In my last blog I asked, “Who really understands the art of effective sales?” There are a handful of sales experts and one is my guest, Jack Daly. This is the second blog in a 3-part series by Jack in effort to prepare you for a strong surge in your year-end revenue.
Today, Jack shares the Path to Success as a sales professional.
A sales professional is someone who:
1) Gets business from a prospect who is already committed to someone else
2) Helps his or her business sources to reach their full potential
3) Constantly upgrades his or her clientele
And therein lies a problem. How do you gain the attention of these attractive prospects? How do you overcome their commitment to another supplier? How do you combat their indifference to wanting to see you?
A core theme of the Relationship Selling system is that if two people want to work together, the details won't stand in their way. Another key idea is that success with a client comes by giving "value-added" service. You accomplish this by delivering more than your client expected when he or she decided to try your service.
"Golden handcuffs" tie business sources to you. Your image, knowledge, sensitivity, attitude and success create those bonds. You become someone's business partner because they discover it is in their best interest to work with you.
Another way to say this is that a sales professional helps his or her clients be more successful.
Building a relationship starts by overcoming their indifference toward you even before your first meeting. Don’t call on a probable prospect unless you have "pre-marketed" yourself. A good approach campaign, in which you pre-market yourself, changes the acceptance rating considerably.
Create a positive image in your prospect's minds by sending them helpful ideas and general market information. The greater the positive image you build, the greater your success will be.
Path to Success
Sales success begins at the bottom. First, define the highest value needs of the prospect. To do this, we must conduct a meaningful interview in a favorable environment.
When calling prospects for an appointment, or just before reconfirming the time and place, ask if they would reserve their conference room for your meeting. Tell your prospect that you will have some things to demonstrate and that the conference room would be helpful.
Our real purpose is to get the prospect away from his or her telephone (or walk by distractions) during the interview. In this meeting, you want to determine four primary things:
1) Highest value needs (HVNs) held by the prospect
2) Social style of the person
3) Current relationships with competitors
4) Objections to be resolved
Professionals never recommend an action until they have fully determined the problem, opportunity, or need in the relationship. How would you feel towards a physician who prescribed a medicine prior to conducting a thorough physical? You might sue for malpractice a lawyer who suggested language for your will without determining your wishes.
Interviewing For Results
But when you call on someone, do you "show up and throw up"? Do you dump product information on them? We all know that traditional salespeople talk too much. Relationship sales professionals listen - and listen – and listen! A salesperson that shows up and throws up also should be sued for malpractice.
There is a considerable difference between a traditional and possibly manipulative salesperson and a relational, non-manipulative one.
Traditional salespeople spend most of their time on pitching and selling features. But, RELATIONSHIP SELLING focuses on finding customer needs and problems and offering solutions to meet those needs. Less emphasis and time is devoted to aggressive selling and more to building relationships and providing value to the prospect.
It is suggested that we spend the same amount of time in an interview as we are doing now - our emphasis should be on information gathering and "needs analysis" rather than pitching features. When you are in front of a prospect, how much time do you talk and how much time do you listen? It is important to remember that the listener controls the interview.
We don't sell our products or services to someone unless they perceive it is in their personal interest to have us do so. Therefore, we must determine their interests and highest value needs. Once we know those needs, we know that we will do business with him or her. We just don't know how long it will take to do so.
Thank you, Jack, for this second article in our 3-part series. If you haven't implemented ideas from Jack’s first article, what makes you think you’ll do anything different this time? Jack has proven that his approach works – for him and for thousands of other sales people. Choose one thing that you’ll do differently, go out in your market and test it, refine it, and make it a part of your sales discipline. By the time you’re done, I’ll share part three of this series to get you in a position to finish this year with strong (and profitable) revenue. Now go sell.
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images