I had a big meeting with a prospective client at 8:30. I was ecstatic because it had taken me forever to get this meeting set up. My initial contact had been months before, but my persistence finally paid off.
Now, with the way things were going, it would take a miracle to get there on time. I turned on the radio and tuned into the station that gave the most frequent traffic updates. If there were more traffic problems ahead, I needed to know right away so I could switch to an alternate route.
They were just starting to give the latest congestion alert when suddenly the announcer broke in.
"Ladies and gentlemen. We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming this morning to bring you some breaking news from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia."
I didn't need to hear any health alerts. I needed to know where the traffic problems were. I quickly switched to another station. And another. And then another.
It looked like I didn't have a choice. They were all talking about the same thing. I decided I'd better pay attention.
* * *
"This disease, Featurus Vomititus, has now reached epidemic proportions and appears to be out of control," said the reporter. "In my conversations with specialists here at the CDC, here's what I've learned:
• Nearly 90% of the sales population has been afflicted with this highly contagious disease.
• Anyone who sells their services to earn a living (like professional services providers, business owner and consultants) can come down with a serious case within minutes of making a sales call.
• The most visible symptom of Featurus Vomititus is a forceful spewing from the mouth of service descriptors. Those who have the disease seem totally unable to stop themselves from doing this, despite the negative consequences on their sales efforts.
• This volatile behavior is triggered by the presence of a catalytic agent, more commonly described as a prospective client.
• Other symptoms include a leaning forward, over-the-desk posture which appears "aggressive" to people talking with the afflicted.
• Those sellers suffering from Featurus Vomititus report an overwhelming and compulsive desire to show marketing collateral to their prospects.
• Finally, all these symptoms are grossly magnified if the company they work for carries the dominant Nu-Productum Rapturous gene. This genetic condition creates a state of organizational euphoria and delirium brought on by the introduction of a long-awaited new product or service.
"Interestingly enough, most of those who suffer from this debilitating disease are totally unaware that they have it. For some strange reason, Featurus Vomititus is able to convince the brain that this behavior is totally normal for people who sell.
"Prospective customers seem to have an uncanny ability to immediately detect if a salesperson is a carrier. Most can even detect its presence over phone lines, which protects them from scheduling meetings where they'll be subject to the verbal barrage.
"In the off chance that a disease carrier slips through their gatekeeping, prospective customers arm themselves with a whole slew of objections that seem to work well to ward off the attack.
"That's the latest word here in Atlanta. For treatment tips, we'll now be hearing from a world-renowned sales strategist out of White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Take it a way, Jill!"
* * *
"Over the years I've been in sales, I've worked with numerous people who have suffered from severe cases of Featurus Vomititus," said Jill Konrath of SellingtoBigCompanies.com.
"In virtually every patient I've seen, this disease has had a profoundly negative impact on their sales success and income level. Nothing kills sales opportunities faster than the service spewing, which is the classic symptom of this disease - and I mean nothing! While there's no known cure, sufferers have learned ways to cope with it and ultimately prosper. However, they must be ever vigilant to the re-emergence of symptoms."
Konrath continued, "The leaning forward behavior is generally the first indicator of an upcoming relapse. I coach all sellers to be aware when this urge hits them because it usually means that a service dump is not far behind.
"In our training programs, we teach sellers how to quickly recover by saying something like, 'Sorry. Sometimes I get so excited about our XYZ service. But what's most important is what's going on in your business. Let's get back to that. Sellers need to rewire their brains too. They need to realize that no one really wants to buy their service. To prospects, their offering is simply a tool to help them achieve their goals and objectives.
"To be successful in sales today, sellers need to think about helping clients improve their business," Konrath added. "They need to bring them ideas and insights, not a laundry list of benefits.
"They need to be able to talk about business issues and value propositions, not the intimate details of their service processes . And they need to ask insightful, powerful questions to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, as well as their commitment to help their clients."
Konrath concluded, "Relapses of Featurus Vomititus are nearly 100% preventable with awareness and pre-call preparation. And the disease does not have to be a sales killer. I've seen sellers experience miraculous recoveries within a short period of time."
Note: Many thanks to Dave Maynard for creating the graphic in today's article when it was featured in Salesopedia. This site is an excellent resource for people who sell.