Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Facts and Falacies About Selling: Falacy #8:

Falacy #8: Don't call yourself a salesperson.

Salespeople feel that a title such as, marketing representative and other high-sounding titles make them more acceptable.

Reality: True professionals rarely object to others calling them a salesperson. Some retailers teach their salespeople to say, “We’re not on commission.” This discredits our profession. The implication here is that “being on commission” is somehow bad for the buyer. It isn’t. Ineffective salaried salespeople still ask customers, “Can I help you?” Most of them can’t help at all. They consistently give customers a “guided tour” of the merchandise or, worse, ask the customer to browse to their heart’s content and let me know if I can help.

Customers want salespeople who provide genuine assistance in the buying decision not those trying to impress with their “expertise” or knowledge. This phenomenon is not limited to retail sales. In hundreds of interviews, we’ve heard average and low-producers content, “You give me a good customer and I’ll make the sale every time.”

Persuading the prospect to buy is not, in their view, their responsibility. Average producers genuinely believe high-producers are “lucky” or are the boss’s favorites who get all the “good leads.”

Two of the most effective salespeople we’ve encountered are on commission and provided us with expert assistance. In less than five minutes, one moved us away from higher-priced merchandise that did not suit our needs. We are delighted with our purchase and gladly refer this commissioned salesperson to our friends.

Another salesperson sold us several thousand dollars worth of goods in less than 45 minutes of very helpful conversation. His knowledge of the merchandise was astounding. He shared this knowledge with us only after uncovering our specific wants and needs. He looked to be under thirty years old and was head and shoulders above several people in the same store with years of “experience.” They were selling the same merchandise, in the same store, at the same time to the same stream of potential customers. He obviously out produces them in product mix, sales volume, and customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, management seems unable to create a team of delivery and service people with the same level of competency. This scenario is common in many organizations and presents a serious problem for buyers. It appears customers have to be lucky enough to stumble on a professional salesperson.

Fast Facts

Can't wait for 2009 figures!

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What's Next for Your Business

Traditional growth tactics have run out of steam. Cost-cutting is a temporary fix, at best.

Most organizations cannot sustain market share with simple innovation. Mergers and acquisitions rarely pay off in genuine business growth mostly due to misdiagnosis of current reality and/or poor execution of clear strategies.

Simplistic “quick-fixes” (including hit and miss sales training) fizzle out. A clear winning strategy includes a balanced approach with specific sales strategies clearly linked to an overall mandate; rigorous attention to maximizing selling time; a team approach using inside and external resources; aggressively developing required selling competencies; technology that supports (rather than drives) a clear sales effort; and a compensation system that shares created wealth rather than attempting to bribe performance out of people.

Key Components:

Taylor your offering around creating customer value and serving their future needs rather than executing a demographic focus

• Ensure that your offering is clear, distinct and based on a one-to-one model rather than “one size fits all”

• Design your skills development around creating the results you want, rather than the latest fad, or a generic strategic selling model

• Determine which product offerings merit time and resources and rigorously focus your efforts in their direction

Measure What Matters. Average salespeople engage in a flurry of unfocused prospecting activities. When faced with a “qualified” prospect they typically turn them into dissatisfied customers. Highly productive professional salespeople consistently and methodically invest ten to fifteen percent of their selling time on new business development.

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