The genius behind never logging into the software I was selling

When I started as a sales rep at Air2Web, being a salesperson with a fairly technical background, I immediately asked for a login into the software so I could start playing around and learning the software.  My boss told me that I would not receive, nor would I EVER receive a login into our software.

His reasoning?  If I started to go into the software, I would focus on HOW the software could do certain things and IF the software could do certain things in a certain way – rather than focusing my sales activities on finding the right customers and identifying their pain.

Granted, I had a sales engineer who would make sure that the things I was selling were actually possible in the software, but this tactic of my manager’s was a major stroke of genius.  In the 18 months that I was there, I was very focused on making sure I could find value for the customers.  I had enough of an understanding of what was possible in the software to make a lot of sales, but what I didn’t get concerned about was whether the way they wanted to do it was difficult or time-consuming, I only worried about selling on the basis of the value it brought the customer.

I believe that when a salesperson gets too deep into the workings of the software, he/she puts an imagined obstacle in front of themselves when they know that something the customer wants to do is not easy to do in the software, or doesn’t work 100% the way the customer is used to or accustomed to.  When I didn’t have a detailed understanding of how the software did certain things, I was forced to keep my sales conversations around what the software did for the customer in terms of their business improvement, and marketing goals, rather than focusing on how the software would accomplish their goals in detail.  Those details were handled by the sales engineer – and usually by that point, I had convinced the customer so much on the VALUE of the software, that the WAY it did it didn’t matter – even if it wasn’t exactly the way they would have wanted it.

It very easy for a salesperson to fall back on a demo, or discuss features, rather than to stay focused on the software big picture – which is the REAL reason that anyone will buy it.

This is the genius in never letting a salesperson log into the software.

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