The Three Legged Table of Selling
When I look at a problem, I look for an analog solution. A table cannot stand without a minimum of three legs, four is overkill, but three is mandatory.
(I know, I know, some Smarties will email me and tell me there are tables with one leg, so let’s not start talking about the surface area and displacement — let’s focus on the metaphor of the legs holding up a table.)
When you think of the shape of a circular table it is the most inclusive shape for a meeting, everyone can see everyone and a conversation can easily be intercepted or shared.
So, I prefer to think of my solutions, specifically selling, like building a three-legged circular table.
Leg 1: Connection (The “Tilt,” can’t sell without it)
I call it the “tilt.” When I first meet someone, I love making a connection. I find any way I can make a connection with a person with a simple two step process, ask a question and listen.
Leg 2: Communication (Listen like your life depends on it)
I know we have all heard it a million times, but you have to close your mouth to hear. The trick to listening is simple, I close my mouth and look at the eyes of the person, and I don’t talk and don’t think ahead — I just listen.
Leg 3: Candor (Transparency via information)
Be concise and transparent. “Hi Client-x, I can’t lower the price because this is a premium product and a great solution for you. I can also support the service where I can’t guarantee the other party can.”
The solution is to drive value by sharing as much information as possible and help your client make the best decision, even if it means you may not get the sale. Your client will respect you for being transparent, and in the end, you will win their trust and potentially their business. Remember, we want to build a relationship with the Client and help make the best decision possible.
Table Top (where trust is transferred):
Similar to IKEA furniture (except without the goofy directions), when you are selling, you are assembling the table one leg at a time. The first leg, connection, then communication, and then candor. You cannot reverse the order above and still make the sell; it has to be in that order.
Lastly, the final piece of the assembly is the table top — this is where trust is transferred, and the relationship resides. Look at the sales you have won and the sales you have lost and if you had a sturdy table with three legs or were you missing a leg or two — because it does not come down to price but rather trust.