Sell to Win

How winning a sale is like a Thanksgiving dinner

Kaitlyn Wightman
Kaitlyn Wightman

With the Thanksgiving holiday near, it’s hard to keep our focus on winning the sale and away from the festive gathering with family and friends.

Fortunately, lessons learned at the Thanksgiving dinner table can also teach us how we can sell better to our potential buyers so that closing the deal is a winning experience for everyone.

Without being too sentimental (or cheesy), here are five reasons why winning a sale is like Thanksgiving dinner.

No One Wants to Sit at the Kids Table

Remember that Thanksgiving a few years back when you were booted to the kids table? Your downgrade included sitting on a small chair and cutting bite-sized pieces of a turkey slice with a plastic knife for your cousin’s kid. Instead of breaking bread with the adults, you only caught snippets of conversation from the other room.

No one wants to feel second-rate. But that’s exactly how potential customers feel when you’re not paying attention to their needs during the sale. If your conversation doesn’t explain solutions to their pain points, they’ll always be casting longing glances over at your competition.

Make the sale like an invitation to the adult table. Pull out a chair and pass them the turkey plate and gravy boat. Go beyond small talk and keep the conversation focused on their needs, wants and goals. Value their concerns and assure them that they’re being heard. Show them a customer experience they deserve and they’ll make sure to return to the next meal.

Stick to the Family Recipe

It’s dangerous to mess with holiday tradition. Thanksgiving dinner without Uncle Jack’s cranberry sauce or grandma’s stuffing can result in a rainbow of reactions, from bitter disappointment to irrational rage.

Drastically alter your sales process and you could face the same fate. There’s nothing wrong with testing the waters by tweaking a step, but turning your sales practice upside down can quickly lose you the sale.

That’s because your new strategy might not be thoroughly thought out. If every sales rep isn’t confident in the new procedure, it won’t be hard for potential customers to spot your team’s insecurities.

Stick to a sales process that works. Only implement new practices once you have an execution strategy to back up the change so that the customer experience doesn’t suffer.

Politics Ruins the Dinner Conversation

Everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner table knows what topics are off-limits in order to keep the peace. Only the new spouses accidentally—or troublemaking cousins intentionally—bring political debates into the discussion and sparks fly immediately.

Winning a sale can become an emotionally-charged event if the conversation goes quickly in the wrong direction. There’s always a possibility that your potential customer may lose their cool during the call if you bring up the wrong topic, call the buyer by the wrong name or elaborate on a pain point that doesn’t relate to their company or industry.

Keep the caller in mind before you pick up the phone. Review past interactions and previous notes saved in your CRM so that you can continue the conversation targeted towards solving their specific issues. Be prepared to respond to their objections and be able to explain how you measure up to your competition with specific examples and numbers.

Timing Is Crucial

The magic of Thanksgiving dinner is getting every dish on the table at the same time and at the same toasty temperatures.

That’s how your sale should go. It’s a balancing act of picking the right place and the right time to sell to your potential buyer while choosing the right words to say.

What gets the timing right for that Thanksgiving feast is teamwork. It takes multiple guests to volunteer to carve the turkey, set the table and mash the potatoes.

Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from your team to win the sale. Take the time to research your potential customer’s company and industry so that your conversation is targeted towards their challenges and routine. Refer to all previous interactions stored in your CRM so that you can pick up the conversation where it left off.

We’ll Take That Slice of Pie

No matter how many times everyone swears that they’ll never eat another bite again after that Thanksgiving feast, there’s always a long line at the desserts table.

While some of us grab a slice of pumpkin pie to be polite, most of us fill up on sweets after a filling Thanksgiving meal because of the value we place on it. We value of the tradition of pumpkin pie, the family pie recipe or simply think pumpkin pie is delicious.

Your potential customer comes to the table wanting a specific product or service, but may be swayed to upgrade or add on to the purchase if you sweeten the deal. That is, if you can make the case on how these features can further solve their specific problems or greatly improve their experience.

It’s important to know your potential buyer well before making the added sale. Attempting to upgrade a buyer who only wants their initial purpose can leave a bad taste in their mouths. Simply put, know when it’s in good taste and when not to put the offer on the table.

What ways do you think that winning a sale is like a Thanksgiving dinner? Share your ideas in the comments section below.