CSI Selling Tip

I was forced to watch an episode of the American CSI output Sunday.  It was the one set in Vegas.  In days of yore I loved watching all those really intelligent ‘new breed’ of detecting shows.  I refer to the ones that make the effort to go deeper, like Morse, Between The Lines, NYPD Blue, Cracker and latterly, Foyle’s War.  CSI I’m sure likes to think of itself in this mould, yet when watching it before, I always thought it was a little shallow, along with the intensity of the situations being dubious and relationships between protagonists unlikely.  Anyhow, watch I did and half-way in, an interrogation room scene with a red-herring suspect.

The suspect broke down in tears when mumbling through an “I’m a failure” monologue, after which the CSI boss replied,

“we are crime scene investigators – we are trained to ignore verbal testimony and focus solely on what is at the scene of the crime”

This instantly struck me as a key selling platform.  I was also reminded of some of my first ever telephone training.  On the phone, the majority of communication signals are lost, leaving only spoken words.  When with a prospect face-to-face you get so much more…. and yet how often do you let only the heard messages stick?

What are all the non-verbal things going on that should be telling you how you are doing?  The obvious one is body language.  Forests of books are dedicated to this, even making a science out of it in the NLP realms.

But what other things also go on you gloss over or miss?  One of the first ever deals I lost I knew beforehand was potentially slipping.  It was a £12k margin software deal, and learning from the loss was a key reason why I managed to get my close ratios to a 1 out of 1.7 rate.  At a Morse moment (y’know, aka the Columbo close, where he used to ask after he’d motioned to leave a room “by the way one final quick thing….”) I mentioned we were thinking of running a hospitality event at something the prospect had earlier discussed animatedly with me in a previous context.  His response was “that’s certainly something to think about”.  It startled me, as the disinterested way how he uttered it said to me he’d already decided to go elsewhere.  My point is that actions related to issues outside the obvious deal discussions can be important.  For instance, nowadays such actions go through email loads. 

What potential worth is it to become more ‘forensic’ on your qualification?  What else does the ‘scene of the crime’ offer up as inspiration or evidence to further your cause?

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