…continued from Part I
Selling is not about convincing someone else to do something. This isn’t the Boiler Room or Glengarry Glen Ross. This is modern selling and modern selling is about three things:
- Relationships (the honest & sincere variety)
- Knowing your business
- Solving problems
These three principals apply regardless of the product in question.
We’ve all been sucked into in the stereotypical “used car” sales process. It is incredibly apparent that the salesperson in question does not give a shit about you, what your needs are or your decision timeline. She wants you to buy what she’s selling today and is prepared for any possible rejection. We’ve also been on the opposite side of the coin. We’ve met sales people who ask questions, express concern, display a willingness to work within your timing. This is what I mean about relationship selling and establishing a connection. Talk less, ask more. Caring about your customer cannot be faked and people can smell insincerity from a mile away. If that is not who you are that’s alright, I would just suggest a different career path.
Early in my career I worked for an executive leader at Sun Life Financial that had very high expectations. If you walked into his office with a problem he expected you to understand the cause of the problem and to present a detailed solution. Show up unprepared or unable to answer his questions and you would be met with a very direct dismissal in the form of, ‘come back when you “know your business”. That was a very valuable lesson that I am glad I learned early. Knowing your business means understanding what your product is and what it is not. Know your pricing and revenue structure. Know what your market differentiators are when competing. Also, be a student of your industry. Read the industry newsletters, follow the competitive landscape. An educated buyer is going to find benefit in a salesperson who brings broad industry knowledge to the table. Relationships are based on trust and credibility and knowing your business will help establish a buying relationship.
It’s our job as sales people to help the person making the buying decision look smart. Solving an organizational problem for the client is the easiest way to do that. It will make your client’s life better and give them something exciting to talk about at the next executive round table or quarterly meeting. For example, (here comes the obligatory plug for my own product) with Explorics we know that before many of our clients started using our platform they were spending hours compiling data from multiple sources, often into excel. By implementing our solution that time can now be redirected to other, more strategic efforts. Sales is about mutual benefit and by solving a problem for your clients you will feel great about the sale and so will your customer.
In summary, what I would like to say to early career sales people, regardless of the product in question, is that as long as you focus on developing your relationships in a sincere and genuine way, know your business and helping your clients solve problems you will be successful.
Thanks for reading and keep grinding!