When I hung up the phone from an incoming sales call, I was exhausted.  The salesperson asked a number of predictable questions and when he thought he had determined what I needed, he presented a variety of different possibilities.  He told me about the corporate systems he delivered, recounted several actual cases studies to prove his process,  recommended that I sit in on a webinar, suggested that I sign up for their very informative newsletter and asked me to complete a questionnaire that would help identify where he could improve my situation.  I was flooded with information and ideas.  I mopped up the mess in my brain knowing he won’t be hearing from me any time soon.

Flood damage happens when you overwhelm your potential customer during the sales process.  Waves and waves of information mixed with all kinds of debris – too many ideas in an effort to move the process forward. 

Many sales professionals, particularly those who consider themselves Subject Matter Experts make this mistake on a daily basis.  With best intentions and in an effort to truly serve their clients they often get carried away.  Offering all the solutions they can muster making it challenging for anyone to make a decision.  They don’t even realize they are creating serious flood damage.  They are used to telling people everything about their products and services, forgetting that too much information can be detrimental.  They forget that most people can only absorb a certain amount of information in any point of time – five to seven things to be exact.

I remember the last time I went to purchase a new phone.  The flood of details about all the features and benefits of each of the phones they sold were explained in detail, and by the end of this draining process I was completely confused and didn’t know which factors to consider.  After all, I was simply looking for a phone with a few key features.  I left, feeling drenched and needing time to recover from the experience.  If the sales person had asked me what was important to me, he could have offered a solution that was more relevant instead of sending waves of information over me until I felt like I was drowning.  I had no idea what he was talking about and while it was obvious he knew a lot about his products, he certainly didn’t know how to present that information in a compelling way.  I floated downstream.

Customers look to you for help.  They rely on your expertise to help them make a buying decision that makes sense.  When you send of flood of information or waves of solutions you make it difficult, sometimes impossible, for the customer to breathe, let alone make a decision.  Keep your answers brief and to the point –gentle ripples not thundering waves.  Avoid giving too much information , too many answers or too many solutions.

The real pro’s ask “smart” questions, they determine specifically what the customer needs most and they take the time to learn (using their ears rather than their mouths).   Limit your suggestions to a thirst quenching drink, rather than a flood that sends the customer downstream.

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