Can you sell or, more importantly, do you want to sell? Very few people, when they were at school or university, chose selling as their future career. My research has shown that most sales people got the job by opportunity or necessity. In the last few years there has been a massive change of emphasis, with non-sales people actively taking ownership of winning new clients and developing those relationships into new business opportunities. As a result people who previously would never, not even in their wildest imaginations, have thought that part of their profession would be selling, are in fact
Through necessity and to keep themselves employed, people have been forced into learning the skills of selling. So can you sell? Of course you can, but only if you really want to. It is probably worth noting, as a motivation and a stimulus, that as you become successful at winning new business you will also increase your income, make impact improve others life and for most people this is a good enough reason.
A common belief is that a good sales person can sell anything. We have all heard the expression ‘He or she could sell fridges to Eskimos.’ I take issue with the statement that good sales people can sell anything. They can’t. Good and successful sales people can sell only what they believe in. It is therefore worth establishing at the outset what good sales people actually do. Very simply it is that, given the chance of meeting a prospective customer, they will complete the transaction and close the sale. Equally they must create an environment and experience that will make the customer come and buy again. Once a sales person has built that trust and relationship, the customer will recommend the sales person or the company to friends, family and connections. This is what professional selling can achieve. This is what you can do comparatively easily.
Therefore it is imperative that you have belief in your product or service. You must convince yourself of the value and the results that your product or service will achieve for your customers. There will be many occasions when your product or service will not be the cheapest, but this must not impede your belief in it. What matters here is that your product or service delivers what you state it will, what is claimed or what
the customer is looking for. If it does that, the price is of less importance.
It is often stated that we were all born with the ability to sell, as exemplified by the persuasive skills of children (as well as by some questionable tactics that cannot be used in business). Nevertheless, the skills and tactics achieve the desired result for children. Then young people gradually become educated, and there is one word that creates such an inhibitor in fertile minds
that it not only blocks the enthusiasm to sell but also prevents young people from achieving so much more. That one word is ‘No’.
This word ‘No’ is construed in the human brain as a word of rejection, which in most cases it certainly is not. The fear that someone will say ‘No’ to us not only prevents us from getting involved in selling but also holds us back from so many of life’s opportunities.
This is probably the most important principle that every aspiring sales person should embrace. Disregard this chapter at your peril. A ‘No’ is only ever a ‘No, not today’. When anyone ever says ‘No’ to you, it is only ‘No’ at that moment in time. You have almost certainly bought something or done some- thing in the last six months that previously you said ‘No’ to. Why? Because circumstances will have changed, and this is exactly the same for your potential customers. As your sales career develops you will find that your and your company’s biggest revenue stream will come from your existing customers. Your second biggest revenue stream will come from what you now call your ‘No, not todays’. Your third biggest business stream will come from new customers.
When you meet a prospective customer there are two possible outcomes. You will get some business, make a sale or have an order, or you will get a ‘No, thank you’, which if you handle it well is only a ‘No, not today’. Now I am not saying that you should be a pushy individual. Ninety-seven per cent of people don’t like pushy people, and pushy sales people do exactly that – push prospective customers away. The reverse principle is so much more effective, and that is to be a ‘pully’ person. Draw your prospective customers to you.
When you get a ‘No’ this is what you can do:
‘Thank you. Can we keep the door open? I would like to ring you in three or four months’ time, as your circumstances may change or you find out we may have something else that we can offer you.’
You will almost certainly get a ‘Yes’, and I recommend that you then say:
‘Fine, I will give you a call again in three to four months.’ Or sit up meeting for 15 mins’
Take out your diary and (assuming your meeting was on 15 April) say:
‘OK, I’ll give you a call again round about the 15th of July. Is that OK? In the meantime, may I keep you informed by e-mail or post of our new products or services?’
You will invariably get another ‘Yes’.
Now it is very important to get the balance right here and to maintain contact with a bit of news not more than monthly. It must be only items that are genuinely of interest to that prospective customer. Be realistic. There are of course occasions when there is no chance because there is no synergy between your product or service and your customer.
When it is time to arrange the new appointment you can commence your telephone conversation with:
‘Mr/Ms…? Hello Its John from xwz when I was with you in April we agreed that I would call you in July to arrange a short meeting to explain our latest products or services. I don’t know how your diary is fixed, but may I suggest…?’
Let’s revert to the theme of this chapter. Can you sell? You can, once you have developed a mindset that selling is not about making people buy something that they don’t want but about helping prospective customers to make up their own minds. It is your responsibility to provide accurate information so that customers are in the best possible position to do just that.
From now on, whenever you have the opportunity to meet or talk to a prospective customer, you are either going to get a sale or you will be getting a ‘No, not today’. You cannot fail. With this in mind your subconscious brain will remove the biggest impediment to selling, which is the fear of failure or rejection. You will be amazed at how much business over the years will come from your ‘No, not today’ contacts.
The emphasis of modern selling is to develop what is known as relationship and consultative selling. Both of those adjectives will be explained in more detail in the following chapters. Suffice to say at this stage that it is much easier to win new business from a person who you have developed a relationship with rather than a complete stranger.
We have all heard sales people brag that they do business with X, Y and Z Company. I have tried over the years to sell to companies, to the private sector and the public sector, to government bodies and institutions, to homes and flats, and I have never achieved a sale. I have only ever made a sale to another person. So your marketplace is no different from mine. Selling is about relationships, trust and earning respect. People buy from People they know.
In building relationships you must become a good ambassador of your product or your company, and to do this you will need seven vital ingredients:
1. business knowledge;
2. industry knowledge;
3. company knowledge;
4. product knowledge;
5. sales skills;
6. Attitude , People buy You
7. Asking The Right Questions
8. ABC Always be Closing
The sales person should be able to converse with clients or customers on all aspects of the business climate and marketing trends. This information is of course gleaned from the world’s press and media.
To be effective, sellers must be familiar with their industry and with their competitors’ products, prices and positioning. They should be aware of people and personalities within their industry and trade bodies. They must be aware of their competitors’ main selling points and new product releases. This information is readily available in the trade press.
Sales people should be aware of company policy and people. They should be informed about their company’s marketing and
Advertising and should know the right departments and people to go to for advice and support.
Now this is really crucial in today’s marketplace. Sales people must be able to give excellent and accurate information on their product portfolio. They must be credible, and their job is to impart to prospective customers answers to questions and concerns.
It is essential to have the sales skills of this millennium and not the last. These will need continuing refreshment.
This is of course the ultimate characteristic that distinguishes the superstars from the also-rans. A positive and enthusiastic attitude will become the major ingredient not only in developing relationships but also in winning a great deal of new business and earning your clients’ trust, which will lead to recommendations and referrals, people buy YOU. A positive attitude is the single most desired attribute of a successful sales person.
Asking the Right Questions
This is the Key of qualifying the prospect and know the needs and insure if the prospect can take decision or can influence it.
So, once again, can you sell? Yes, of course you can if you really want to and are willing to spend a little time developing the skills.
Always Be Closing (ABC)
(ABC) is a motivational phrase used to describe a sales strategy. It implies that a salesperson following the regimen should continuously look for new prospects, pitch products or services to those prospects, and ultimately complete a sale.