I recently heard Blair Singer speak at a seminar in Barcelona. This blog post is a summary of my notes on his session on sales. He spoke of the importance of selling ability and its influence on your income, your promotions, your relationships and ultimately where you take your life.
Every sales process is essentially the following six steps:
- Find somebody with Money (“That guy looks good”)
- Approach and contact (“Hey, do you have a minute?”)
- Present and ask for the sale (“After 17 years experience with customers such as X, Y; I know our solution can be of help to you Mr Customer”)
- Handle objections (Turn No into Yes)
- First acknowledge the objection (“I understand that you are happy with the current product”)
- Second ask a question (“What are the existing levels of waste?”)
- Close (“Excellent, the product will leave our warehouse tomorrow first thing. Cash or credit card?”)
- Ask for Testimonial
- Before and after, story with numbers (“Before I met Conor I was unable to string 5 words together, now I regularly give powerful persuasive speeches and kids ask me for autographs”)
Most people’s best sales presentation is their explanation of why they haven’t sold anything. Most salesmen think they are finished at number 5 in the process.
Blair spoke of the “pipeline” and a need to understand the numbers.Roughly, 50 calls leads to 12 conversations, leads to 6 meetings, leads to 1 sale. It will differ between products and industries but essentially there is no world in which everyone you contact will buy. Every “no” is a step closer to the sale. Every “no” opens up a moment of power. Do not fear the “no”. Do not censor yourself to avoid having your buyer say “no”. Get the “no” and then begin your objection handling process.
Energy matters and you must learn how to give yourself energy. When you are full of energy you will be able to take more risks, go the extra mile, stay when others would leave. Celebrate all wins. Jim Rohn has a nice story called “The ant philosophy”. When do ants give up? Never. They will keep going until they find a way over, around or through the obstacle. The ant philosophy is a good philosophy for humans as well.
School has taught us to fear mistakes, to fear giving the wrong answer. If you did well in school, you learned to work in that system – don’t take responsibility, don’t be too visible and don’t ever make mistakes.
SPIN Selling is a great book on high value sales by Neil Rackham. Effective high value selling (over $100) is different than low value, single decision maker sales. The aggressive salesman may be able to sell plenty of low value product, but is a failure when there is an extended sales cycle and multiple buyer decision makers. In high value sales, the key success factor is to be able to coach your buyer to be able to sell your solution when you are not there – you must help the buyer verbalise the current problem, the urgency, the needs that must be fulfilled and then connect with why your solution best meets those needs.