As a salesperson, how do you define your job? If you believe that your job is to give information and close the deal, then you should ask yourself if you have the ability to change.
Why do you sell?
Gone is the era of the stereotypical salesperson that focused on selling as fast as possible, regardless of the customers’ needs.
Gone are the days of the “top secret” sales contest where the winners kept their jobs.
Gone is the idea that the sales force can compensate by sheer “salesmanship” or by showing some value-added goodies to swing a deal.
Gone are the days when the ideal salesman looked like Clark Kent transformed into Superman – muscular, a winning smile, six-feet tall.
In today’s world of business, with technology that makes information available 24/7, the reality is that customers just don’t need salespeople – not the way they have in the past. Traditionally, salespeople have always done two things for their customers: communicate information and quickly sell products and services. These two basic functions no longer provide value.
Yet for many, these functions—an ability to communicate information and close deals — remain their core approach, making them virtually obsolete. As a salesperson, how do you define your job? If you believe that your job is to give information and close the deal, then you should ask yourself if you have the ability to change.
Today’s salesperson has a job profile that can be defined in three simple functions:
1. Salespeople are responsible for helping customers select the right product or service
2. Salespeople must help a customer fall in love with his selection.
3. Salespeople must convert customers to clients.
Let’s examine each of these functions more closely.
Salespeople are responsible for helping customers select the right product or service.
To do this, salespeople must demonstrate a sincere interest in each individual opportunity, and work to gain information and help find the right product or service. The formula for success is straightforward: 100% Attitude + 100% Effort + 100% Performance = 100% Results. Salespeople must …
Be 100% present and work with a single-minded focus for each customer.
Ask probing questions to develop an understanding of the customers’ unique needs, wants and desires. It’s not about what the salesperson thinks; it’s all about what the customer thinks.
Listen, learn and empathize with the customers, understand problems from their point-of-view and discover essential details in order to successfully guide the selection process and find an exact fit.
Help the customers “try it on.” Throughout the introduction and including a demonstration, if applicable, the salesperson should guide customers as they experience the features that will satisfy their needs, wants and desires.
Introduce customers to the rest of the “family.” Give them a tour of the business or store, introducing them to all the managers, and explaining that everyone is here to take care of all their needs.
Begin to convert customers to clients.
Salespeople must help a customer fall in love with his selection.
If a salesperson is truly helping a customer buy, the customer will develop an emotional bond with the product and service and virtually fall in love with it, so much so that they can’t let it go. Have you ever bought a pair of shoes that you just had to wear home? If so, the salesperson succeeded in helping you fall in love with the product.
Needs, Wants and Desires
When this happens, price becomes a secondary concern. Today, any discussion or negotiation of price should always come last and always take the least amount of time. This is not to say that price is not important. However, when time is spent on the selection process, and an opportunity falls in love with a product or service, price is rarely the reason a sale is lost. When a salesperson sells price, or pre-qualifies a customer based on his budget before landing the customer based on needs, wants and desires, then price becomes the primary issue.
In the past, in a 60 minute transaction with a customer, a mere 10 minutes might be spent on selection and 50 minutes spent negotiating price. The salesperson’s primary goal was to close a sale as soon as possible, not to help the customer find the right product or service, one he can fall in love with. This approach today makes it easy for the customer to walk away and is a sure-fire formula for disaster.
Do you leave a lasting impression?
In the ideal approach for selling today, the salesperson spends 50 minutes of the hour helping a customer select the right product or service and only 10 minutes on price. Here the emphasis is on building a relationship and helping the customer make a selection by listening to his needs, wants and desires. Not only will this approach help close more sales and create greater customer satisfaction at the time of the purchase, but it will have lasting effects as the delighted customer raves about his experience, refers his friends and family, and ultimately becomes a client.
Think about how most women purchase clothes. A woman goes to a dress rack, flips through the dresses until one catches her eye, she holds it up, feels the fabric, looks over the style, tries it on and checks to see how it looks in a mirror. Only then, after she’s selected it as the right dress and has fallen in love with the look and feel, does she look at the price tag.
Price should be raised only after customers feel at home and have built a strong emotional bond with a product or service, the business and the salesperson.
It is the salesperson’s job to make sure that customers understand and believe that the price is worth the value of product or service they selected, that the price fits a customer’s budget, that payments are acceptable. If the salesperson has truly mastered these first two job functions, price almost becomes immaterial.
About the author
Richard F. Libin
Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…