Thank you for taking time to listen to this podcast. I hope my 23+ years of selling experience working for fortune 500 companies, like Eastman Kodak, Cardinal Health and 3M gives me some authority to share my opinion about the profession of selling. If not, perhaps you’ll feel at ease to know I have no product for sale. That’s right, no 12 set CD to offer you or newly discovered secret selling technique or books or tapes. And at this recording, I’m still gainfully employed full-time selling. I call on customers 5 days of week like you, perhaps.
So, why did I create this podcast?
Well, for a couple of reasons. Number #1. I love the new technology.
Secondly, I wanted to review my successes and failures and develop a plan to move to the next level.
But the more I thought about this review process the more I saw an opportunity to put a few nuggets that may, perhaps, help someone out there looking for guidance learning the profession of selling. I think of the millions of people up rooted from jobs during the 2008 downturn and forced to take unfamiliar jobs and learn new skills.
I think about those turning to entrepreneurship for the first time in their lives. Folks who never thought of selling anything, ever and who now sell to survive. Some have come to realize that success depends not on the widget they offer but their to their ability to sell.
I just can’t imagine losing a non-selling job one day and waking up the next deciding to open a business. Can you image the shear fear?
As you can image, there are a number of sales training courses on the market. I’ve taken several over the years. All are good and worth taking, especially if your company is paying bill. But no matter how differentiated a sales course may appear to be, the sales process is still the same. It’s very much like dating.
Selling, pretty much, follows the same process. The major difference is we don’t pay the rent or mortgage by dating so we have to bring extra skills to the game of selling that we don’t need in dating but the overall process is the same.
From among the many sales training courses I’ve taking over the years, I find myself reviewing a very old book which was standard issue in the Dale Carnegie Course. Percy Whiting “The 5 Great Rules of Selling“. This book is old as dirt. But after recently taking a high power, high price training course offered by my company called “Challenger Training”, training I’m sure cost the company a boat load of money. The 5 Great Rules of Selling originally published in 1947 is still valid.
The opening chapter talks about the importance of product knowledge. Now I’ll admit my first reading of this book was 1995 when I took the Dale Carnegie Course. And like a lot of sales people, the book’s message went in one hear and out the other because I knew I was born with the gift of gab and I could persuade anyone with my good looks and silvery tongue. My first year in the field, you guest it, I got killed by my competition. That’s when I sat down, swallowed my pride and read the chapter on Product Knowledge. When you’re young and dumb, the last thing you want to read is boring manuals and especially the competition’s boring manuals. But the lesson that sticks with me 20 years later are the benefits of product knowledge.
1. Product knowledge builders enthusiasm which effects you and your prospect.
2. Product knowledge give you courage to continue to sell. It’s the lack of courage which keeps many people out of the field of sales.
3. You need product knowledge for the personal satisfaction of looking like a subject matter expert.
4. That satisfaction gives you confidence to talk to experts in your chosen field.
5. Product knowledge also helps you to answer objections with confidence.
6. Product knowledge will also help you discover see and convey benefit of your product to the prospect.
7. Product knowledge will help you meet competition head on.
8. Product knowledge gives you self-assurance.
9. Product knowledge will also help you win over the confidence of your prospects to trust you as a subject expert.
But remember the mantra: Know much: Talk Little.
Great Rule: 1 Attention:
Remember in most cases especially if you are cold calling, the prospect does not care about you or your company or anything you have to say. You’ve interrupted his day. And your first job is to get the customer to focus.
To get attention you must ask questions or make a statement that gets your prospect to start listening to you and not read email or type memos and look up pricing information for someone at the door.
You can use referral names, intriging questions, gifts, an attention getting exhibit.
Great Rule: 2. Interest.
After you get attention, you have to get the prospect interested in what you sell. You get attention by asking questions. The best analogy is a physician. This is were you put on your doctor’s white coat and stethoscope and your prospect is your patient.
As a physician, you would not prescribe medicine without detail questions about the problem, would you? Believe it or not this is exactly many amateur sales people do right here at this step. They get in front of a prospect and start talking, and talking and talking. Don’t be the amateur sales person who talks him or herself out of sale.
Great Rule: 3: Conviction
Now that you know the prospect’s problem and have some idea how your product can solve his problem, you’re ready to talk with conviction about the specific benefits of your product or service. If you can demonstrate your product—do so and have evidence documents that support claims or acts as proof that your claims are true, for example, testimonials, articles, pictures, etc. For every claim you make about your product, you should have an evidence document to support it. No one will believe anything you say just because you say so. You need evidence and this is where the pros separate themselves from the amateurs. The pros compile evidence documents for every claim. Testimonial letters, Guarantees, Photographs, charts, diagrams, statistics analogies and other visual evidence.
Once you’ve gather evidence documents, organize them and practice presented them in an orderly fashion.
Also, when you demonstrate your product, try to add some degree of showmanship, fun, energy into the demo.
Great Rule: 4: Desire
Now that you have gotten attention, asked good questions about problems, demonstrated the benefits of your product in an interesting and fun way remind the prospect of all the benefits discussed. He has a problem that can be solved with your product.
Great Rule 5: Close
Closing should be a logical conclusion of your presentation and can be a simple question, “How does that sound”.
This is the point where you will hear objections to closing the deal and there are a bizillion ideas about closing the sale.