Sandy's workshop was really beneficial in helping me reach clarity on a way that the Chamber could listen to what our members want, and deliver that in a way which would demonstrate value & benefit. And so the DACC123 Member Promise was born - thanks Sandy
Tall, bearded and opinionated. He was the most challenging person I’ve ever had to manage. Even after taking a year’s ‘sabbatical’ to serve a driving ban, the company took him straight back. That’s how good he was.
Because Archie was a wonderful salesman. And a decent person. He spoke and he listened, with the perfect blend of assertiveness and empathy.
But one dreary Monday morning, Archie surprised even me when he opted to pitch me one of his own ‘inventions’. Needless to say, I was intrigued - if not immediately convinced - by ‘The Daft Laddie Approach’. Was this a soft-skilled revelation - or was the clue in the name?
Who is The Daft Laddie?
One of the privileges and joys of running a sales team is getting the chance to work with, and learn from, so many talented salespeople.
I tried to count them the other day, in the interests of this post and had to give up at 600! And that’s not counting the salespeople who’ve attended my Sales Coach Scot sales training sessions or the conferences where I’ve presented.
But I have to say, I learned a lot from Archie. He was the kind of guy who could so easily have looked scruffy - with his beard and his lanky stature. But you could tell he was a committed salesperson because he was always immaculately turned out. And like all consistently successful salespeople, Archie knew that he had to really understand his customer if his pitch was to stand a chance. He understood that it is more important to listen to a customer than to talk.
And this was the topic for our in-car discussion that day.
The Daft Laddie Approach to Listening
“...and that’s why I always advocate my ‘daft laddie’ approach to listening, Sandy".
I had never heard of this. But Archie, in his infinite wisdom, claimed to have invented this type of selling.
"I really want the customer to tell me all about their business. Yes - I already know a lot about them, I’ve done my research. But if I keep butting in with commital phrases like,
"Oh yes, I know that" or “Yes, I read that on your website” - there’s a danger that they’ll then assume I know more than I do. Then I’m in real trouble. Because I’m going to miss out on those real nuggets of information that I’m really after.
Of course, the last thing I want to do is look like I haven’t done my research. Or worse, give the impression that I’m not interested in their business.
But it's a fine balance. That’s why let the customer tell me everything - even the stuff that I already know - to make sure I take away as much information as humanly possible from that meeting.”
Why Does It Work So Well?
Archie went on to sell me the inner workings of his theory (in his own, unique style, of course!).
“People love to talk about themselves. And it’s so rare that friends and colleagues really listen. So, that’s what I give them - a genuinely interested ear. Because I DO care about what they have to say.
By the time I come to present, they know this is not a one-man-show. It’s a conversation. And the customer is more likely to be in a buying frame of mind.”
Archie went on to present his ‘Daft Laddie Approach’ to the team, at our next sales meeting. The others really took his point on board (probably thanks to Archie’s passionate presentation as much as the pertinence of his theory) and I saw it reflected not only in our sales figures but in the feedback from our customers.
Changing your approach to selling has the potential to change the way your customers feel about you and your organisation. Treat your customers with respect and empathy and you will set yourself apart from your competitors. Your customers will feel different about you, without always knowing why. The difference is listening.
And oh, you might even feel like a better human being, too.
Selling Skills to Practice: Active Listening
It’s easy to forget that sales skills aren’t all about getting our point across. Active listening is one of the key selling skills that I teach in my Sales Coach Scot workshops. And just like all the skills essential for effective selling, you can perfect your listening skills with the right coaching and regular practice. Get in touch to book a sales skills training day for your team.