by: Andy Bradbury | Managing Partner
Sales is the Life Blood of any organization, so the question that every business leader needs to ask themselves is ‘Do my Sales Team have the key skills required to drive sales and achieve the Strategic Objectives of the organization?’
Sales people are often stereotyped as having flamboyant or outgoing personalities, which may be true but this is not the only personality trait that a good effective Sales person requires to be successful.
The following are my eight Golden Rules of Sales that I have gained throughout my own long and extensive career.
1. Define Your Strategy
Strategy and Sales are intrinsically linked because if you don’t have a well-defined strategy in place then how can you expect your Sales Teams to perform? I am not talking about Vision Mission and Values here I am talking about the specific choices and decisions that every organization needs to make prior to defining a very focussed Sales Strategy to complement the overall business strategy
2. STOP TALKING!
If I was to give one single piece of advice to make anyone successful in sales it would be to simply STOP TALKING!. The only senses that should be working overtime on an initial Sales Call are your eyes and your ears so do your customer(s) a favour and give your mouth a rest.
All too often we come across the overzealous Sales People trying to sell us something that we don’t need or want, which is generally delivered in a verbal onslaught by some pushy Sales Person telling us how great their products or services are. How frustrating is this! Can you relate to this?
In the commercial world of business we often refer to the ‘Pareto principle’ or the 80-20 rule to articulate business norms but this same principal should also be applied to the sales process i.e. 80% of your time should be listening and observing and only 20% of your time talking.
Before approaching or responding to a prospective Customer a significant amount of research needs to be done to ensure you have an in-depth understanding about their products, services and organizational culture. There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective Customer then them having to take the time to explain what they do and what they need. For sure Customers sometimes don’t know what they need … which is why research is such a critical element of the Sales process.
4. JATFQ (Just Answer the Flipping Question)
More often than not, your potential Customer has spent a considerable amount of time and energy preparing a tender document of some sort, prior to going to the market for any product/service. Try to imagine the sheer frustration they will feel when they receive a response to their detailed document with irrelevant information that doesn’t specifically answer their questions? Do yourself and your Customers a favour and answer the question!
5. Don’t waste your time/money on generic Sales training
Don’t get me wrong I am an avid supporter of Continued Professional Development and have some very good colleagues/friends that practice in this field of expertise that I deeply respect. This said, Sales Training needs to be specific and tailored to your business for it to be truly effective. Coaching and Mentoring are, in my opinion, the purest form of training and development and a skill that should be propagated in every organization.
6. Honesty is the Best Policy in Sales
Nobody likes a liar and besides people that lie will eventually get caught out so this is a definite no/no in Sales. If you sell the dream and deliver a nightmare then it will be a sure fire way to not only damage your own reputation but also damage the reputation of your organization.
Sometimes it is better to say something like “I am Sorry, I can’t help you with your immediate business challenge but I know somebody that can!” rather than lying to get the quick sale under your belt. This approach may not get the immediate sale but it will gain respect and chances are you will be considered in the future or referred to another potential Customer.
7. Don’t Run Away when the Sale is done
Both your Customer(s) and you invest a considerable amount of time and energy in developing your business relationships, so why run away when the initial sale has been achieved? The Customer has placed their trust in you and then you let them down by running away to chase another sale, which could potentially leave them feeling rejected resulting in no new sales from the affected Customer. Some of my own greatest sales achievements have been developed over decades of time and I still maintain the relationships from past sales achievements to this very day
8. Reflect and be Patient
During our Sales Coaching Interventions we often refer to the Sales Cycle as being very similar to the personal relationship/marriage cycle because if you look at the above rules they can be translated in to wooing the partner of your dreams; you set your goals, you do your research, you listen intently, you answer questions carefully and with thought, you tell the truth, you know that one night stands don’t work and you reflect when you don’t succeed. Easy right?
Woo The Customer of your Dreams
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