How Selling is Just Like Driving a Car

selling like drivingMy last 7 cars have all been luxury foreign makes including Lexus, BMW and Jaguar.  On a recent trip, my rental car was a brand new Dodge Challenger.  It looked nice enough, and drove OK until I merged onto the highway, where the first of the major differences, and the topic of this article, became obvious.  When I’m on the highway in my Lexus, I don’t have to do much more than point the car in the direction I want to drive, and the car holds the road and goes where I pointed it.  In the Challenger, when I pointed the car in my preferred direction, it wandered quite a bit and I was constantly adjusting the steering wheel.

The Lexus is like an account management role in that it’s nice, does what is asked, and doesn’t offer up any resistance.  The Challenger is more like consultative selling where you set your destination, attempt to navigate from point A to point B and make constant adjustments as you proceed.  The car disagrees, provides some resistance, and continues to ramble and go off track.  You ask it to do one thing and it does another.

If you can make the adjustments when you are driving, then you should be able to make similar adjustments when you are selling.  Those adjustments, in no particular order, include being sure that:

  • you don’t have “happy ears”,
  • your prospects answer the questions you ask and not a question you didn’t ask,
  • you don’t skip ahead to another stage of the sales process,
  • you ask if the conversation was productive for your prospect,
  • you prevent your prospect from rambling and
  • you ask if the problems or opportunities you learned about are compelling.
You always manage to get your car where you want it to go, even when you have to manage the steering.  Manage the steering of your sales call by keeping the resistance low, making very small adjustments to the conversation as you go, applying the brakes if you or your prospect is moving too fast, and shifting into reverse if you find yourself deeper into the sales process than you should be.