The other night I was internet surfing. Sometimes I just dig around and look for any video or story that’s interesting, educational or just weird. I stumbled across a quote that I had to read about four times. Not that it was unclear in its meaning, but I was stunned as it really defined my feelings of the day.
The quote was from actor and comedian, Ricky Gervais, who said, “When you’re dead, you don’t know you’re dead. The pain is only felt by others. The same thing happens when you’re stupid.” Have you ever had the feeling that we are totally surrounded by stupidity? From politicians and celebrities to anyone in our general population there seems to be an extreme over-abundance of stupid. I’m not talking about things like eating with your mouth open or picking your nose at the dinner table. I’m talking about smart people who aren’t smart enough to adapt to change.
Just so I don’t get on a very long rant on stupidity, let me focus these comments on stupidity as it applies to salespeople and business. Our world is changing faster today than in any other time in the history of our planet. With the continuing advances of technology, it is absolutely imperative that we also change. If you’re in business and sales, you must understand and adapt to this change. We must adapt to new business practices and how this has changed consumer habits.
If you don’t learn, adapt and change today, you’ll be without a job, broke and stupid.
Here are just a few ways to be stupid if you’re marketing in today’s digital markets. You will waste time and money and jeopardize the success of your business if….
- You Don’t do your research! The last thing a prospect wants to hear is a salesman asking, “So tell me about your business!” That old line screams that you’re lazy and stupid. If you’ve done your work, you would have already looked at online profiles, and checked the prospects web site to gather this information. If you ever want a prospect to be a client, do your homework the day before and treat your first meeting, like a second meeting. Respect your prospects time by not wasting it with questions that you should already know the answer to.
- You Don’t Pay Attention. I recently had a salesperson come in for an appointment. He had done his research and began the meeting by asking me a very smart and thoughtful question. I told myself, that this was a guy that I would like to work with…. until he began to check his email while I was answering him. I couldn’t believe it. He would look up from time to time and say, “That’s interesting, keep going, I’m listening,” as he was two fingers typing a text to who know who. For me any hopes of working with this person flew out the window, but I had a little time so I wanted to see how much more ridiculous this could get. He finished typing and laid his phone down. However, every time it would vibrate, he grabbed it and responded to it three more times in the hour. Stupid!
- You Don’t Ask Questions. I’ve mentioned this in other articles but the dumbest habit that anyone selling anything can have today is to base an entire sales presentation on TELLING the prospect all the reasons why they should buy from them. Because of our incredible access to information, prospects usually know exactly what their needs are. They’ve done their research. They don’t need someone who is “grocery list” selling. That is telling all they things that they offer hoping that the prospect will hear something they like. Today they don’t want to be told what they need because they don’t have to be told. They know. So, the salespeople and businesspeople who win today, and win big, are those who come in and ASK the prospect what they need first, and then and only the do they tell of their products and services that fit their prospects needs. Today, prospects expect you to be a great listener first, and if you don’t, they won’t buy. Period.
- You Don’t learn. Some people make being stupid and doing stupid things an art. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you do something stupid, learn from it and change what you’re doing and how you do it. Adapt and change and learn, this is the key. And, it’s not a new concept. Socrates said a long time ago, “Smart people learn from everything and everyone. Average people learn from their experiences. Stupid people already have all the answers.