Over the years I’ve read a hundred sales books with all kinds of different approaches and ideas. Some were very good and others left questions about their authors understanding of selling.
When ever I found myself in a slump or things just didn’t seem to work the answer always seem to be in the basics. A great chef, master carpenter or champion athlete always seems to have a mastery of the basics. So let’s take a look at what this idea of selling really amounts to.
First: Sales is two people, a customer and salesperson, communicating with each other. The customer is communicating their needs, wants and results required. The sales person is trying to understand these so the issue can be solved by their product or service. Just think of this as two people getting together to help each other improve their situations.
Second: Customers purchase products and services for the results they provide. This can be a real challenge for sales people that have been indoctrinated that sales are all about their product. This means saving time and money, preventing problems, solving problems or creating opportunities; that’s what the customer is looking for. Your product or service is simply a way or method to get the results, so salespeople need to communicate these results to customers instead of the product.
Third: Getting into new accounts, selling new and existing accounts and servicing accounts is all about two people communicating. Getting into a new account is about communicating results that the customer could achieve and communicating it in their language. The selling part is listening, questioning for clarity and communicating the results. Servicing the account is continued communications about the results to date and additional results needed.
Fourth: If we take the selling process, the objection response process or presentation part of selling and take the words “selling”, “objections” and “presentation” away, guess what we end up with. The “Selling” process becomes a communication process that is used every day. The “objection” response becomes a conflict resolution process and “presentation” becomes story telling.
Take this idea of communications instead of selling and see what happens to your productivity. Ask yourself what the potential results of your product could be from your customer’s perspective. Now think about how that could best be communicated to your customers.
We’ll explore each step of the sales process and how communications fits into it in future articles. For now, just think communications.