I have just finished a five-hour sales training session for Go Local an Austin, Texas company that is licensing its program nationwide to encourage people to support their locally owned businesses and buy locally. This is a great marketing tool for businesses and reward system for new and existing customers. Even though some of the licensees had sales experience, their questions and concerns prompted me to put together this list of sales concepts that I consider critical to success.
It starts with agreeing with the first “golden rule”.
#1 Sales is all about giving the right someone an opportunity to buy what’s right for them.
Sales is not about “selling”, or about selling to any and every one, and that it is about selling to a real live person, not a company. If you want more sales conversions and more conversions bringing other converts, you may want to follow the other rules. These focus on getting more “gold” from each sales opportunity as well as set in motion after sales potential from “champion-advocate customers™”.
- Never take “No”, from someone who can’t say “Yes”.
- Be willing to tell a prospect (or an existing or former customer) that your product or service is “not right” for them or “not right for them at this time”. Honesty really has a huge payoff.
- Be patient. Most sales are made after the 8th contact. That doesn’t mean eight meetings necessarily. It can take you multiple tries to get a meeting or get one with the right person or persons.
- Your sales goal should be to go beyond customer satisfaction to customer passion. Passion makes people talk and want to share their good fortune. That turns your customer into your advocate or champion and makes the next sale easier and faster. I identify these people as “Champion-Advocate Customers™. They are extremely helpful when I need to give prospects someone to talk to who has been a client. They also send me referrals like them which I greatly appreciate.
- The best sales are face-to-face (or as I like to think of it “belly button to belly button”). Your business card, your website, and every other kind of advertising media stands in place of that. If you can see them, don’t miss the opportunity.
- You are always selling your company as well as your products and service. Good products do not out weigh a company that is badly run.
- And, this one is my absolute must. Have a proactive sales plan and then do it. If you are proactive, you don’t wait for prospects to call, you call on them first. To do it successfully, you need to do your homework. That means a Platinum Customer Profile™ to know whom you are looking for and identifying and selecting appropriate targets to go after. You have to go prepared knowing as much about them ahead of time as you can. When you are with them, listen, react to what they say, and ask questions based on what they said. Show them they matter. Don’t just sell, sell, sell.
Do you have sales rules for your sales staff? What helps you get and keep the right customers? I would love to pass your wisdom along to others.
I am very grateful for the people who have steered me in the right direction. Special thanks to Maury Coats (former head of the Texas Commission on the Arts and a great sales teacher), author Sharon Drew Morgen, and almost 30 years of the best clients one could ask for.
I want to encourage everyone who is interested in creating customer passion to consider attending the upcoming Usability Professionals Association International Conference on “Designing for Social Change” in Atlanta, June 21-24, 2011. I will be presenting a tutorial and a workshop on strategic alliances and attending as many sessions as I can. Usability issues can make or break a customer’s experience with your company, your website, and your products and services. You do not have to be a UPA member to attend, but you might want to join for the insights they can provide to make you more successful.
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