“If I remember correctly, and I might not have so make sure you tell me, you are getting further and further behind on shipping because your packaging equipment can’t handle your increased business?” Melinda looked around the table to see if there was any reaction to her statement. Four of the seven seemed to be listening, but that was not good enough for her. “Did I get this wrong? Mark, Linda, Ted . . . you don’t seem to agree; did I get this wrong?”
“Oh,” said Linda, “we don’t disagree at all. It’s just that the three of us aren’t in the shipping department. Our problem is worse.” “That’s right,” said Ted cutting in, “the salespeople are ready to kill us because we can’t bill clients until the units are received. The salespeople don’t receive commission until product is delivered.”
“If I understand it, then,” said Melinda, “the lack of the right packaging equipment has the salespeople ready to mutiny and run amok beheading people back here in the office?” Laughing, Mark responded. “Well, I don’t know about beheading, they probably would burn us at the stake.” His voice turned serious. “The morale problem in sales is horrendous. Now that you mention it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the better ones haven’t dusted off their resumes.” Linda glared at Mark for a moment. He responded to the look by stating, “It is that bad ... we all know it. Melinda is perceptive enough to recognize just how bad the problems are.”
“I appreciate the compliment, Mark,” responded Melinda, “what do you folks want to do next?” Cathy, the person who was the head of the purchasing committee, looked around the table at each person. “Melinda, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that our problems here are getting more and more serious every day. Literally, every day. We don’t have weeks to solve this mess. We have only days.” She looked to see if anyone disagreed and was met with heads nodding in agreement. “The other folks who have been in are nice, make good presentations but don’t seem to understand how desperate this situation has become. I think we all feel you really understand how bad it is. We want to work with you starting now. Tell us what you need right now to get things going.”
Melinda made a presentation. Did you or the prospects see it?
We’ve all had the experience of giving a presentation that was so encompassing and thorough, that there was no way the prospect couldn’t fall down and sign on the dotted line.
“How did it go?” you were asked back at the office. Thumbs up. It’s in the bag. They’re letting the other poor bastard go through his presentation just for show. He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell. Nailed this one to the barn door. All systems go! Usually, about three or four days later, when you haven’t heard anything, you get the phone call. Sorry, they went with the other poor bastard who didn’t have a chance. You try to pump your contact for what happened and hear some mumbles about the committee feeling his solution was more in line with their needs.
What went wrong? ... You did a presentation; the other fellow solved the pain. Think of a doctor for a moment. You go to him with a broken arm with an arm bone sticking out of your skin. You are, without any doubt, in serious pain. Will you stick around if he starts asking you how long have you had this condition? At that point, do you really care how long he has been a doctor? Do you want to wait while his nurse weighs you? Do you care at all about his other broken arm stories? What is the only thing you care about?
“Fix the arm! Now!” After your arm is fixed, will you remember how the doctor fixed it or remember that he is the one who made the pain go away?
The prospect is in the same situation. Give him a solution to his pain and then shut up.
Before you give your pain solution, remind those present what pain you are solving. Ask for them to confirm this is the terrible pain they need solved. If it is, proceed to tell them how you can take the pain away. Ask if the pain is gone with this solution. If it is, ask them what they want to do. Then shut up.
People, whether individually or in groups, who are in pain, will only remember that during your presence, their pain eased almost to the point of ending. When you ask them what they want to do, you are in effect asking them if they want the pain to come back. Most people don’t consciously seek to be in pain.
People in pain want relief; don’t get in their way of getting relief.