17/06/2014 - 15:04

Be assertive, not aggressive to make the sale

17/06/2014 - 15:04


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Successful salespeople focus on the present, it’s where their sales are.

Be assertive, not aggressive to make the sale
OLD SCHOOL: Cold calling is the dark side of selling and has a more than 90 per cent rejection rate. Photo: iStockphoto

Successful salespeople focus on the present, it’s where their sales are.

MY sales perspective flies in the face of traditional selling. And it’s not just a disruption; it’s the new way of sales. What is your perspective?

Here are seven realities to get your thinking started:

First reality: Traditional selling is aggressive – telling, pitching, manipulating and closing. This old-world approach to sales is over and has been for more than a decade.

Second reality: The first sale that’s made is the salesperson. If the prospective customer does not buy you, they’re not buying anything.

Third reality: The customer is as smart or smarter than you are. The internet has provided them with competitive savvy and social media provides the proof.

Fourth reality: Your customers and prospects are busy with their stuff and may have little or no time to be bothered by you and your stuff. It’s so much more powerful when they find you in time of need.

Fifth reality: Customers and prospects want intellectual engagement about how they win, not a sales pitch. They do not care about your urgency to make a quota. They only care about their urgency to make profit.

Sixth reality: The prospective customer must perceive value in your sales offering, trust you as a person and as a company, perceive that they win as a result of purchase, and be able to visualise the outcome after purchase (maybe with the help of your video testimonials).

Seventh reality: You better have a social presence and a social reputation that proves your worth to others and provides peace of mind to the prospect.

Look at this list carefully and see if what you do, the actions you take, or any of the strategies about how you sell are contained here. If they are, you will consistently lose to the “new way”.

• Cold calling. If selling has a dark side, it’s the cold call. It causes total interruption to others (the prospect) and is predominantly a waste of salespeople’s time. It has a higher than 90 per cent rejection rate and is the major cause of sales failure.

Hunting and farming salespeople. This is basically a sales specialist making a sale and then running away. Leaving behind the service department, or inside sales, or the delivery guy and the customer to feel deserted. Hunting and farming is the worst case for relationship building ever created.

• Find the pain. Perhaps the rudest of all sales processes is “probing” to make prospects feel uncomfortable. This is an old-world tactic, where the salesperson miraculously proposes a solution to an issue that the prospect has. The solution is not the issue. The issue is that finding the pain is the focal point of the sale. No value, no engagement, no connection – simply manipulation. The only thing more idiotic (and more rude) than “finding the pain” is cold calling.

• Pitch the product. Telling your prospective customer stuff about your product that they could have found online in three seconds, or that you could have emailed them in advance of your meeting. Customers do not care what you are selling, unless you are showing them how they win as a result of purchase such as how they will produce more and how they will profit more. Start there.

• Overcome objections. “Your price is too high”. Really? You still dealing with that? Where’s the value? Where’s the testimonial? Where’s the relationship? Where’s the trust? Where’s the social proof?

• Close the sale. Manipulative closing is a thing of the past. The sale is made emotionally, not manipulatively.

• Proposals and bidding. This part of selling will never go away, but can be significantly reduced with loyal relationships and proven quality.

• Insincere follow-up. Call looking for money.

• Ask for (beg for) referrals. If you ask for a referral once, and the customer does not give you one, and you call again reminding the customer that they promised to give you a referral, and the customer still does not give you one, they will never take your call again. Instead of asking for referrals, why don’t you give one?

Low or no social media presence. Failure to understand the fact that social media is a combination of attraction, proof that you are you say you are, and a sales tool.

Low or no social media awareness. Inability or refusal of salespeople to participate gives your competition an ability to use it and dominate.

Low or no relationship. The quality of the relationship allows you to make multiple sales, earn more profit, earn referrals, and gain their testimonial proof. If you’re lacking in these four areas it’s your relationship report card and loss of sales or profit, or both.

Me? I prefer to be assertive. Assertive salespeople ask. Aggressive salespeople tell. Assertive salespeople go for the customer. Aggressive salespeople go for the sale.

Which one are you? It’s the difference between the old way and the new way.

The new way is next week – stay tuned.


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