sales basics

Sales 101 Revisited

No matter how long you’ve been in this game, it’s still a good idea to go back to basics from time to time and review the core principles of Selling. I know that you already know these things. However I firmly believe that occasionally revisiting these principles all at once, distilled down to their most basic concepts, can give you some startling insight into your own practices, your own habits, your own assumptions about what you do and how you do it. Take a crack at it;

  • It’s all about relationships- Don’t ever forget this; ALL sales are built on relationships. Making your clients feel that they are important, and have a personal connection to you on some level is what brings them back to you. They may not be convinced of the superiority of your product over the competition, but if they like dealing with you, they trust you, and they know they will be able to find you when they need you; they will not seek greener pastures. Conversely, if the client doesn’t feel trust and a connection with you, they are not likely to sign with you even if your product was their first choice. I cannot emphasize enough how important and fundamental this principle is to Sales, regardless of industry.
  • Never forget your ROI- Keeping track of what you’ve invested in terms of time, effort and money will tell you when to persevere and when to walk away from a prospect that just can not be sold. This is a tricky one because your emotional response to spending an ungodly number of hours working a prospect that you can’t close is to think, ‘I’ve already invested all this time and energy, I can’t walk away’. Do not be lured into this gambler’s mentality. Knowing when to walk away will ultimately earn you more money because you’ve cut your losses and shifted your efforts towards clients who are more likely to pay off.
  • Size doesn’t matter- Never assume that calling on small businesses is a waste of your time. If you think you need to go for the big dogs to get the big money, you are totally forgetting the amount of work it will take to get the big dogs to sign. Small businesses, on the other hand, can be a better bet because the decision-maker is usually available and accessible, they don’t need buy in from a swarm of other people, and there is a sense of urgency in small business that doesn’t exist in big business which means you are more likely to see your commission this quarter. Establishing a connection and a relationship is often less messy and less….um…. phony with small businesses. Also, with a small client you will have contact with all the key players instead of just the assigned liaison who stands between you and the key players.
  • Start at the top- Luckily for me, it has been a recurring theme in my life that people regularly ask me in an incredulous tone of voice, “How did you get that?” or “How did you do that?”. They could be talking about anything, but my answer is usually the same; “I asked for it.” Too many people assume that they can’t just call the CEO, or can’t just make an appointment with the VP, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know. Try this- you will be amazed at what you can get simply by asking for it. Studies show that the vast majority of company officers have been in sales at one time or another in their career. They appreciate someone who takes the initiative and thinks big. They are aware of the skills and tenacity that it takes to make that call. So do it!
  • A sale isn’t a sale until it’s closed- Don’t get thrown off by a prospect’s enthusiasm, availability, or promises. Until that deal is signed you have no deal. If you have studied your Sales 101 principles and applied them, closing your deal should be as easy as asking, “Is there any reason why we can’t move forward with this?”. Ask. For. The. Sale. If you constantly encounter hesitation, subterfuge, or resistance when you ask to close, take it as a cue that you need to go back to basics and review your Sales Basics again.