Guest Column: Sales — It’s Not a Dirty WordFive points you should consider to improve bottom line
By Jamie Persse
Let’s face it. To many, “sales” seems like a dirty word. Wouldn’t it just be easier if we could put our product and service out there via social media and other advertising media in a passive manner, and get the phone to ring or have people knock our doors down to purchase what we offer?
It’s true that effective marketing may lead to a greater level awareness of your product and eventually to sales. In fact, management guru Peter Drucker once said, “The aim of marketing is to make sales superfluous.” Drucker’s point is well taken. Marketing should create the awareness of how your product or service can help solve a problem someone has. I believe it falls short at times on converting that awareness into action.
I’d like to offer you a view of sales that leaves you feeling more comfortable and at ease with how having a positive “sales attitude” can benefit your customers, and help you grow your bottom line.
Here are five key points to consider:
1. The Know, Like and Trust Factor: People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. Build rapport and credibility with your prospect. Teddy Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Get to know them, and let them get to know you. One of the reasons that “referral business” has a higher conversion rate from marketing to sales is simple: Someone has made a recommendation based on their personal experience with you or your company. So, they’ve done some of the legwork for you by recommending you.
2. Understand your customer: I’m sure you’ve heard it said — “it is better to understand than to be understood.” It starts with understanding your customer’s needs. Don’t assume you know why someone is coming to you. How do we do that? Ask probing questions. Seek to understand what “pain” they are trying to solve. Understand how your product or service going to leave them better than before? What was it that their last supplier didn’t satisfy for them? How did their needs go unmet? Truly valuing and satisfying the needs of your customer is critical in developing long-term customer relationships.
3. Sales is about the heart: Sales is Influence. It starts with a heart check. Do you truly believe that you can help someone satisfy his or her needs? You are a provider of a product or service that has the potential to satisfy someone’s pains, needs and wants. Your job is to inspire your prospect to a point of taking action with you. Do it ethically and with integrity. Do it with high character. Believe that your “product” can serve your customer’s needs, and convey that confidently. Again, constantly ask yourself, how is your product or service going to leave them better than before? And for the love of Pete, if your product won’t satisfy their need, don’t say it will!
4. Go for the Win-Win: The negative stigma in sales comes from the perception of who is going to “win” in the transaction. I heard it long ago that one of the greatest fears people have is that someone is going to take something from them that they have, or not give them what they want. Fostering a win-win atmosphere leads to a greater customer experience, and likely, more repeat and referral business. This only happens when both parties come away from the “sale” having their needs met. Again, understanding your customer’s needs is critical to meeting that need! Zig Ziglar once said, “If you help enough people get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.”
5. Fulfill the Promise: Once someone has bought from you, they are expecting that your product or service will satisfy their need, both now and in the future. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. If anything, under promise and over deliver. In a lot of industries, follow up with your customer after the sale can provide you extremely valuable feedback. Don’t neglect that feedback! Think of the cash register experience at your latest visit to a fast food joint. On the receipt is usually a number or website where they ask you to share your experience with them. Could this lead to a greater and more fulfilling experience for your customer? Sure, it could. It could also provide you with some valuable information to make the tweaks necessary to ensure your continued success.
Remember, nothing happens until something is sold. Without sales, there is no service, no accounting, no operations, etc. You need customers; otherwise you have no one to serve.
As I usually say in my articles, these are not earth shattering and new ideas. Sometimes, it’s just back to mastering the basics. Just turning the wheel one notch can often yield great results..
• Jamie Persse is an executive coach, corporate trainer, and leadership and professional development consultant with JC Persse Consulting. He can be reached by emailing Jamie@jcpersseconsulting.com or visit www.jcpersseconsulting.com.
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