One of the Sales Axioms which I’ve always taught is the following:

“A confused person will never buy”

Yet, time after time, I witness sales reps who manage to garble, obfuscate, and alter their key sales messages to such an extent that potential buyers stay away in droves! Despite their best efforts, these sales reps managed to confuse their potential buyers so poorly that they were losing sales.

What, exactly, is clarity and how does it apply to the sales message? Read on…

How to Confuse your Prospect  

The opposite of Clarity is Confusion, so this deserves a quick review. There is a fine art to confusing your prospect, and some salespeople take years to master this skill! Here are the Top 10 reasons why prospects become confused:

1. They didn’t understand something. Whenever you use a term, especially a technical term, it must be defined simply and clearly. Otherwise, your prospect stops right there and can’t understand anything else you are saying.

2. They got interrupted. They were trying to say something, and the sales rep talked over them and overpowered them with their sales pitch. They weren’t listened to.

3. They were wondering what was your point? The sales rep didn’t clearly articulate WIFM (What’s in it for me) to the prospect.

4. They didn’t like your speed. Prospects are comfortable with people who talk about the same speed or volume as they do and they distrust people who are either too fast or too slow.

5. Too many product details. They’re not interested in volumes of technical data, but only how it benefits them in their position. Once again, WIFM.

6. They couldn’t understand. They want to see how it fits in their world. They need some stories, analogies, or illustrations to see what it means more clearly.

7. Didn’t get their question answered They asked a question, you didn’t really answer it, and so they felt ignored and left out. They weren’t important enough to be answered.

8. They felt stupid. You told them your product was easy to understand and everyone should want it, that it was a no-brainer. Since they still don’t want it, they apparently have no brains.

9. They weren’t a good fit. They weren’t qualified to begin with. You were trying to sell ice to Eskimos, and they just don’t need what you’re selling.

10. Their time was wasted. Even if they wanted your product, your sales presentation was so poor that they just wanted to get away. Ever sat through a really BORING speech? How did you feel?

Clarity of Vision  

Great salespeople take the time to fully understand their product or service. They must possess a superior level of understanding of their product in order to be able to sell it. Studies into retention rates (*Motorola University: Creating Mind ware for the 21st Century, 1996) have demonstrated that in order to teach a subject well, you must have over 80% retention rate of the material, and I believe salespeople need an even greater retention rate.

To be great, you must master the product knowledge especially when it comes to Benefits and Value. Every product Feature has corresponding benefit(s) and value(s), and these must be understood with crystal clarity. For this, I always recommend a Features-Benefits-Value workshop be completed as part of the incoming sales training. From this, the new rep will glean a greater appreciation for the VALUE of their product/service, and why it is important to their prospects. They will also eliminate their own confusions, so they will no longer clutter up the sales presentation.

Once the value proposition is clearly defined, it is time to envision it. This is what differentiates the real pros from the amateurs. This requires mental discipline. This is where you begin to see in your mind’s eye your ideal prospect, using your product or service, happily receiving the benefit. This is where you see the smiles on their faces, their increased productivity, their satisfaction, their appreciation.

If they were buying a car, see them driving it with a great big smile. If they’re buying a house, see them moving in with their happy family. See the positive benefits and value, to them, of their purchase. Whatever they are buying, envision them being successful, happy, satisfied, content.

The more you can make the vision come alive, with clarity, the closer it will come to reality. George Lucas, famous film producer (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) had these words to say on the topic: “You can’t do it if you can’t imagine it.” To your success!