Sales professionals need to understand what they sell. This may seem like a no brainer. But over the past thirty-five years, I’ve witnessed many organizations, entrepreneurs and seasoned salespeople (myself included) who get so focused on new technology and features that they forget to ask, “What am I really selling? What is the outcome for the client?” Because here’s the thing, people do not buy things. They buy based on the emotions they feel from buying things, or the benefits.
Set Your Intent Before Any Sales Call
When it comes to persuading a customer, it’s all about intent. Before you walk in the door for a sales call, you should see that sale being made. You should have a committed objection to gain agreement that moves the sales process forward. Get in the habit of being determined to persuade, to love and to lead, based on the clients desire. If you use your will and your hold belief long enough, that belief will translate to the customer.
The objective of any sales presentation is for the customer to get what they want. It’s never for you to make the sale. By focusing on your client and their needs first, you are able to stay focused on how to solve their problem. Remember that customers’ “reasons” for not crossing the bridge are based on the past. It’s your job to help them see what their brand-new day looks like on the other side of that bridge, once their problem has been solved.
Here’s 3 Things To Keep In Mind For a Winning Sales Presentation
1. Understand Your Customer’s Motive
You can’t sell something to someone unless you know what their motives are. Elmer Wheeler had it right when he said, ”Sell the sizzle, not the steak. People do not buy quarter inch drills because they want the drill. They buy the drill because they want quarter-inch holes.”
One of the biggest sales I made at my first job was a six-figure contract for salt. It was a prime example of knowing what you are selling. By doing a bit of digging with the company’s employees, I learned that they were having quality issues with their product and having waste issues with raw materials because their salt containers would get wet due to rain. These problems impacted their supply and turnaround time for product deliveries to their customers. The issues they were having were ones I could address.
I invited the quality manager, production manager and procurement manager in for a plant tour and site visit. I was able to close the deal based on a local consistent supply along with packaging, safety and trust. I got a premium price for the salt, but they weren’t buying salt. They were busying the satisfaction felt from the relationships we built during the sales process.
Know what you are selling and never attempt to start selling until you discover the customer’s motive.
2. Target The Right People
A sale does not begin until you contact someone. It’s important to be clear on who you are initiating contact with from the very beginning. Are you only contacting those who express interest or are you also contacting those who you think could benefit from your service? I challenge you to adopt the belief that it’s easier to persuade contacts than it is to hunt for a person who wants what you have. Many people don’t know they need your product until you talk to them.
When I worked in the life science and diagnostic industries, I witnessed many new sales representatives who suffered from approval addiction. They would tend to call on lab technicians because they are easy to access. While this is a good way to gather information about opportunities, it typically doesn’t result in a sale. So while the sales representative can check the box for making a sales call, they fail to get in front of the person who can say yes.
Now, it might be scary to talk to the owner or the president of a company, especially if you have never met them before. But focusing on the buyer who has the authority to sign off on the funding is always going to be a good investment of your time. You can get the attention of someone who is unwilling to give up their time by showing true interest in that person.
If you can persuade someone to do something for their own good, you’ll make the sale.
3. Don’t Focus On Closing The Sale, Rather Give the Customer a Reason to Buy
Selling is all about creating value. Every sales call requires an objective to move the sales process forward, whether that’s closing the sale, or just getting closer to that point. But the key to be successful is not getting attached to a specific outcome. You might say to yourself, “Wait a minute, why would I not want to be fixed on making the sale?” My answer is, you do not make the sale, you receive it. Set an intention to cause the sale. Create so much value that they want to buy!
In sales, you can never be certain what you are walking into. It’s like watching the pros play golf. Their objective is to stay present in the game and focus on the next shot. You will benefit by doing the same. If your focus is on the prize, the outcome, and not the next shot, you are not in the moment where your power is.
If you struggle when it comes to closing, you might need to take a deeper look at your motivation. Amateurs compete, Professionals create. Obviously, when you close a sale, you get paid, but remember that the cause of the sale was the value you created for the client, so they can get what they want.
The sales call is your opportunity to present your product or service as a solution to your client’s problem. Selling is leading, guiding, and creating value; being ready for any and all situations. If you are new to sales, you may expect a certain response and get thrown when you don’t receive it. But the customer will always remember the salesperson who is in the moment with them, and not working off a script.