I took a limo from my hotel to Dallas airport this week.  It wasn’t because I have a wad of cash to throw around. I just blew my budget on the conference. 

But rather, I was informed by the hotel concierge that over 7,000 Mary Kay reps are in town and have used up all available taxis. Impressive!  I guess they left their pink Cadillacs at home.

So he offered me the privilege of a limo for the price of a taxi.

I was picked up right on time by the limo service owner himself, and we started chatting on our way to the airport. I loved talking to taxi (and limo) drivers because they always seem to know the best place to eat and the best place to go.  They have their ears and pulse on the city—wherever I go.

The driver, named Abdullah, asked me what I do for a living, and I said, “I am a sales trainer. I train salespeople how to sell without being pushy.”

“Perfect!  You should teach car salespeople how to sell!” he exclaimed.

Then he proceeded to tell me how a pushy salesman lost a big sale. His story went something like this: He went into a GM dealership with the intention of buying six luxury SUVs for his business.   He knew what he wanted. He spent months researching and needed to see the cars and test them.  But as soon as he walked into the dealership, the salesman was onto him. He was “breathing on my neck,” he said, “telling me all kinds of specs I didn’t care about.”  So Mr. Abdullah left the shop in a hurry.

“He treated me like a moron—someone who knew nothing about cars.  I am a businessman who researches what I need before I go shopping.  All I wanted him to do was help me—not sell to me,” he said.

So he went to another dealership.  He told me how he purchased his six Lincoln Navigators from this one dealership!

Ouch!

I felt sorry for that person who lost a BIG commission. That’s a month worth of commission in one sales transaction.

“I walked in, and the salesman came to greet me and he said: ‘all our best cars are here in our showroom.  Take time to check them out, get to know them, and if you need to take one of them for a spin, I am right here to hand you the key.’ That’s it, and I was left alone.  After that, I told him what I wanted, and the price I wanted to pay. He helped me get what I wanted.  I left the shop a very happy man.”

Sounds like a beautiful, calm, and very professional kind of transition.

Truth is, we make more sales not trying too hard. This reminds me of a quote from a guy named Gary Halbert who said: “you can sell more by not selling”.

What’s the moral of the story here?

First assess, then ask questions to fully understand what the prospective buyer is after.  What matters to them and prepare to really listen.  Because what you THINK may not be what they are after.

Never assumed. Once you understand what they are looking for, then, only then can you make suggestions. Jump all over them with your overly enthusiastic persona, and you’ll overwhelm them.

Our eagerness to help people as soon as they appear is our biggest fault and cause of failed sales.