Some customers and prospects are very receptive to your ideas, questions and sales pitch some are not. Have you ever wondered why?
Four stages of learning
There are four stages of competence we go through when we learn something:
Stage 1. unconsciously incompetent
Stage 2. consciously incompetent
Stage 3. consciously competent
Stage 4. unconsciously competent
Learning to drive
Stage 1. Your teenager is reaching driving age, they look at your car with envy, "no more walking, no more rides from mom and dad I'll be free!" At this point in time they don't know, they don't know how to drive.
Stage 2. They get in the car, can't get the engine going, they are badly coordinated, they stall the engine at this point they get a rude awakening now they know, they don't know how to drive.
Stage 3. You pay for learner ed, they pass the test and, although lacking experience, the teenager knows they know how to drive.
Stage 4. Have you ever got to the office in the morning, sat at your desk and suddenly thought "Gee, which route did I come this morning, did I run the red lights at the intersection?" You don't know, that you know, how to drive. You are on auto pilot, driving is second nature, almost instinct.
Competence, Comprehension and Acceptance
So what has this analogy got to do with selling well, you try telling a teenager, especially a boy, that he does not know how to drive your message is falling on deaf ears, try and tell an experienced driver who has never even had a parking ticket, they could be a better driver deaf ears again.
At Stage 1 and Stage 4 human nature makes people unwilling to be receptive they don't see the need to be.
Communicating your sales message
Identifying what stage the customer is at is critical. Your first sales job is to create some sort of motivation, reason or "disturbance" to move the customer forward to Stage 2 or backward to Stage 3. At Stage 2 and Stage 3 people are more willing to be receptive.
Once you have got the customer receptive its down to you, but at least you have got a their ear!