Sales can sometimes be perceived as a complex profession. A salesperson must have a complete grasp of the myriad of features and benefits of all the products they sell, the markets they work in, the processes their employers use to service customers, and many other things. And that does not even take into consideration the emotional component of selling and the pressure that comes with this profession. Upset customers, sales budgets, managing vendor issues, and anxieties associated with prospecting for new business opportunities to name a few. All of this and more can build on that perception of complexity, but your journey through your sales career can be simplified and more profitable if you focus on these three simple thoughts.
Be Sincere. You can’t fake your way through a successful sales career. You can try, we’ve all met or worked with salespeople that have tried to do just that. It usually catches up with them. Acting like you care about a customer’s issues, acting like you’re listening during sales conversations, acting like you want to help a customer’s business, while your real desire the whole time is to sell products and deposit commission checks is certainly one way of doing it, but I would argue that sincerity matters. You must sincerely want to help people and their businesses, sincerely want to build relationships, and sincerely want to strive to be a professional. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” and that is true – you can’t fake that.
Find Problems to Solve. There are some psychological factors that affect people in buying situations. Current dissatisfaction and future promise motivate buyers while cost and fear inhibit buyers. Ideally you want to maximize what motivates buyers and minimize what inhibits them to act. Current dissatisfaction is uncovered by discovering problems and issues presently being experienced by the buyer or their company. Sometimes buyers will be upfront and open about their problems and other times you must dig using questions to help uncover and foster the communication necessary to fully explore them. The point is, don’t use your time in a sales call to try and sell somebody something, instead identify problems and demonstrate how you are uniquely positioned to solve the problems. This approach intuitively will start to alleviate the negative impact of cost and the fear of change on a buyer’s mindset.
Be Confident in your Price to Solve Problems. In my experience, salespeople tend to put a higher point of emphasis on price than their customers do. I’m not suggesting the price of your products is not important…it is. Although it is important, it’s rarely the main factor in a buyer’s overall decision-making process. A salesperson’s anxiety over price can cause a lack of confidence when the time comes to deliver their price to a customer. This lack of confidence makes salespeople susceptible to demands by customers for discounting, price matching, etc. It reminds me of a phrase I recently heard: When you realize what you are worth, you will quit giving people discounts.
There you have it, don’t get caught up in the complexities of your sales process. Keep it simple, be sincere, fully explore customer’s problems, effectively communicate how your company is uniquely qualified to solve the problem and be willing to stand by your price. Happy Selling!!