I don’t know who came up with the title phrase, but I first heard it from John Hensel, with whom I worked in sales training about 10 years ago. I liked the phrase so much that I “borrowed” it and continue to use it in sales training today.
Does your product create a lust for possession in the buyer’s mind? When a product is beautifully designed, uses amazing technology, and is obviously useful, customers will suspend judgment and line up in the wee hours to have a chance to be one of the first to own one and to show it off to their friends. If you’re selling something like that, all you need to do is to show it off and watch the orders come in. Steve Jobs knew that and that is why his presentations centered around the product itself—and why they were so successful.
The problem is that very few products (and I include services in this broad definition) actually work that way. They may not be exciting, they may be difficult to figure out’ their benefits may not be obvious; most of all, they may not look that different from everything else on the market. They certainly don’t create lust in the buyer’s mind.
In fact, most products create the opposite effect: buyers are so wary of being sold that their critical faculties go on full alert. They automatically question all the good things that are said about it and search for reasons not to disrupt the status quo, not to spend money, not to take the risk, etc.
If you have the product with you during the sales call, you will always be tempted to bring it out and show it, or talk about it, too early, like a fisherman jerking the rod at the first hint of a nibble. The instant the prospect drops the slightest hint that they might have a glimmer of interest, like Pavlov’s dogs hearing the dinner bell, you can’t resist jumping straight into our pitch or your demonstration.
Once the product becomes the center of attention, its pluses and minuses become fair game. If you begin talking about the product before they’re thirsty, resistance automatically kicks in, you dig yourself into a hole, and there is definitely no “lust” for what you’re selling.
So, when is the right time to take the product out of the car? When the prospect practically begs you to see it. Just like plain old boring water tastes exquisite when you’re thirsty enough, your job as a salesperson is to make the buyer thirsty. When you have asked the right questions and guided the conversation so that the prospect has told you about their problems and opportunities and has told you that the status quo is too costly or risky to continue—that’s when their minds are receptive to finding out about what you have.
If you’re making a presentation, don’t show the “product” slides until the audience has fully agreed with your description of the need, and every eye in the place is off their devices and focused squarely on you, because they can’t wait to hear how you’re going to make their lives better.
That’s when you are allowed to go get it out of the car, and not a moment before.