Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Basics of Sales

When I provide consulting to an organization or develop training sometimes I get the feedback "this is so easy." Sales sure is easy. All you have to do is follow the process thoughtfully.
  • Identify prospects that are good targets for your service
  • Connect with those prospects
  • Listen to the prospects, understand their situation
  • Analyze how your product/service can benefit them
  • Present your solution by matching the features of your product/service to what they care about
  • Offer pricing that is profitable to you and based on value to them
  • Provide a contract that is fair to both parties
  • Execute well
  • Record all the information you captured about the prospect in a database (CRM) so that you can sell to them continuously
  • Have fun with it

That's it. Easy.Just do it.

Don't forget the most important part -- have fun.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, sales is easy for some, but not for all of us. These steps sound good, and make me want to hear more of your advice so that I can do it, too.

    Years ago I spent time working at a sales consulting firm in a support position, and went from having a totally negative image of salespeople and selling to having huge respect for the ethical sales process--the kind you've outlined here. It made me want to learn how to sell, even though I don't have that natural sales personality.

    What I learned at that job is that EVERYONE SELLS, and that EVERYTHING IS SALES in some way or another. I've tried a couple of sales jobs, like telephone sales of Time/Life books (I was terrible at it) or selling Cutco knives (I was terrible at it). But when I did the Cutco thing I had already formed a favorable opinion of sales and had a deeper understanding of how to do it with integrity, and so I was actually able to learn from my failure instead of just concluding that I did it wrong or I'm not good at selling or that sales is just a game of manipulation. Actually, I did it right for who I am and I needed to stop selling things I didn't care about and sell something more meaningful to me.

    What I learned from my failure at Cutco is that the only reason people part with their money is that they feel a sense of urgency about getting the product or service. Therefore, I can only be successful at selling if I can either "create" a sense of urgency (not my style) or sell something that I honestly and passionately believe in the urgency of having, so that I can transmit my authentic sense of urgency to the customer ethically and connect with their urgent need for it.

    For example, Alicia, you're great at selling what you sell, which is an understanding of sales and the ability to help people and organizations sell more effectively. But if you went out to sell refrigerators, I could be wrong but I suspect you might not do as well. And I think that's because you would not be able to communicate the urgency of possessing a new refrigerator to the average customer, especially in this economy, since you probably don’t really think it’s that urgent for people to get new refrigerators right now.

    On the other hand, I think people who have the charismatic "sales" personality can sell refrigerators or anything else simply because their personality is such that customers feel an urgent need to please the salesperson, or a strong desire to be "in" with him or her.

    Everybody has a sense of urgency about something, whether it's buying food so they will survive or paying for transportation to get around or getting new clothes so they will look more attractive. My goal is to identify services I can offer out of my unique talents that I feel confident in offering and that I believe fill an urgent need that both I and the customer understand as urgent and valuable.

    Hope you'll address the "urgency issue" in one of your upcoming blogs. Looking forward to it!