THE FORMULA FOR SELLING ANYTHING
After a fantastic Sales career across many industries including Marketing, Software, Recruitment and Training, I have realized that there truly is an ‘art’ and a ‘science’ to the profession of Sales. The ‘Art’ includes possessing all the competencies required to be successful, which at its basic level is people skills, do people like you and warm to you? The science is the exciting part. There are certain tools and techniques that you can use for selling anything such as building rapport, asking effective questions, presentation techniques, networking techniques, closing techniques etc. However, I have also noticed there is another layer of tools and techniques that Sales people can use to be successful in the profession across all industries and literally be able to sell anything, even with no previous experience. These are:
UNDERSTAND HOW BUSINESS WORKS- All CEO’s want to grow their business and be profitable. They will only invest in products and services then that either ‘make them money’, ‘save them money’ or ‘mitigate risk’. Therefore position whatever product you’re selling to highlight these points. For example when I was selling the best graduates for junior level sales positions, I said to my clients that I can help them:
MAKE MONEY- I only select the best graduates in the country who possess the competencies needed to become a successful sales person for your business and therefore maximize the revenue of your company.
SAVE MONEY- Hiring graduates is considerably more cost effective than hiring costly, experienced sales people.
MITIGATE RISK- I train the graduates using a proven method, which will teach them what they need to cold-call, book meetings, generate leads and CLOSE. I also use proven personality profiling tools to get the best matches for Sales In the first place.
You can change this formula to suit any product you’re selling and encourage any customer to buy. It becomes a very strong argument and one a potential customer will listen to.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CLIENT’S BUSINESS– Selling is all about ‘them’ and not about ‘you’. If you can talk about the developments in their industry and how your product or service can help them with these changes, then you will be in a stronger position to sell. This is not difficult. When I’m selling to a marketing director, I read ‘marketing weekly’ and attend marketing events. When I’m selling to a software company, I read IT literature and use LinkedIn sales navigator, follow twitter and use google alerts to keep me up to date with the latest changes. I also scan every potential customer’s website and LinkedIn profile for 2 minutes to understand what they do….who they sell too…what their objectives are etc. What you’ll find is most company objectives are the same! They want to be better than their competitors, they want to attract new customers, they want to retain the ones they’ve got, they want to establish a good reputation and they want to be seen as leaders in the industry. They also want to be perceived in a positive light and most importantly they want to make money and be profitable and deliver a great customer service. If you can tailor your products and services to these objectives, you’re half way there!
UNDERSTAND PEOPLE– In the profession of Sales, you are never selling to a company; you are selling to a ‘person’. I think most people forget this and they miss out the crucial human element in the profession of Sales. “People buy from people they like and trust” and “people like people like themselves”. With the rise of social media especially LinkedIn, it is now very easy to understand more about the people you are selling too, which will help with building rapport (often the most crucial part of the sales process). If you can discuss topics, which are of interest to the person you are meeting and speak to them in the way they would most appreciate, then they definitely will work with you. There are 4 main language styles that people prefer to be communicated with and you can conduct a quick IMA personality profiling questionnaire here to find out more about your type and how you can adapt your behavior to suit other types…type in the following…. ima-connecting.com ….and conduct the 30 second questionnaire to learn what style you prefer. The good news is you can adapt your style to suit different people, meaning there truly is a formula for selling anything to anyone.
“YOU HAVE 2 EARS AND 1 MOUTH, USE THEM IN THAT ORDER”- When I started my first software sales job, I had never sold software before and to be honest I didn’t have much of a clue about the industry at that time. I was very nervous before my first meeting; however I soon realized that my lack of knowledge became my biggest gift when it came to selling. I had no choice but to ‘shut up’, ask the client questions and try and pick up what was happening in the meeting and what they wanted along the way. This was the secret to my success. I listened and listened very carefully. I wrote down nearly every word they were saying and when I repeated back what I understood they wanted, they were suitably impressed. Suddenly they had found a sales person who really understood their needs, had listened to every word they said and would go back and see if they had a solution. I asked questions about their challenges, how this impacted them as a business with meeting their objectives and what they needed to solve their problem. This is the classic SPIN technique. I then went back to my technical team to see if we could help and if we could, then amazing! I had built great rapport with the client and they wanted to work with me. If we apply this technique to every business, you can start to understand how this is a great technique for selling anything.
I truly believe that if you tailor the whole sales process to be about your client’s objectives and you have a product or solution that fits their needs, then you have a formula for selling any product or service to any company.