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Sales Technique Article - The 2 Step Path to Sales Success
© Matt Drought
Sales has become complicated. A simple search in the books section on Amazon reveals over 18,000 books dedicated to the subject.
Yet, sales doesn't have to be complicated. It is in fact easy - when you get the basics right.
It is said that most concepts in life can be broken down into two simple steps. For example, the two steps to boxing is:
1) Hit, and
From there it's simply a matter of doing those two basics better than anyone else.
The same goes for sales. Here are the two simple steps:
1) Gather valuable information
If you do those two things better than anyone else on the prospect's radar, you will win the business.
Let's have a closer look at how you go about doing this:
1. Gather valuable information
There are two types of information you can gather on a client:
a. Information in the public domain
Sales peak performers will take the time to research key facts about a company that will help them to understand what the company is up to. The main areas of a website I find most useful are company reports (if a public company - particularly the exec summary at the front); the about us page; a blog if they have one and most importantly the people page.
If you can get an understanding of the person you are about to call (try googling their name) then that is the best information you can get. Don't forget Dale Carnegie's famous words "There is no sound as sweet to another person as their own name."
b. Information not in the public domain
While public domain information is useful, its use is diminished by the fact that your competitors will also have access to it. A better way to gather information is via strategic questioning skills. Questioning skills are highly undervalued by most salespeople - yet they are simply the most important skill a sales person can have.
What do you think of someone who asks you a stupid question? (No need to answer that out loud). Now what do you think of someone who asks you a professional, intelligent question? Society rates very highly people who are able to ask intelligent questions. Look to the world of entertainment (Michael Parkinson), journalism (Jeremy Paxman) and psychology (Paul Britton) if you are in any doubt about this.
The better we can get at asking professional, credible questions the more prospective clients will value us, appreciate that we are not calling from a call centre and give us their time more readily.
2. Solve a problem
We all have business problems. Here are mine: I need to move offices but can't afford the time to look around; I need a dedicated telesales person and can't afford the time to interview, nor do I want to pay a recruiter a huge fee; I need a new colour printer but don't trust the printer market anymore after being let down a few times; I need to completely re-write our website but can't find the time to write a good brief; I find it hard to find the time to keep my blog up to date.
You have your own problems. So do your prospects. Everyone does. The key to selling (after you have gathered the right information) is to solve problems. This means articulating the solution in exact terms that are going to thrill (not just mildly please) the prospect. It also means focusing just on their specific problem, and not talking about all the other wonderful ways you can help them one day in the future (prospects don't like that, they want to go on a date before getting married).
Steps to solving a problem:
Again we run workshops that help with this. Our spoken presentation skills workshops are all about focusing on your key messages and articulating them to the client with the aim of great clarity and creating understanding.
Sales doesn't have to be complicated. You will absolutely make more sales if you focus on being the best you can be at gathering information and solving problems. Continually working on these basic, yet crucial, skills will ensure a brilliant selling career.
By Matt Drought, Director of Natural Training (www.naturaltraining.com)
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