Carl was fiddling with the bass knob on the massive TV to get that just-right level to really have prospects feel the sounds. The day before he had sold two of these because both buyers were absolutely floored with the clarity of the bass and treble.
"Excuse me," came a woman's voice from behind him.
Carl turned and found himself staring at a very beautiful lady. "Yes ... "he stammered, momentarily taken aback.
"I can see I startled you," she responded, looking directly at him. "I'm sorry. I'm interested in a big TV that has a really sharp picture ... not one of those projection ones, their picture is so fuzzy ... and I need it to fit into the decor of my house."
"I think we can find something that will be in perfect harmony with your needs," responded Carl. For the next 15 minutes, Carl went from model to model.
"I hear what you are saying," responded Carl.
"Actually, I think you've missed the picture completely," said Isabella. "I need a TV that fits into the decor of my room without overwhelming everything else."
"No, I really do appreciate what you are saying. You want something that doesn't clash with the harmony you've established ... right?"
"I guess, that sounds kind of what I'm looking for," she responded with a confused look on her face.
"I hear from the sound of your voice that you are still unsure ... I really do hear what you are saying."
"Maybe you do. Here's a diagram of my living room, and here's where I see the TV fitting in. Do you see a better spot?"
Carl looked at the diagram for a moment and realized that placing the additional speakers would be difficult because of the way the room was laid out. "Could you move these two tables and that lamp to somewhere else? They're right where the additional speakers would go to get the optimal sound reproduction."
"I suppose," responded Isabella, who was thinking to herself that she was wasting her time with this salesperson. He's obviously not seeing what I want to achieve. Best find someone who can focus on my needs.
Carl thought he was connecting with Isabella. He wasn't.
Everyone has a preferred "channel" of processing information in a buying situation. In general, there are three major methods: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
Just as the prospect has a preferred channel, salespeople also have a preferred channel to dispense information. It is also one of the three.
In the story, Isabella's preferred channel is primarily visual. She sees the picture, brings into focus the important facts, maintains eye contact the entire time and likes to have the bird's eye view of how the TV will fit into her living room. She even brought a diagram of the living room to help her "picture" it.
Not once the entire time does Isabella mention anything about how the sound of the TV is important. Her approach to buying the TV is purely visual.
Now consider Carl's selling. His approach is designed to appeal to someone who hears her world. Does Isabella have any real interest in how the TV sound system could be run through an amplifier? When Carl states that he hears what she is saying, what is her response?
To determine your prospect's primary processing channel, ask the following question early on, "The last time you purchased (fill-in-the-blank), what were the important issues?"
While what is being said is important, how it is being expressed is even more important. Does the prospect use visual words? "Crystal clear, look, see, focus in, bird's eye view, pinpoint, witness, observe, big picture, eye-to-eye, and so on."
If so, you have a "visual buyer" and your task, if you wish to communicate with her, is to also use visual terminology. In effect, you become like your prospect.
By becoming like your prospect, you dramatically increase the chance of the prospect buying from you. After all, most people like to be with those who see the world in the same manner. They are comfortable in this situation.
If both of you see eye-to-eye, then it is easy to picture the future with your product in focus.
Some prospects process their world in visual images and if you want them to buy from you, you had best get into focus and be part of the big picture.