This post was originally published on the Sales Bloggers Union here.
I love the posts by Dave Brock and Tibor Shanto this month – “Want To Sell More, Disqualify More!” and “So You Want To Sell More? It’s Easy!”. Tibor suggests better prioritization and time management and Dave suggests disqualifying prospects early so you have more time for the qualified ones.
Both are extremely worthy concepts and in my experience, the two most valuable and timeless ways to multiply selling results.
Allow me to attempt to take these two concepts to a philosophical plane please.
Selling is a profession that has taken its share of lumps over the years. Mostly due to the manipulative techniques oft employed. Don’t get me wrong… I love selling and I love sales people but, I believe that the failure of many sales people to raise their game and adopt the many tried and true techniques available to them right here on this blog and in countless books and training programs is that they can make the sales person feel manipulative.
What if we see the profession of selling as an act of kindness? We are helping customers find solutions to problems or paths to opportunity!
Your sales manager may not want to hear it but, if you go into each and every conversation with customers with the objective of identifying that customer’s greatest and most pressing need and helping them meet that need, good things are bound to happen.
I’m not just putting new, more altruistic labels on the same old tactics of asking leading questions to help the customer realize that they need what you’re selling. I’m suggesting that we’ve all been trained by society to think of what we do as manipulative but, it’s not.
So, if you want to sell more, leave all your preconceived notions about ABC (Always Be Closing) at home open your mind when you enter a meeting with your prospect or customer. Try making your sole goal to serve as a friend, trusted advisor or mentor for your customer.
Each and every core sales tactic can be re-imagined in this light and not much changes about the techniques but, everything changes in terms of the simplicity and attitude that you’re able to bring to the table, which leads to far more effective execution.
Such as bonding with the customer – we all know we should take time in the beginning of a conversation with the prospect to “get to know them”. How’s the wife?, kids?, etc. Of course, sometimes you get more than you bargained for. The sales person, knowing that they’re expected to report meaningful progress forward in the sales pipeline to their management, eventually feels compelled to cut the personal conversation short and direct it toward the potential purchase. Actually, the fact that the customer feels like talking about the wife or whatever indicates that they NEED to talk about that subject. Maybe they have some frustrations, fears or recent successes that are dominating their thoughts. What better way to establish a relationship of trust and respect with a customer than to just talk with them about what’s on their mind. Let them share their pride in their kid’s success. Listen to them if they just need to vent. You may run out of time before you get to talk about business and you won’t be able to tell your sales manager that you’re any closer to getting the order but, you’ll know that you can expect honest answers based on their trust in you from this customer in the future. That’s truly valuable.
What about qualifying or disqualifying? Well, if your goal is to listen carefully, ask probing questions and really understand what your customer needs the most, then you may find that they don’t need your product or service that badly. Fine. Give them your best recommendation for a solution that will fit their needs. Now you can spend more time with prospects that do need what you’re selling and this customer now sees you as someone they can trust. If things don’t work out with the solution you recommend for them or their needs change and your solutions are a fit for them, they’ll know it and they’ll truly want to do business with you.
So, you’re not a salesperson anymore are you? You’re just a very kind, understanding and helpful person. Trust me, people like to buy from those types of people.