Have you noticed what used to work in sales is no longer as effective, or may not be effective at all? On the other hand, sales will not just happen, there must be a plan and a strategy. A coordinated effort in understanding what the market is motivated to buy must be in place. What we currently offer, what our competitors are offering and how we might adjust our offerings to remain competitive are questions we must ask. Then a well-designed and thought out story must emerge and be communicated through every channel.
I was asked to work with an organization as an advisor connected with Penn State. The organization is trying to help launch entrepreneurs who have new and innovative products. I was in an initial meeting last week where I listened for about 90 minutes and heard nothing about a sales strategy. Finally, I raised my hand and asked what the sales strategy was. They said they had their story together and a marketing plan, and what else was I looking for? Smile….well when, who and where are you going to tell your story? By the way, I hope your story is not about your favorite feature; instead, I am sure it is how your product will help the customer make or save money. All heads dropped on the team…I hope they are still in business. From my perspective, only one of the three is capable of selling to the market. Sometimes I wish I could turn off my profiling processor…smile!
The sales trap is to be a product peddler; we all do it. We have great intensions of being about the solution, but more often than not we move toward our product features and benefits. The big question is how to break the mold, the habits of successful selling to take us to the next level or just close to the next opportunity? Remember, just because we closed a deal last week saying something or demonstrating some cool feature or asking a great question does not mean it will be successful this week. After all, we are superstitious at our core. Here is a key that will help, one word: Toggle. Yes, toggle between all 5 levels of sales (visitor, price talker, product peddler, solution provider and the value engager); discern where your client or customer is in their thinking in order to relate. The ideal is to relate and then challenge your customer’s beliefs and paradigms in order to take the next steps in the sales process.
Here are Four Helpful Sales Philosophies:
- Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view
- Talk briefly about something they are genuinely interested in – preferably business related
- Demonstrate boardroom-level understanding of their business issues
- Become the valuable business partner by adding strategic insight regarding their business
Coaching Point: Learn a successful sales process and be committed to becoming an expert in how it works. Study the activities of your best sales people; remember it is not that they do the activity, but rather it is in how they did the activity that made them successful.
Human Relations Principle of the Week:
Make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest.
– Dale Carnegie
P.S. If you or your organization is struggling with sales in today’s competitive world give our team a call we are standing by ready to help!