Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Business People Who Sell

There is a common myth in sales circles that sales people are born not trained. Of course this is nonsense. Send me the details of any midwife that recognised an up and coming sales person like Zig Zigler at birth!

The facts are that selling and the science of selling, like any science, is a learnt skill. The basic foundations of this learning are effective communication, planning, goal orientation and problem solving. These elements combined form the foundations of what we call "Sales Swagger” or the “Sales Essence” of an individual.

For many years now I have said consultants are in a privileged position when it comes to selling. They generally have a fantastic ability to solve problems. They have become good listeners by being forced to understand their clients issues in order to offer solutions. They also, if involved in accounting and professional services, come from a ‘trusted’ position via existing relationships and the perception of accounting in the wider community.

So what is the issue with selling if all these factors are stacked in your favour?

Why is it so hard to become “A Business Person who Sells” when the customers prime driver is to go forward, achieve their goals, be successful and achieve growth and profit?

Through observations, training and my own business experience, here are the top key blockages:
  • Confidence in your own selling ability 
  • Inadequate time allocated to proper sales cycles, from start to finish 
  • A poorly thought out (SCA) or Unique Selling Proposition (USP) 
  • Lack of sales process or model to find suspects, convert to prospects and then convert to customers 
  • Fear 

Fear is not even worth talking about. I have never seen a salesperson shot by a customer! The worst thing that can happen is the customer says “No”! If you have a robust pipeline this will never be a problem.

Selling is not something you can do once a month at the Club Golf Tournament. You need to allocate time to the process of selling. Time for pipeline development, relationship building, sales calls and follow up conversions. Everyone in your organization need to be involved in the process of customer development — not just the ‘rainmakers’.

You need to be able to anchor your sales process with a point of difference to make sure your USP is in fact unique. Understand your SCA. Build a sales process and then consistently use it leaving nothing out. Don’t skip steps.

Lastly, begin to build goals, targets and milestones. Set yourself a meeting target, proposals out for consideration target, conversion goal and win/loss ratio.

Lets be clear. Customers want future goals and success. They are not interested in your products and services, sorry to burst the bubble. I challenge you to ring 20 customers now and ask if you can come over and show them product X, Y and Z. I bet none take you up on your offer. Instead ask them if you can meet to discuss their top 5 blockages to success you can help them fix, and you may even find they offer to pay for coffee!

Here is a model or approach you may have heard of. Sit down with a customer and ask them “Where are you now?” (Listen) Then ask them, “What are your top 5 issues for the next 3 months? You know, the burning ones.” (Listen) Then ask them “Where do you want to be in 12 months time?” (Listen) Then with them, discuss and agree on actions and strategies to get them there. Abracadabra! Looks like a plan!

If you want to be “A Business Person who Sells”, become a person that helps everyone you meet grow in some way. As these people slowly make sense of the value they are getting from the relationship chances are you will become very popular, very successful and well paid.


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