Archive for May 2014
WHY YOU NEED TO BE SELLING MORE!
Sales are an essential part of any business. Sales determine your profits and your profits in the end will determine if your business has staying power. It has been estimated that current success rate of new business started by entrepreneurs is less than 25%. A recent venture capital firm published a report stating they predicted success rates of new businesses to be 17%. As I prepared this article I found similar statistics for success rates of people working for companies as sales people. The average close rates are generally between 2 – 3 clients for every 10 appointments they are making. All of these statistics are a reflection of a how challenging business can be. It’s not enough to have a good idea or a good product to sell. You have got to learn how to sell it. The good news is that sales is a learned skill. Anyone can learn how to sell better and as they do they will see direct improvements in profits, productivity and even time off.
What is selling? To get better at selling it may be best to begin by understanding what selling is. A definition I recently found in the dictionary is that selling is the invitation to exchange money or resources for a specific good or ser- vice. This definition is 100% correct. But it will not lead you to becoming a top seller. Top sellers define selling a little differently.
Here’s my definition: Selling is discovering what it is that a prospect is seeking to buy and then providing value in such a way that they are willing to pay for it.
Let’s explore this definition for a moment. I chose the wording specifically because it illustrates a few elements of the decision making process that happens for your prospect when they buy.
Selling is discovering: The selling process starts with work from you. The process requires preparation on your part. It is not enough to assume that you have what the prospect wants or needs. You have got to understand that you are on a mission of discovery. How have you prepared?
What is it that the prospect is seeking: In this discovery process you must be very alert to what the prospect is seeking. The more actively they are seeking for the what the easier the selling process will be. Prospects are always seeking to solve their biggest problems. In your discovery process it is essentially that you identify the biggest problems that your product or service solves. If you can’t articulate the problem clearly to your prospect they won’t understand how you provide what they are seeking. What problem are they trying to solve?
Seeking to buy: Too often novice sales people spend a lot of time and effort trying to convince a prospect to buy. By that I mean they spend time trying to take a product and convince the prospect that it is the right one. As a result the salesperson does most of the talking and spends all their time trying to make the product fit the prospect.
Top sales people instead understand that people don’t like to be sold, but they do like to buy. Top sellers find out what the prospect has bought in the past, and why and what they are ready to buy next and they try to bring the prospect what they are ready to buy. What are they ready to buy?
Providing value: The strongest sales people know that providing value always comes before asking for the sale. You have to give to get. In some ways you could compare this to the sample table at a grocery store. Once a customer has tried a sample they understand the value that the product brings and they crave more. Too many small businesses think that their value is obvious to everyone and they would only be losing money to provide value up front. My experience has been that those companies are missing out on a lot of sales from prospects that are simply unaware of how that company could fit into their lives. Once a prospect can visualize or experience the benefit of a product or service in their life they generally can’t do with out it. How are you currently delivering value prior to a sale? (Just a side note: Top organizations understand that val- ue must proceed the sale, continue through the sale and beyond. I have also found that the more value you de- liver the less you will be prospecting for new customers. Providing value pays!)
Willing to pay for it: As I have worked with beginning sellers, asking for the money or closing the sale is often one of the hardest things to do. Yet when prospects feel like they are understood, given excellent solutions, ready to buy and delivered value they won’t fight paying for it. They are willing to do so, in fact often happy to do so. Naturally learning how to close is still an important skill that can be learned, but when a customer is approached for money when a sale is set up right things go much smoother. Your customer is willing to pay! Selling correctly is easier and more profitable for your business. With that profitability you will experience freedom and opportunity to make your business the best it can be. Make a commitment to spend time learning the art of selling and see your business thrive.