Posts Tagged ‘Sales’
What sales maxim do you hold to be most true? This past week I had the opportunity to personally witness how the violation of this code of sales behavior turned me away from one vendor to another. Let me explain.
Believing in adopting a rescued dog from the local animal shelter, I stopped by and looked at the available dogs. The executive director told me there were a couple of 3 month old puppies at a national pet chain store. This national pet chain store works with local human societies and allows them space to showcase dogs and cats for adoption.
So I decided to stop by and saw a puppy that appeared to met our breed and size criteria. I went to the car to call my husband to see if he approved and was met by another human society just outside of the store. Their puppies were an acceptable breed and I was almost ready to pick one up when one volunteer said “We are the better human society.” I smiled and continued to my car where I called my husband. He said “It’s up to you” and I went back in and adopted the 3 month old puppy.
Years ago my father shared this sales maxim with me “Never, never knock the competition, no matter what you know.” Dad went on to explain his reasoning with “By engaging in this sales behavior, you as a salesperson will begin to establish distrust and turn potential customers or clients away.”
Then I had the opportunity to visit a local veterinarian as one of the technicians had a dog kennel for sale. I asked her what made this clinic different? She responded very positively with “All our vets are men and we spend more time with each patient.” We then talked a little more about a vaccine against rattlesnake bite and she presented me with a card for a free visit. What this wise lady did was to be positive and not knock the competition. She earned my first visit.
Knocking the competition is a dangerous behavior and one that should be avoided at all costs. Let others fail to heed this sales maxim as plenty do. Be above the fray. Remember the Socrates Three Filters if you are ever in a discussion about your competitors:
- Is what you say kind?
- Is what you say truthful?
- Is what you say necessary?
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How many times do those in B2B or even B2C industries fail to understand customer service is sales. A new report just released by Astound Commerce through secret shoppers recognized seven retailers who excel in customer service through:
- Must have website
- Overall customer service
- Speed of delivery
- Efficiency of checkout
One of the top seven performers was The Home Depot. I know from personal experience this firm understands how serving the customers within the store will increase sales. Here in Valparaiso IN, the store has hired certified and licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters to assist customers with their questions. Even though my husband is an engineer, he has been advised by these professional tradesmen of better ways to do home improvement as well as some of the new products.
For example, toilets for years had a wax ring that attached to the bottom of the toilet and closet flange. Over time the wax dries out and cracks. Several years ago through the plumber at Home Depot, my husband learned of a neoprene boot that is attached to the bottom of the toilet and then fits past the closet flange. The end result is a far better seal and one that does not not replacement. The cost of a wax ring under $5.00 versus the cost of the neoprene boot around $15.00. Husband spent $30 instead of $10 has he replaced not just one wax ring, but two.
Today I read Home Depot’s quarterly earning were ahead of expectations. Much of this was due to improved housing market and I also believe much was due to increase sales by loyal customers.
All SMBs have a 7-step-sales-process-advsys Within these 7 steps are third phases:
The third and final phase of keeping is one where both salespeople and customer service people work to keep those loyal customers.
Yes customer service is sales and if as a SMB owner or sales professional you forget this simple fact, you may be exposing yourself decreasing sales, declining profits and increasing stress.Share on Facebook
The marketplace is filled to the brim with sales training, sales books to sales coaches. Yet at the end of the day, what is sales truly about?
My father taught me sales was about buying. You as the salesperson had to build a relationships between you and the prospective buyer or even center of influence to be successful. He believed focusing on selling was a big error and allowed the ego to interfere in the buying/selling bridge. Maybe that is why he shared these two buying rules with me.
#1 – People buy from people they know and trust.
#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.
In the ensuing years I added a third buying rule based somewhat on the Theory of Self Determination (Deci and Ran) along with the works of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Dr. Gordon Allport that being:
#3 People buy on value unique to them.
The reason I asked the question of “What is sales truly about” is because there is so much focus on the behaviors of the salespeople, the behaviors including motivation of the buyers are often ignored. What happens is the seller gets fairly wrapped up in his or her own ego, the mind is filled with a lot of next step triggers and the actual buying process takes a backseat to the selling process. When this happens, earning the sale becomes far more difficult.
Here is where some sales objections happen as well as where stalls pop up. Now the seller must work far harder to convert the reluctant buyer.
This is why I believe top sales performers naturally know to stay quiet and to focus on the prospect. These individuals also appreciate the autonomy within the Theory of Self Determination and then leverage their knowledge of DISC theory as developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston.
Zig Ziglar recognized what sales is truly about when he said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” That transference always begins with the buyer.Share on Facebook
So what’s your purpose if you are in sales, leadership or some other role? People are so busy working IN their lives, they fail to stop and take a step back to work ON their lives.
When we understand our individual purpose, we gain clarity and this supports us as we move intentionally forward.
Isn’t it funny we use words all the time and think we know what they mean? Take the word purpose. This word has Latin roots but is viewed as an Anglo-French word of “purpos” meaning intention, aim or goal.
