I spent over 30 years of my life working in sales. I started my career in Telesales back in the 1980’s, in the days of SPIN selling and the assumptive close. I worked my way up the ladder, became a recruitment consultant and sold, sold, sold for a living. Even when I transitioned into HR and consultancy, I still worked with sales people and teams, not just helping them get better at what they did but also selling my own time and services. I guess it’s fair to say that my grubby T-shirt of life brazenly carries a massive “SOLD” logo on the front!
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, sales was a far more respected profession than it is nowadays. It was ok for someone to say “I work in sales” without the door being slammed in their face. Or worse: For the other person to dive for cover, cowering behind a desk. I am not sure why sales seems to have become a dirty word recently. There is even a special hashtag “#buymystuff” that is applied on social media when any poor business owner makes the terrible mistake of even just implying that possibly, he may need to earn a living by selling something to someone, sometimes.
This has created a real and very tangible fear amongst business owners and sales people to be seen engaging in the dreaded activity of sales. Even trying to create business in the most mild fashion seems to create a storm of “Don’t flog your stuff to me!” reactions that are deeply damaging to the morale, confidence and self-image. in my view, this is all totally unneccessary.
Recently, I got banned from a Facebook group for “selling”. Honestly, I wasn’t! Well, not purposefully. It seems that even just the act of engaging and showing knowledge or expertise, to some, equates to sales. So should we dumb down and just chat constantly, without ever actually venturing anywhere near what we do to make a living?
Because the truth is that without sales being made, and our products and services being exchanged for money, we will all wither and die. The entire world economy is built on trade and transaction. Without sales, our world will collapse and we will all return to chasing dinosaurs for food and living in caves. Until someone sees that he has too much dinosaur meat whilst his neighbour had a failed hunt, but the neighbour has lots of good fruit so how about a barter? And then it will start all over agin!
My point is this: There is nothing wrong with selling your products or services. How else are you supposed to make a living?!
Granted, things have developed now from the 1980’s style hard sales pitches. Our potential clients are far more sophisticated now, and they expect more than a sales person who thrusts his foot in the door. The new breed of business developer knows that winning business and closing sales now is more about relationship and trust, instead of USP and product features as it used to be in the old days.
This is how you can close more sales in your business right now, by using this simple bit of knowledge:
1.Not everyone is your customer
Every relationship has 2 sides. Recognise and accept that not everyone will like and trust you, for whatever reason. Define your ideal customer, seek them out actively and avoid everyone else. If you bring your products or services to a receptive targeted audience, success will be far more likely than if you try to sell everything to everyone. And accept that those who decline are not meant to be your customers. Don’t take it personally. Just move on to find the ones who are your customers.
2. Start as you aim to end
Each step you take should be leading you towards partnering with your customer. With each customer interaction, remind yourself of where you want to go and focus your efforts on moving in that direction. Have a clear understanding about your purpose, product and pricing. Without knowing where you are going, you may find yourself taking steps that lead you away from closing the sale. Keep focused on your purpose during each step in the sales process.
3. Speculate to accumulate
Whether they want information, product demonstrations or customer referrals, expect that you will be giving something away during the sales process. A good rule to remember is that you should always ask for something after you give something. For example: If the customer asks for a demonstration, ask for their commitment to move forward if the demonstration proves that your product will fulfill their need. While it may be better to give than to receive, in the sales world, giving and receiving are both equal players with equal amounts of importance. Remember, it’s a relationship of 2 halves.
Sales made simple!
Allow me introduce you to the world of sales, simply done, and elegantly executed. Seamless, no pressure, conversational human interactions that reflect on every single interaction we have with our clients.
I would love to know your thoughts on this subject. Book diary time with me here. I look forward to it!
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