“Marketing and sales isn’t trying to persuade, coerce or manipulate people into buying your product or services. It’s about putting yourself out in front of people, offering your services to those whom you are meant to serve—People who already need and are looking for your services.“
—–Michael Porter Author ‘Book Yourself Solid
Sales is an honor, people are putting their trust in you. If you love helping people, sales should be the most fun filled career in the world. You’re helping customers to buy, to make important decisions, focusing on what a customer wants and needs. You are a problem solver, you will know this because you listen to what he/she is telling you. Then you ask questions to verify their situation helping them to buy what’s best for them.
They will love you for that.
It is a rarity to find someone in sales that really listens to what the customer is telling them. Most sales people are just glorified order takers, or in a more cruel description glorified product pushers. Order takers and product pushers are not sales.
When you work with customers, you are in the process of making them feel good. More importantly making them feel good about buying from you and making them feel good is the goal. Making your customers feel good leads to more purchases in the future and more business.
Here are four key points that all of us in business need to know and understand. They are as follows:
- The single most important purpose of any company is to create and keep customers.
Ask anyone what the purpose of a business is and they will most likely tell you…it is to make money. But how can you make money without a customer. Making money is important but the main purpose of any business is to create a customer, then you must keep them coming back.
2. There’s a big difference between selling and helping people to buy.
It’s simple: People love people that help them solve their problems.
3. People hate to be sold.
The forced selling mentality is gone. All those sales scripts, closing techniques and pushy sales people should not be in sales. People love to buy but hate to be sold. There’s a big difference between trying to sell someone something and trying to help someone buy what they truly want and need.
4. Transfer of confidence: First they buy you, then they buy what you’re selling.
Your confidence is tied to understanding the buying process, not the selling process. Go into any sales training today and they will train you in the selling process. But the real key to great salesmanship is understanding your customers buying process. How do they make decisions.
Confidence is divided into two parts: Confidence in yourself and Confidence in others.
Confidence in yourself is essential, those who create their own confidence work to create conditions that ultimately help them achieve success.
Without confidence in yourself there is no way to ‘ give yourself ‘ over to your customers and if there is no emotional connection, in most situations there is not going to be a sale.
It’s tough to resist someone who sincerely wants to help you…
…but it’s easy to reject someone who is just trying to sell you something.
Tried and true selling methods that worked as recently as a few years ago are working far less today.
Many say that selling requires you to go into the marketplace and create business where no business existed before. But that’s not selling, that’s prospecting and many of those in the profession are terrible at prospecting.
If you would focus on what your customers want and need, then help those people buy what’s best for them, and make them feel good about buying from you, then you will win much more sales than you’ll lose.
The Only Two Things People Ever Buy:
Good Feelings & Solutions to problems…
Any potential customer that you talk to is in one of three situations.
- They have a clear understanding of their problem and they are looking for a solution.
- They have a definite problem, and they are actively looking for the solution but not too sure if you have the right solution. Or…
- They have no problem and they are not seeking a particular solution but are just curious. (Many sales people invest a lot of time with these people)
What about that hard customer that just won’t buy. He/She wants to buy but they just can’t make that decision. There are several factors that are happening in the mind of your customer that may be blocking the sale. In this situation your difficult customer may find themselves in one the following situations…
- They want to buy but the reasons for purchasing in not large enough to push them over the edge. They have no real need or no real problem. They are more driven by want and curiosity which allows them to be very demanding. The customer is only still thinking about buying but is really a little too comfortable right where they are. What can you do? Break the sale factors down one by one. Ask the customer, “You seem to be a little hesitant, may I ask what it is? Is it financing? Is it doubt in the product’s performance? Is it price?” Let them answer you, listen to the answer carefully, the solution might be in their answer, they may just tell you something they haven’t considered. Once they reveal to you why they are hesitating you can break it down for them step by step. This will win their trust.
2. The customer has had a negative experience in the past, either with what you’re selling or the company who sold it to them. It’s hard to overcome a company’s bad reputation in the market place. It’s important to never defend your company’s reputation in the customer’s mind by auguring or by saying that it’s not true. Many sales people lose the sale quickly by doing this. If it’s in the mind of your customer it’s better to not defend it. ‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.’
Simply agree, but offer new information, explain that the company has made many important improvements over the last several years and re-dedicated itself to building a better product. Explain that customers who are buying from us today are pleasantly surprised regarding the quality. Why not give it a try? Nobody ever changes their minds, but they make new decisions based on new information
3. There is strong competition for the product or service and the customer is comparison shopping. Maybe your competitor’s product is superior than yours, maybe not, but it’s important to get a glimpse into the mind of your customer. Ask them straight out, “Are you shopping around? Is there a particular brand your thinking about in comparison with ours?” If the customer says yes, ask “What is it about their product that you feel is better than ours?” Sometimes it’s financing, they are offering better deals. Sometimes it may be less expensive or the other places are offering it on sale. There’s no way of countering if you don’t know what it is you’re countering against. So ask.
Here’s something to think about…Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to become the customer’s 2nd choice, Plan B or back up. If your customer is absolutely committed to going somewhere else, focus on winning the relationship. You see, in the long run, you can sometimes win the business. Let the customer know that you want to earn his/her business, that you will do anything possible to satisfy them should they change their mind. Maybe the other company will not be able to deliver on what they promise and that customer will keep you in mind for future purchases. Position yourself as immediate second choice. Position 2 will have a good chance of winning when position 1 screws up.
“Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”