Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Selling Selling Selling ... How? What? Who? When?

In today’s crazy business marketplace, the pressure continues to fall on the “Sales Department”. Why aren’t they selling products faster? Why aren’t they selling higher quantities? Why aren’t they getting more new customers? Why can’t they get the commitments sooner? What exactly are they promising our customers?

With all of the questions in regards to “Sales” it is critical to know just what drives a productive sales team and ultimately a great salesman. The traditional idea is that salesman are born and not developed. There is also the old school way of looking at the number of contacts made vs. number of actual sales. In the bigger scheme of things there are many business issues surrounding how a business sells its products or services and why. I would like to zero in on the actual sales person and their unique approach. Ultimately you need to be very effective in your sales effort and here is some of the how and some of the why....

If you go back to some of the basic lessons forwarded by a Zig Ziglar, you can talk about attitude and altitude or taking a positive and persistent approach to the selling style itself. But I would also say that many people have talked about “selling” over the years like Brian Tracy's enthusiasm or even Stephen Schiffman with his updated version of 25 Sales Habits of the Highly Successful Sales Person (plus his bonus 5 Habits which incidentally ends up with “keep your sense of humor”).

More recently Jeffrey Gitomer with his columns, websites and speaking engagements; has also fashioned his new Little Red Book of Selling that offers a “take with you” fresh approach in both his presentation style and in what it takes to become an effective salesman. This includes your own continuous improvement and just plain working at it with gusto and smarts. He pontificates that establishing new business relationships by having a thorough understanding of your product offering is critical to establishing trust within your clients. He actively talks about being creative and about taking the risk out of the buying, but more importantly he places a high value on integrity and reliability. In its 18th printing since 2004 he outlines a combination of what it takes to be a Zig Ziglar and a Stephen Schiffman and to combine those ideas and finally get the results you would dream about.

One other very important consideration in today’s marketplace, Jeff Koser has recently assembled a new book published in 2008 and titled Selling to Zebras. The crux of his Sales approach is that in the traditional sales world, we are used to salesman getting a 15% close rate from their sales activities. In a nutshell he brings up the vital emphasis for today’s effective sales approach that you focus or hone-in on your “targeted or qualified” customer prospects and become more productive with your time and eventually your sales close-rates. The emphasis here is why it is important for the specific customer to buy, when it is critical for them to place the order and not get caught up in simply a discussion of the "features and benefits" of your product or service.

Ultimately there is also another discussion on how the business itself must actually support an entirely value-laden product or service offering and then deliver on a customer-for-life experience. That is a topic for another session about how the entire organization must work together to deliver on the entire sales promise. Good hunting and great sales!

The Performance Detective

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