When I do my garden at home, I plant the seeds and the bulbs as per the packet instructions, but each year I envy the man who lives down the lane. My flowers are weedy and sparse while his own garden blooms throughout the summer in a full bouquet of colour and strong plants. I asked him the reason and he explained that he started in early spring with turning over the soil, feeding the ground with fertilizer and constant feeding of the plants. Preparation he explained was 99% of the exercise.
When my children left home and my wife and I became “empty nesters”, we decided to make use of our freedom. Where shall we go I would say to her on a Saturday morning? Just let’s go for a drive. Did she not understand that was a more than difficult task? Every corner, every junction, the decision had to be made with no vision of our destination. The result was often a long drive, in circles and with no real pleasure.
Without a destination or an objective life in selling becomes difficult, frustrating and certainly will result in failure.
One thing I did get right this year was my annual holidays. We selected the brochures, chose the destination and with the help of internet and travel agent we did our preparation of booking transport, car hire and accommodation. No doubt you would believe that we at least had a successful holiday – wrong. Who forgot the papers detailing our car hire thus having arrived at the foreign airport we spent over 2 hours discussing in a foreign language our predicament to a totally perplexed car hire administration clerk. Where was our organisation? . Destination and preparation had been excellent but the third element of being able to organise ourselves in an efficient manner was poor. Salesman must always be organised. Whether face to face, in presentations or on a telephone when a client brings unexpectedly, it is imperative the sales person is efficient and organised so as not to finish in panic, frustration and embarrassment.
Selling is about many elements. The sales itself is a culmination of multi elements. Our next few blogs are about Objectives, Preparation and Organisation but we will need to discuss other elements later before we can sell successfully.
Just a quick point at this juncture. Do not skip these sections They are probably the most important sections sales. It is however my belief that sales are won and lost on the contents of this chapter. So many would consider that state of mind and the value we place on our physical being is unimportant. Words are powerful and choosing the wrong ones create bad communication particularly in emails. Your entrance to the client’s office, your opening lines, how your words on email are received, your mental state and your ultimate objective on a call ( be it physical or telephone ) will all create subconscious signs. Without really getting into the conversation you could have lost the sale already.
Objectives Preparation Organisation OPO
DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU ARE SELLING THE PRODUCT / SERVICE?
Traditional Selling maintains that if the salesperson is clever enough to say all the right product knowledge and operate a text book sale, he will be successful – Wrong –
Professionals know that the preparation put into understanding the customer and his/her enquiry is vital to success. Understanding the clients CRITICAL ISSUES and DISSATISFACTIONS and recognising the business opportunities that arise from them takes dedication, preparation and objective communication
This is the first real objective for the successful salesman.
Know why you are selling the product / service, know what you want to achieve, know what the buyer is likely to require and why – and finally compile a prepared plan to communicate successfully.
The second objective is to ensure the prospect can use what you sell.
If the prospect has no need for what you provide, this is not only dumb salesmanship, but dumb sales management. Hasn’t anybody ever heard of qualifying a prospect? If you want to make more money than ever before, you must manage your time effectively and only spend time with true prospects instead of people who are simply too polite to throw you out. You will never sell a meat cleaver to a florist, so why try. Know and understand your client’s requirements and why he would buy.
The third objective is to establish enough confidence with a prospect so that they will trust you.
It’s true that in general the sales person is psychologically viewed as someone who needs to be avoided. The cold caller in reception, the telephone caller in the middle of a business problem. Maybe the general feeling is that most prospects think sales people are a bunch of shameless, lying, self-interested individuals who will say or do anything for a sale, or perhaps it is just that they don’t have confidence in your company’s recommendation…your professionalism.
The fourth objective is to create the relationship that gets your prospects to really like you or your company.
I mentioned that I receive a lot of sales calls. One cold call telemarketer actually commenced his call,
“HI! I Sell accounting services. Have you completed your self assessment tax return yet?
“NO!” I responded sarcastically, “I was waiting for a total stranger like you to call me, why not come straight over for the order!”
Does this caller actually expect to make a living this way? He might make a few sales, but he will not have a successful career no matter how friendly he sounds over the phone.
