Almost everyone can use these simple principles to win more sales.
If there were such a thing as a sales success formula for those who are learning how to sell, it would have to have the flexibility to produce a different solution for every situation. Yet there are a few fundamentals that are often overlooked.
The following four practical principles and practices will help anyone increase their chances of winning more business.
1. Doing things right is a waste of time if you don't first choose the right things to do.
Or put in the positive, if you were selling bread and you had a list of hungry people, you might expect to make a sale or two. In fact if you call on an ideal prospect or just happen to be there with the right product when they are looking, it's hard to lose a sale.
If you have enough obvious value to offer, customers will even ignore body odour!
Apply intelligence to identify the right customers and timing so precisely that when you show up they say, "Funny you should call, I was just thinking about fixing that . . ."
Learn how to sell effortlessly by choosing customers who need what you sell right now.
2. Stop trying to sell. Instead, find those who need what you have.
Quite often prospective customers become obvious when you take the time to profile those who have already bought. What do your company's best customers look like? How do your closest competitors top customers compare? With this in mind, look around - survey the market place. Who else looks the same? If they look the same, they are likely to be grappling with similar issues to those that your product or service addresses. This is how to sell what people need.
3. Instead of pitching, prepare to have a grown up conversation.
Determine customer situations, needs, driving factors, obstacles, and resources. Become the customer's servant in pursuit of whatever is most pressing for the customer. If your stuff doesn't help, make an introduction to something or someone that can. If your stuff doesn't fit their current picture, don't waste energy trying to paint it. Sell your truthfulness and integrity.
4. Never, never, never give in.
Churchill put it well in the context of war. What he said was, "Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy". Note the 'get out' clause - "except to convictions of honour and good sense".
How to Sell Against Stronger Competitors
Selling may not be the same as war however, there are many similarities.
- There are normally one or more competitors.
- There can only be one winner.
- All competitors have limited resources.
Military wisdom has a lot to offer those who would learn how to sell. Once you have committed to win a sale (qualified in), hold nothing back. No half-hearted effort ever won a prize worth winning. Leave nothing undone and leave no effort excused. Out-think and out work all competitors.
"The reason competent commanders win victories, achieve outstanding success, and surpass ordinary people is that they know critical information in advance."
Sun Tzu (circa 400 BCE) Chinese general, monk, and sage.
Article by Clive Miller
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