How Sales Pitches Can Kill Customer Experiences
Your sales pitch could be hurting your customer’s engagement and experience. No, really, take a look at the chart above. Do you see the downward sloping trend during seconds one and two? That’s actually the representation of your prospect’s dying interest in your product – in other words, the decline of their natural response. What’s worse, is that it’s actually the sales rep’s fault.
Don’t take my word for it, this is scientifically proven by Elliot Hedman’s thesis while working at MIT’s Media Lab. He started a design consultancy called mPathy that has been molding emotions “from the excitement of using Google, to audience engagement of the Blue Man Group, to customer’s confidence at Lowe’s Home Improvement, to the anxiety of children with Autism in therapy.” Wired explains how they do this in their article How Sensors That Test Our Stress Could Revolutionize Product Design:
“The idea is to uncover the tiny, often imperceptible emotional moments that shape our reaction to products and experiences. If a company was testing a new vacuum cleaner, for instance, the sensors could help pinpoint precisely when a test subject became frustrated with its design.”
Measuring the Customer Experience
Well, this could certainly help revolutionize the sales process and how we as sales reps work from day to day. The chart above is the first example. It shows what happens when a sales rep interrupts a customer’s exploratory process by giving a sales pitch. Sensors pick up minute reaction, or lack of reaction, when someone engages in a sales pitch. The downward trending reaction basically shows how the interaction kills the level of interest over a 1 minute period. This is why an actual consultative conversation is much more valuable than regurgitating a death-inducing sales pitch. Frightening isn’t it… to think about how many sales reps are running around killing customer experiences today.
Think about school – how much do you actually remember when your professor just talks at you. Now compare that to the experience and how much you remember when you’re engaged in a conversation. The other problem is that you don’t actually learn anything about your prospect while you’re giving your pitch or demo. That’s why the dynamic needs to change and should be conversational. To do this, you either need to have all the knowledge in your head or be able to find the right knowledge incredibly fast.
Time to De-Stress
Interestingly, searching for the right collateral is not only a pain in the ass, but also contributes to stress. The chart above shows the stress levels of a kid trying to find the right LEGO pieces. You’ll notice the spikes in stress. If you’re more stressed, then it’s likely that stress will rub off in your conversations. The same way people pick up on how passionate you are about something by the subtleties in the intonation of your voice. But, let’s be honest, it can be a nightmare finding the right piece of marketing collateral to send. I don’t have the time for it. The biggest problem is that we don’t see how this indirectly impacts our customers.
The lesson in this example is that you can reduce stress by reducing search time. The best VP of Sales that I’ve worked with not only help you get better at what you do, they help you reduce stress. Reducing stress equals happier employees. Happier employees = happier customers.
People hate being sold to, so stop pitching! Especially, if you haven’t figure out whether they’re even ready to buy yet. It just ruins the experience. Period. And, If you’re a sales manager, you can improve your customer’s experience by reducing your sales reps’ stress.
Alex is a sales leader & technology enthusiast in Boston who specializes in building sales at early stage startups. He was the 1st sales rep at Acquia, which became one of the fastest growing software companies in the US. At Acquia, he helped define the initial sales process and then moved to England to expand the sales team internationally for two years. Alex recently returned from a 1.5 year sabbatical traveling around the world, and currently works at Outlearn. You can follow him on Twitter or Medium.
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