The other week I was sat in my living room with a nice warm log fire. The fire was splurting out an overwhelming amount of heat. For those with a log burner, you will understand what I am saying. The allure of the fire to me though is not the heat. It is being able to lose yourself in the random licks of flame that decorated the burner and light the surrounding neutral but now alive walls.
On the television was The Apprentice. A show that brings me much pain and consternation to watch, but a reminder of some of the life left behind in the corporate space. The power politics. the need to succeed, and the need for everything to be fine when actually it is not.
This particular episode invited the teams to sell goods. One team had gone into a shop to sell their wares to the shopkeeper. Their sense of achievement went from elation to depression as they realised that they had made a fatal mistake. On closing the deal, they were faced with their miscomprehension that the ‘buyer’ had the authority to purchase from from. They closed the sale, and were asking for payment when the shopkeeper said that he had to get it cleared by the boss.
Over my many years of sales, and delivering sales training, I understand some of the basics that need to be remembered when ‘selling’ – so I can (hopefully) only assume that these talented bunch had merely forgotten to ask. three fundamental questions.
- Money – Does the person have the money to pay for your services or product?
- Authority – Does the person have the authority to act on buying your product?
- Need – Does the person have the need for your product or service?
The understanding of this tripartite relationship is critical in taking a product or service forward. We ask these questions to ensure we are dealing with the right person. If the outcomes of the answers given to these questions is not understood, then further work needs to be done until all three are satisfied.
As my fire started to burn down, so too did the success for that team. A simple, yet avoidable mistake that could have easily been avoided.