The most successful selling mission meets the need to create an emotional bond between buyer and seller. The buyer has to care about you and he has to believe that you are nice enough to want to care about him.
An old verse I once saw went as follows –
I don’t know your company, I don’t know your product, I don’t know you,
I don’t know what you are selling; I don’t know why you called me
Now what do you want?
To summarise, the successful salesman know he has to improve on certain elements in order to lead to a successful close:
Know why you are selling the product/ service
What do you want to achieve at the end of the call
Know the possible needs of the buyer through good preparation
Create a prepared plan of communication
Uncover prospects who can afford what you sell,
Don’t waste time on prospects unless you have uncovered true needs for what you sell,
Build a company image of trust with references and other third party evidence.
.Establish an image of corporate friendship and warmth
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL OBJECTIVES IS TO COMMUNICATE THE SIZZLE.
Elmer Wheeler, in the 1940’s, was the originator of the least understood and most commonly heard expression “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak!”
Yet, less that 1% of all companies (those that are most successful and their sales-related staff) understand and follow this 100% guaranteed formula for success.
As you’ve heard many times, nobody needs petrol; they need something that will make their car move. Nobody needs a drill, they need a hole and there are hundreds of other commonly recited analogies that are verbalized and rarely utilized. Nobody needs a mailing list, they need quality communication, market knowledge, awareness and sales leads
Have you ever visited a house for sale where the ground coffee smells delicious and where the whole house has on every light and no mess exists? Have you ever passed a coffee shop where the bacon aroma comes on a breeze? Have you understood that it is the ambience of a restaurant that encourages diners to return each week and pay far more that the restaurant down the way?
Harley Davidson customers are not buyers; they are part of a family. The same can be said of the Ferrari buyer. These companies spend vast fortunes on “understanding” their individual buyers. Their whole philosophy is created by every employee. It’s not just the sales team that promote the company and care for the buyer – it’s the technical staff, the financial staff, the engineers, the cleaning ladies and everyone else. Buyers are made to feel “wanted and loved” and part of the family.
Prospects always want to buy into your expertise, your professionalism, your quality, in fact your whole company packaging. There will always be the buyer who buys on price but the real professional, the serious buyer buys into a loyal relationship with those he trusts.
Tell me, does your brochure, your website, your company’s philosophy, your own communication express that you care enough to make an impression, OR does your brochure and you sound like an average caller.
Every prospect, for whatever product/ service, wants to know “what’s in it for him “. Tell them up front, invite them in, give them the coffee aroma, let them smell the bacon, let them experience the ambience of YOU, then justify and build on it. But beware – be realistic. No false hopes or promises. It is of little value to build the desire only to fail on providing satisfaction. The attractive promises must be matched by the product or service given.
An example of this might be a raincoat. Certainly the most important element is to keep you dry. Guarantee that it will. Show him. Ask him to try it on, let him feel it. Then you can explain the way that it is made and why that creates practical benefits over others. Finally
Tell him why yours is guaranteed. Assure him that what you have stated is true since it is backed by your guarantee.
Let me quote another example. We have mentioned lawyers earlier. They are a breed who rely greatly on evidence, facts and logic BUT when in court they appear in front of a jury of human beings. People who make judgements on past and common experiences, on perception, on irrational likes and dislikes and on anecdotal evidence. BUT many lawyers rely on emotion and a play to conscience when they attempt to win over a jury. Logic is still there buy they realise a need to appeal to the human mind.
The salesman says to the .P.A that he would like her help. He plays to her experience and status, and he uses his personality. He does not state the company text book but gives her the benefits in an easy and compulsive manner offering to make special deals. She tells him to call in and see herself.
He calls and waltzes through a highly guarded reception by simply saying the P.A has asked him to call. Not text book but highly successful. He sells the sizzle in a way that is entertaining, appealing and attractive.
Text books do not make friends. High sounding jargon style language does not make friends. Simple, easy and inviting does. Sell the sizzle by showing an understanding of the prospect’s needs, whether by smell, sight, or voice. Give them something extra to others, show them that you and the company want them and everyone in the company sees them as friends of the family.
Communicate the ‘sizzle’ by continually reinforcing the benefits of the product you are selling.