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Why Product Dump Works … and Doesn't

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For any of you that have been trained by a Fusion Performance Group consultant you'll know that we rail against the concept of product dump. For clarity purposes, product dump occurs when a sales person suggests a product to a client before knowing whether the client needs it or not. They interview the client with the product as in "Has anyone told you about our new MasterCard? They haven't! Well let me tell you a little bit about it!"

This is what drives us nuts about sales people: they are always suggesting things before they know anything about us. We feel sold to and most people don't like that feeling.

Product Dump Works

Inevitably however some people will make the point that product dump does work on occasion. I have to agree. But it works for a specific reason and there are risks associated with employing this sale tactic. Let me explain.

If I am close to buying a product already (I know I need and want it, I just have not had the time to get it) product dump will work. If you mention the product to me I'll be all over it. You do not need good sales technique; you will get the sale. You will get the sale not because you are good, but because I am already sold. All you did was remind me of something I was going to do already.

Product dump also works when you mention the product and I can clearly see how it will help me in my situation. Again, the sale will be made not so much by virtue of good selling technique but because of luck; you happened to present a product that happened to solve one of my problems that I could immediately identify with.

The challenge is with either of these two situations is that you don't know ahead of time who the person in front of you is when you make the decision to dump a product on them. Are they the person that has already been considering the product? Are they the person that has the need the product solves? Or are they the person that has no interest in what you are selling? You don't know. You may get some good clues, but it is still a guess on your behalf.


There are real risks associated with product dump and are as follows:
- the person you are dealing with knows you are trying to sell them and will get their guard up to make sure they don't "get sold"
- if you are wrong in your guess that they need the product you will come across as being pushy
- you feel like a pushy sales person
- you will experience an excessive amount of rejection
- you can teach the clients to say no to you. If every time they talk to you you're always hawking some new product they start to tune you out after a while. They'll tune you out even when you may have something they could benefit from
- lower sales
- did I mention lots of rejection

What to do

The solution is simple: get the client to acknowledge the need before you present the solution. Your technique will make a huge difference in how the client feels when you try to sell. Consider these two examples:

Product Dump

Scene: Client is looks impatient as they wait in line to pay a bill during a busy lunch hour

Salesperson: Would you like to sign up for online banking so you can pay your bills from home?

Client: No thank you

What the client is thinking: what, you don't want to see me in the branch?!? Are you trying to get rid of me? I like coming in. if I wanted online banking i would have got it a long time ago.

Client Involvement

Scene: Client is looks impatient as they wait in line to pay a bill during a busy lunch hour

Salesperson: Was it inconvenient for you to get into the branch today?

Client: Yes as a matter of fact it was

Salesperson: I have a couple of ideas on how you could avoid coming in to pay your bills when it is busy like this, do you have a minute to discuss if they would work for you or not?

Client: Actually, I normally don't find coming in to be a hassle; I live right across the street. It's just today I could only come in at this time.

What the client is thinking: that's so nice that they are worried that I was being inconvenienced. I really get the feeling the folks here care about me and my business.

Even though in the second scenario the salesperson got a "no" the client will walk away with a different feeling about what they were trying to do. And if the client feels good about what just happened, so can the sales person.

Of course we have no way of knowing what the clients are really thinking. That's the point: why not err on the safe side by trying to find out if they have the problem first before rushing in with a solution and running the risk of coming across pushy? Get good at asking questions that isolate problems and leave the mind reading to the folks at the carnival.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
– Raymond Chandler, Writer

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Copyright © 2008 by Fusion Performance Group Inc.
Copyright © 2012 by Fusion Performance Group Inc. If you share this, print it out, or reproduce it in any way, please retain this copyright statement.