Never sell a carrot to a rabbit

Why? Rabbits love carrots and they are the most discerning of carrot connoisseurs, and it’s almost guaranteed they know more about carrots than you do.

So if you’re selling carrots to a rabbit, you’re at a distinct disadvantage, especially when you lack a genuine passion for your product.

There is nothing more disempowering than selling to a customer who has more passion for and a deeper understanding of your product than you. These customers can see things from a higher vantage point. The rabbit will know the finer details about carrots, like where to find more of them, what constitutes quality and how value is best measured.

They will also have a broader context and meaningful experiences to draw upon regarding their most precious resource. Knowledge is a form of influence and power, particularly when you are buying, as it creates leverage.

When you are selling a carrot to a rabbit, you had better have, at the very least, as much passion about what you’re selling as the rabbit has in buying it. Fail to take a genuine interest in your product and reflect an equal level of expertise, and you will come across as ignorant, lacking credibility and uninspiring. If you can’t match them in these areas, you’re not contributing to the conversation or influencing their behaviour.

If there’s no way you can converse intellectually with the rabbit, be sure to bring another rabbit in with you. This is most common in tech and high-end solution selling, where the specialist skills required for hunting for new business parts ways with the ability to process and articulate complexity.

Rabbits aren’t that complex, but when it comes to carrots they really know their stuff. Demonstrate your appreciation for them by loving what you sell by drawing out their opinions and positive experiences and acknowledging their own expertise. Genuinely mirror their passion and enthusiasm.

When you achieve this, you won’t need to sell the carrot – the rabbit will sell it to you.

This is an excerpt from Trent’s new book Outlaw: Fight for Your Customers and Sell Without Fear.

Trent Leyshan is the founder of BOOM!, Australia’s leading sales training and development specialist. He is the co-founder of Expand People and author of The Naked Salesman.



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