Bank ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) have been around for a while. According to Investopedia, Barclays Bank of London in 1967 was the first to have an ATM in use. I remember using my first ATM – Jeanie Machine – in Cincinnati in 1979. But the ‘ATMs’ I’m referring to have been around, well a long, long, long time.
I’m talking about ‘Automatic Talking Machines’ – also known as salespeople. This bothersome but necessary part of every economy has been in use since trade began over 15,000 years ago. You may remember a cartoon of a general with a sword telling his staff that he doesn’t have time to talk to a “pesky salesperson” (who was selling a gatling gun). He had a battle to fight. And so, that is the story of salespeople and selling. Salespeople are defined as being pesky, and potential buyers are always too busy. But to my point…
So why do I call them ATMs? Well, because they operate in pretty much the same way. When using a banking ATM, you provide a code, and the ATM gives you money.
A suspect, prospect, or potential buyer provides one of many codes to get salespeople to give them information, and salespeople just start talking. Automatic Talking Machines. Don’t believe me? Give it a try with your sales team in your next one-on-one coaching session or sales meeting. Here are some of the codes that prospects use and you can use them to test your ATMS:
- Why should I do business with you?
- What makes your company different?
- How much does it cost?
- Your competitor is cheaper, I can get it for less?
- What happens if I want to exchange for a different…?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have any references I can call?
- Tell me about your product and how it could help me?
- What is the service model? Does it have a guarantee?
- What is your unfair advantage against your competitors?
- Why should I change companies?
I promise you most of your sales team will start talking with an answer to the question. You can expect perhaps 10% to 15% of your salespeople to not give up the information. So, with a team of 40 or so about 5 of your people will respond ‘better.’
‘Better’ is anything that is like: “That’s a great question. Before I get into that can I ask you something?” If your salespeople are not taking control of the conversation by asking a question, then you have ATMs.
Give a shot!