What Yoda Can Teach You About Being An Effective Salesman
According to Caliper Corp, “More than half (55%) of people making their living in sales lack sufficient empathy . . . to ever succeed.” Empathy requires you to be humble enough to put others needs ahead of your own and to walk a mile in their shoes. The very best salesmen listen to their customers before making a sales pitch. They don’t assume they know what is best for the customer; they let the customer tell them what they are looking for. After they have listened to the customer, they present the best options and then let the customer make their own choice. They facilitate the decision, but don’t force it.
It’s time for the business world to embrace what geeks already know: gets it Yoda does. There is no problem that Yoda could not unravel with a few thoughtful words. He cuts through all of the pretense, politics, and status quo to deliver poster-worthy fare.
So what wisdom does Master Yoda have for those in the fields of business and sales? After all, he is a 900-year-old, 3-foot-tall arthritic puppet. He couldn’t possibly have anything useful to say about business or sales. Well ladies and gentleman, members of the board, prepare to eat crow—or whatever they serve on Dagobah.
Lesson 1: Judge Not
Yoda has so many great quotes; it is hard to choose just one. I will start with one of my favorite Yoda-isms, and probably one of his most-quoted lessons.
Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?
Yoda is reminding us to look past the superficial and to avoid the trap of judging a book by its cover. This is a common mistake in the business world, particularly in sales. Making such judgments in sales situations almost always results in a lost sale.
Let’s look at an example. Right around the time that his business finally started to take off, a successful CEO went to a Mercedes dealership to buy a new car. He was deceptively young-looking, and this seemed to be the first (and only) thing the salesmen noticed. They treated him based on their assumption that he was too young and could not possibly afford such a prestigious, expensive car. So the CEO left and continued to the next Mercedes dealership.
At the next dealership, the CEO was treated with respect and without judgment. He paid cash for a car that was worth almost $100,000. After purchasing the car at the second dealership, he drove past the first dealership on his way home. He wanted to let them know that their snap judgment had been incorrect and had cost them a very nice sale.
As you can see, the problem with making assumptions is that they are usually based on our own emotions, perceptions, or fears rather. Don’t assume that you know what a customer wants, what they can afford, or what their objections might be. Ask a few questions, and then let the customer tell you what they want, and how much they are willing to pay. Tweet This Code
Lesson 2: Be Humble
The second lesson to be learned from Yoda is found not in something he said, but something he did. We all know how awesome it was when Yoda finally lost the cane and let his light saber do the talking. We all knew he had it in him, and when he finally let loose, there was not a Star Wars fan alive who did not want to shout for joy. It was epic!
But Yoda never once said anything about his awesome powers or threatened anyone just because he knew he could take them in hand-to-hand combat. Yoda was humble.
Remember to be humble in your business dealings. Pride will get you nowhere in business; the minute you let pride convince you that you are better than someone else is the minute you become a part of the problem instead of the solution. It stops being about your client’s needs and starts being all about yours; if that happens, they will take their dollars and business to someone else.