The world really is a wonderful place ripe with experiences and opportunities. Every action and decision we make will do one of three things. It can make the world better, worse, or perhaps it is neutral with no real impact (debatable). Every decision we make should go through this filtering process; will this make something better, worse, or perhaps it is insignificant. This isn’t meant to spark a philosophical debate, but rather to give us a rudimentary decision tool. This should be no exception for sales in general.
To sell something really well you must believe in it. It would be hard to imagine trying to sell someone something that you yourself couldn’t be persuaded to purchase, but this does exist often. If you believe in what you are selling then you are confident that it will either solve a problem or make the customer feel good about themselves or their purchase. Presto! You have now made the world a better place. It is unfortunate that most sales processes do not follow this simple method. The result is that the marketplace regards us as suspects just for having the term ‘sales’ in our titles, prospects put up near-impossible barriers, we don’t love what we do and we don’t reach our goals.
Many salespeople struggle to love their job quite often because of a lack of training, process, strategy and culture. These four aspects are rarely mutually exclusive. Salespeople will often take this out on their clients and prospects with poor discovery, presentations, delivery and customer experience. Ergo you are not making the world a better place, you either made very little difference or, more than likely, you made the world even worse. You, quite possibly, can recall a time when you had a selling opportunity that would have made the world a better place and you blew it. It happens to all of us at one time or another.
All salespeople are problem solvers in one form or another, but we forget this crucial role we play for our customers. This happens when we are following our own agenda instead of our prospects and customers. The stress of deadlines, goals, lack of sales support, tough economic times, rejection (and the list goes on) puts salespeople into survival mode while neglecting the problem solving approach they should take. Do whatever you have to do to make the sale, right? When this goes unchecked for a long period, we develop terrible sales techniques and habits that are hard to break. Even when we see that we are no longer getting results. We have lost our way and we are too proud or frightened to ask for help. So, now not only is the world not a better place, but you are also left feeling unfulfilled.
So, how can you make the world a better place through sales? One of the most humbling concepts that you must constantly remind yourself of is that not everything is about you. It is about who you serve. Who do you serve? Your customer, your company, your product, your service and your integrity. All salespeople must become servants if they intend to be fulfilled and successful. You must also examine your process. Is it self serving (features and benefits) or is it supportive (meeting the client at their need). Below are the 4 basic steps you should follow to course correct to get back on track to making the world a better place through sales.
Listen – This is the most fundamental skill every salesperson must have. We like to think we execute this well, but do you truly believe that you are in listening mode, or are you just in a holding pattern waiting to say what you want to see. Let the customer be heard and you will have your chance to share your responses and the appropriate time to move the sale along.
Understand – It isn’t enough to listen to what is being said, but it must be mentally digested. Understanding is a much different skill than listening because it involves the processing of information. The two simplest methods to improve your understanding is to write down and reread the information that is being shared with you and repeat it back to the customer. This creates high levels of clarity and comfort for both the salesperson and the customer.
Seek out the fit – This is a big moment of truth for salespeople. Did you really listen and do you believe that you have the solution or are you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We have all done it at least once in our sales career. Understanding the needs of a client and matching it with precision is sometimes more impressive than exceeding expectations. Getting something right the first time without having to overcompensate is the result of a masterful salesperson.
Deliver the customer experience – This is more than just doing what you said you were going to do. On time delivery, quality and price are nothing more than baseline expectations. Making the process feel good to the customer is where the sweet spot in sales can be found. We do this through good communication and making the customer feel like they are the most important thing at all times no matter what. The process is simple, but the work is hard.
At Scorecard, we are passionate about the nobility of sales as a profession. We strive to make the world a better place through sales and invite you to reinvent your sales culture and your craft. Here’s a great first step: take our Power Score Assessment to find out where you are and where you want to go. It’s a great world – make it a better place through sales.