vs. intent

It’s an important skill to distinguish between interest and intent, and the failure to do this is why so many sales pipelines are artificially bloated with “opportunities” that are never likely to go anywhere.

Here’s why: 

1.    ‘Interesting’ needs will cause your prospects to start investigating their options
2.    ‘Important’ needs will cause them to evaluate short-listed solutions
3.    Only ‘critical’ needs will guarantee that they will buy

Sometimes ‘interesting’ or ‘important’ needs drive buying decisions. But only by uncovering ‘critical’ needs can you be sure that your prospect will do something.

How can we distinguish between interest and intent? One simple way is to ask what would happen if they decided to stick with the status quo. If their answer is “we could cope”, you’ve probably got to question their motivation or do something that will change it.
Sales managers

Every time your salespeople visit a customer, take the time to debrief the visit. Ask them questions about the customer’s fears and concerns. Ask them about the customer’s timeline, budget, willingness to move forward and if their needs are interesting, important or critical. 

Look for instances where the salesperson stumbles and is unable to provide pertinent information. It may be a sign that they aren’t listening to the customer or aren’t able to discover important clues.

Then check they don’t have “happy ears”.

Until next week good selling!


About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]