TALKING SALES 7: “Borrow your customers shoes” – Steve Hall



In this 3 minute video Steve Hall tells John Smibert how important it is that salespeople get in their client’s shoes. And he gives a little insight into how to do it.

Steve’s a thought leader in sales. He’s an author and writer, most notably for BRW, and his focus is on helping people sell more effectively at higher margins.

(BTW – Can you pick the error in the video)

See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here





John:              Welcome back! Today I’ve got Steve Hall with me. Steve’s a thought leader in sales, he’s an author and writer, particularly for BRW, and his focus is on helping people sell more effectively at higher margins. Welcome, Steve!

Steve:             Welcome, John!

John:              Steve, I know you’ve had some wonderful experience in sales and in coaching people in how to sell more effectively. What’s the one thing you think people should focus on to really get it right, to be more successful in selling?

Steve:             Well, there are obviously a number of things, John, but to me the key is being able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes or your prospects’ shoes and understand things from their perspective.

John:              It’s so important, isn’t it?

Steve:             It’s very important. We understand our own product, we are obsessed with it, and we know the features, the benefits, we know what it can do for people, and so we tend to look at things from that perspective. We have to remember that, first of all, the people we’re talking to have got a different perspective, they’re potentially looking for different things. And secondly, no matter how much they care about the area that we focus on: it’s just one of many, many other things that they do.

John:              That’s right! You mentioned to put yourself in their shoes. How do you do that? Because most salespeople I talk to find that really difficult.

Steve:             It’s a challenge, and you need to imagine that you are that person you’re going to talk to. If you’re talking to the CEO of a large company then you’ve got a reasonably good idea that they’re very busy; they’re probably focused on profit, they’re probably focused on reducing risk, their brand – there are a number of things you know generically. And you can obviously look at their website and their annual report and look at their own words. The more you can get into their head so that you can do research based upon what the company cares about, what the person has said on their LinkedIn profile or whatever.

But, you also need to think “Okay, if I was them then what would I be doing right now?”

John:              “If I was them.” That’s an important statement, isn’t it? “If I was them.” and put yourself in their shoes.

Steve:             Absolutely! Because everyone’s got distractions. It’s not just the business distractions, but people are thinking about their wives, their football team, what they had for breakfast, they’re being hassled by their boss, they’ve got the subordinates coming towards them – there’s a whole heap of stuff going on that’s got nothing to do with you.

John:              And I’ve got to put myself in the shoes of that guy? That’s going to be tough!

Steve:             You’ve got to be aware that it’s happening.

John:              Yeah.

Steve:             You’ve got to be aware that there are many distractions. If you want to get their attention, if you want to get them interested in what you have to say, if you want them to give you permission to even talk to them.

John:              Just get a little bit of rapport going.

Steve:             Absolutely, that’s right.

John:              You know, I think I understand what you’re saying. I know I understand, I know how difficult it is, and I think that over a series of discussions perhaps you and I can draw this out more and give more value to salespeople. How to actually build rapport with people they’re approaching, prospect properly, and so on. So, maybe over a series of interviews we can do more of that.

Steve:             That will be fun!

John:              I look forward to it, Steve!

Steve:             Take care!


See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here

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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

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