This definition of intention, aim or goal makes sense when we remember the scene in the story Alice in Wonderland as she comes across the Cheshire Cat sitting in the tree. Below the tree are several paths.
She politely asks the Cat “Which path should I take?” The Cat then replies with a question: “Where are you going?” Alice answers: “I do not know.” So the Cat quickly responds: “Well, then any path will take you there.”
Alice lacked clarity around her intention, her aim or her goal. This lack of clarity ended up, if you remember the story line, with her unintentionally attending the croquet game where the Queen of Hearts was yelling “Off with their heads.”
Not knowing your aim in life may have you ending up in a similar nightmarish situation.
So where does this step backward start? Schedule some time in your calendar to reflect. Travel back through your life and see if there is any recurring theme specific to your behaviors.
Also, this secondary question of “What gifts do I bring to the Table of Life?” may further assist you to gain greater clarity. Your gifts many times are your talents.
If your life is not where you want it to be, if your results are not where you want them to be and you are tired of encountering the Queen of Hearts, then invest some time for self-improvement by constructing your purpose.
Don’t know your talents, then this quick (under 10-12 minutes) assessment may be your second step forward.Share on Facebook
An amazing characteristic about all the top sales performers I know is they sell what they have. These high earning salespeople do not attempt to change the buyer’s situation.
Or you are a realtor and have approached a seller. Instead of looking at the home for what it offers, you suggest the homeowner needs to make thousands of dollars that will not generate increase the asking price given the comparables. Your advice appears to make the home easier to sell for you so you can earn a commission at the expense of the homeowner.
Consider a salesperson who sells IT services to a small and mid-size businesses. For his solution to work, the buyer must make thousands of dollars in changes before even purchasing the salesperson’s solution. Does this make sense?
Possibly in these instances, the salespeople thought they were being helpful, but they weren’t. Some might even suggest by requesting the buyer to change they were being lazy, they were not selling what they have.
Years ago I sold pipe, vales and fittings. In many instances what the buyer wanted I did not have. When I could provide alternates that met engineering specifications, I would offer those. At no time did I suggest to the customer, to change the specifications even if I thought the specifications were “overkill.” I sold what I had and sometimes I was not able to sell what I had.
When salespeople fail to sell what they have, they may be losing incredible sales opportunities. Of course to sell what they have does require knowing what they have. If you want to be among the top sales performers, ask yourself:
- Do I know that I have be it tangible inventory to intangible solutions?
- Am I expecting the buyer to change to accommodate me?
“Salespeople have a higher meaning.”
Kimla was discussing how those in sales have been viewed less than positively when being compared to other professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc. He then added his rationale for this “higher meaning.”
“Salespeople produce wealth and peace.”
His two statements gave me pause. I had never thought of sales in those connected terms.
Possibly the reason I had not thought in those connected terms is my economic and altruistic drivers are low compared to my other motivational drivers of knowledge, independence and leadership. Note: The Values Index is a great tool to identify basic motivational drivers.
From a knowledge perspective, when we in sales provide solutions to wants or needs and those solutions meet those wants and needs, we are producing peace. Depending upon the intensity of the results from those solutions, we not only produce wealth for ourselves, but for our customers.
Your Purpose Statement and Higher Meaning
Upon further reflection, remember I said I have a high knowledge motivational driver, I realized my purpose statement indirectly reflected Kimla’s higher meaning. As I look to be a “trailblazer,” I am willing to tackle the difficult tasks before my clients must experience them. That is the peace part.
As to the wealth, I am always focused on a positive return on investment for my clients. Here is the wealth piece.
Those in sales do receive considerable negative attention. Yet professional salespeople are in high demand because nothing happens until something is sold.
Possibly forward thinking sales professionals such as Kimla may help all in sales to view themselves differently. As the noted French author Marcel Proust said:
“The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.”
Kimla provided an opportunity for those in sales to do just thatShare on Facebook
Everyone is in sales. Mothers sell eating healthy to their children. Teachers sell learning to their students. Business owners sell their vision to their customers both internal and external. Sales people sell their products and services to potential customers.
A recent survey indicated that the number one open position within the United States business arena is sales. Companies are looking for salespeople who are competent and want to sell. They really want leaders who truly love sales.
With my clients, finding an performance driven salesperson is a continual challenge. Many who sell want an annual salary and fear the commission only position. Yet, it is in this type of selling position that a truly great salesperson will excel. As another client has said many times “When you are hungry, you will hunt.”
Is selling easy? The answer to that question is simply “It all depends.” Selling products or services demands specific skill sets including: communication, creativity, decision making, goal setting, marketing and problem solving just to name a few.
Learn more about a powerful assessment that will let you know about your own selling skills.
However, the most crucial skill in selling is being able to relate to people and discover what they are not saying. Some define this ability building rapport, but it is much more. I believe this is all about having authentic emotional intelligence as reflected through empathy. To leverage this skill demands that your energies are continually pointed at the customer and not at you.
