Sales is that single business practice that if done effectively will sky rocket any company to success.
Unfortunately, 85% of businesses are not as good as they need to be in generating sales, which is why we have the staggering failure rate we do in small business.
Sales can be very complex. Or it can be extremely simple. It’s all a matter of the mindset of the practitioner.
Let’s take the simple road
What does it take to be effective in sales? Just one thing; awareness.
Awareness of your client’s problem.
Awareness of the solution that is acceptable to your client; expressing that solution as a dollars and cents value.
Awareness of the process the client will go through to decide to purchase or not.
Jeffery Fox, author of How to Become a Rainmaker offers the following steps to sales success.
* Cherish the client at all times
* Treat clients as you would your best friend
* Listen to clients and decipher their needs
* Make (or give) clients what they need
* Price your product to its dollarized value (in other words don’t sell price sell the value received from purchasing)
* Give your clients more than they expect
* Thank each client sincerely and often
* Help clients pay you so they won’t be embarrassed and go elsewhere
* Ask to do it again
When we talk about relationships, however, we are talking about a business relationship not a familiar friendship. You have to be seen as the solution to a challenge and not a friend to hang out with.
Six Figure Sales Coach, Kevin Nations, provides the idea of business rapport. He says the rapport you want to have with your client is that of an advisor, someone who the client feels comfortable discussing challenges with (pain) and trusts enough to provide a solution.
I’ve found the best skill anyone in sales can develop is the art of active listening. Ask questions, listen, and write down what you hear.
Clients feel engaged and heard when you, as the sales person, take the time to make note of what is being discussed. Note taking also “forces” you to become an active and engaged listener.
Next time you’re on a sales call, focus on your personal listening style. Are you really listening and engaged in what the client is saying or are you calculating your next response?
David Hepburn, Master Sales Trainer with the Sandler Sales Institute offers a slightly different perspective of sales and selling.
David offers the following thoughts to consider:
The sales person goes in to a call without a plan. The client that you are trying to involve in your product (sell) has a plan.
They lie, steal/cheat and then hide. That’s the client’s plan.
They lie and tell you they are interested in your products, they love them, and they are the best.
They steal or cheat when they ask you to be an unpaid consultant and educate them on everything they need to know and then they tell you “they’ll think about it.”
And when you try to get back to them, they hide and you have to send out the Search and Rescue Team just to get them to tell you NO.
That’s the basis of the Buyer’s Plan. If sales people don’t have a plan to combat this plan, they will lose every time, even though they think that they have a chance to make a sale.
David sees the biggest challenge most sales people have is “Winging it.”
They are hoping for the best instead of practicing, preparing, maintaining positive thoughts upon entering the client’s office, etc.
Let’s face it, very seldom does a small business owner, in the role of sales person, prepare for the sales call. Yet preparation is the shortest path to sales success.
Again, awareness comes into the picture. If you do not understand the clients business, if you don’t know anything about them or their industry, if you have no idea of the challenges they face, it will be very difficult to add value to their business and secure a long term relationship.
Here is the easy way to make your sales effort more effective
The ACTION step you need to take is very simple. Take one idea from this article and practice it this week.
Next week take another idea and practice it.
By the end of a few weeks, you’ll be better at sales than you are today.