Empathy has been demonstrated to separate top sales performers from average ones. And, yes empathy can be developed provided you are willing to let go of your ego and become an authentic leader who readily gives of herself or himself.Share on Facebook
Funny think about sales, many people lack crystal clear clarity. These are the salespeople that scurry around B2B networking events, who stumble when ask what they do, and who complain about the inability to increase sales.
Many salespeople as well as SMB owners think they lack the tools, the skills, the leads, the network of connections. Never do they recognize what is limiting their business growth, their professional growth and their personal growth is crystal clear clarity.
Clarity Is Not Easy
The challenge with clarity is it is not easy. We are conditioned to see the same landscape with the same eyes. So we seek other landscapes instead of changing our eyes or our lenses to see what is right in front of us. This is quite evident by the lack of follow-up in sales.
Clarity Begins at Home
The old expression of charity begins at home can also be applied to clarity. Finding clarity in our own lives beginning with our purpose is the first step before seeking clarity in our professional lives or SMBs.
An Outside Perspective Required
Even for the most forward thinking leaders, they have probably have reached out to mentors, colleagues and even hired executive coaches to achieve that outside perspective. As we are creatures of conditioning, we are unable to see the forest for the trees. An outside viewpoint allows us to move up the mountain, to SEE the 30,000 viewpoint and then the impact of that perspective at SEA level or the trees.
The First Step
If you truly want to increase sales, then the first step is to gain crystal clear clarity. This begins with assessing what is happening right now in your life. From the results of that assessments or assessments, you can gain the clarity needed for exceptional execution of your actions. As the old expression goes, a “physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient” (Sir William Osler), the same can be said about a salesperson who assesses himself or herself.
Call or text Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 and invest 2 hours to gain incredible crystal clear clarity that will improve your sales execution.
You can schedule a quick phone call to gain greater insight in what these 2 hours look like by clicking HERE.Share on Facebook
Sales differentiation is not an easy task. With the Internet and all the experts in marketing (branding), having a unique message requires considerable work as well as having the ability to change as the market changes.
Yesterday I received a handwritten postcard from a realtor. I was impressed by this direct mail marketing effort.
In today’s busy world, sending a handwritten piece of correspondence is sales differentiation. I have received dozens of direct mail postcards during the last several months, but this was the first hand written one. However, the message was not different even though I believe the realtor thought she was being different.
This realtor wrote “Let me prove to you that I’m the realtor who will take care of you and get your house SOLD not just listed.”
First, this realtor failed to do her homework. Had she invested a few moments of time in doing some quick sales lead online research she would have learned of my background in sales.
Second, before I responded I did my research and learned she was not even on LinkedIn. Most of the realtors who had contacted me in the past were either not on LinkedIn or not active.
Sales Coaching Tip: Most sales professionals in B2B along with many in B2C are on LinkedIn.
Third, the business model for this particular realtor is the same as the super majority of other realtors. Listing the house is the priority not selling the house.
Given this realtor said she found the house on Zillow and if she read the information, she would have noticed the following statement “We will cooperate with realtors.” This statement means we are willing to pay a sales commission if a realtor brings a qualified buyer who makes an offer.
Fourth, possibly the most serious sales marketing (messaging) mistake is not recognizing that today’s home sellers are more educated than in the past. The sales data in the real estate market suggest anywhere from 80-90% of all homes sold are sold by another real estate firm not the listing firm. With much of the marketing being free, receiving 50% of the standard 5-6-% commission does not make sense to the educated seller.
Thinking you are different in sales is not the same as being different. To truly Be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits requires any salesperson to be ahead of the market flow not in it or worse yet behind it.Share on Facebook
Sometimes in sales, people confuse energy with passion. What ends up happening is the passion sounds like a sales pitch.
When salespeople infuse emotional intelligence into their sales conversation, they now are delivering empathetic energy. Empathy is a measurable talent and can be further developed through emotional intelligence as well as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Low energy does not sell. Misplaced high energy also does not sell.
What does sell is energy that focuses on the sales lead (prospect) with a underlying caring desire. President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
This does not mean the salesperson must be “touchy feely.” What it does mean is to recognize that people buy from people they know and trust. By demonstrating your knowledge and you are trustworthy, reinforces this first sales buying rule.
Of course you must believe in your solution. However your belief, your passion must not overwhelm your ideal customer. This is when your energy is still very visible, but is not viewed as the all too common sales pitch.
Empathetic energy can be quiet and still high. A smile, a nod, a well placed remark all contribute to this type of sales behavior. The goal is always to build the relationship while also demonstrating your understanding of the current situation.
Being prepared is another aspect of empathetic energy. Anticipating what the sales lead may ask and having that document or documents ready again reflects your knowledge and credibility.
Choosing words that reinforce empathy and are not judgmental also reflects this type of energy. Words such as think, should and especially need all contain a perception of judgment. The last sales behavior any salesperson should strive for is verbally judging the sales lead.
In your next sales communication experience, listen to yourself. Possibly to increase sales, you may wish to decrease the sales pitch passion and increase your empathetic energy?
Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps of people and process that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.Share on Facebook