The word SELL seems to be a four-letter word for a lot of people. When it comes to selling, there can be a lot of hesitation or ambivalence or just straight-up fear of rejection. I’m sure we’ve all experienced what it’s like to work with the stereotypical salesperson at a used car lot. We probably come to expect that they are going to do anything that they can or say anything that they can in order to get us to purchase something on the spot. They are even willing to compromise their integrity if it means we purchase whatever vehicle they are selling. For a long time, this is the perception that I had about sales and salespeople. However, my business coach perception has dramatically changed as I’ve learned more and more that no matter who you are or what type of role you have, we are all in sales. Harvey Mackey says, “To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business.”
“Sales is simply solving a problem for money.”
Sales is absolutely essential to being able to have a business. As business coach Clay Clark likes to say, “Sales is simply solving a problem for money.” It is important, as an entrepreneur, for us to get out of the mindset that sales are bad or wrong in some way. You exist because you solve a problem and people are willing to pay you to solve it. Because of that, investing time not only in yourself, learning how to sell, but in your team is essential. Every single morning we have our daily meeting where we are able to get questions answered and receive feedback on how we are doing within the context of our jobs and our organization. Every Tuesday we have a sales meeting where we specifically focus on development so that we can become better salespeople. The process that we go over every single time is the concept of rapport, needs, benefits, and close.
When it comes to rapport, this is the essential ingredient that helps you begin to break down the barriers between you and the person that you’re interacting with. Whether you are having a conversation in person or over the phone, you will dramatically diminish your opportunity to identify customers’ needs, provide benefits and then close the deal if you are not able to establish rapport. Rapport comes from a likability factor. Rapport allows you to prove that you are trustworthy and you are there to help bring benefit to the person you are trying to sell to. One of the key ingredients to building a good rapport is finding common ground. When you’re interacting with the person you need to be very intentional about finding a topic on which you can connect and build trust. Also, when it comes to the rapport you need to remember that you dictate the mood of the conversation. If you enter into a conversation with insecurity and timidity, then that will translate into a negative emotion within the context of the person that you are selling to. Go into every interaction with the confidence to know that you are bringing them the opportunity to get something that will add value to them. As you do this and also find common ground, you truly will see their walls start to come down. Bonus tip, be funny!
Needs is essential because you can build rapport and establish trust with someone all day, but if you do not identify what they are looking for, then you do not know how to present the item or product that you are wanting them to purchase. My wife used to work for a car dealership, and the salespeople that did the best for the ones that identified what the customer was looking for and then provided them cars that would meet those specific needs. The salespeople that did not do well were the ones that simply rattled off a list of features of a car, but did not tailor their approach directly to what the customer was looking for. You must take the time to ask open-ended questions and really dig into what the needs of the customer potential customer are. You should spend most of this time listening and taking notes. Ask questions and then let them talk. Identify clarifying questions and then let them continue to talk. If they are not sharing with you their needs, then you either have not established enough rapport, or you are not asking good questions.
When it comes to benefits, this always needs to follow your identification of the customer’s needs. Once you identify that a customer has specific needs, then you can tailor your sales pitch or approach so that you are presenting how your product or service truly beneficial to those specific needs. For example, if a customer is looking for a car that has great gas mileage, but all you’re talking about is the comfort of the leather interior, then they are not going to want to purchase what you’re selling. However, if your focus becomes presenting them with the cars that not only have the absolute best when it comes to miles per gallon but additionally can include the comfort feature, you have a much better chance of moving forward in the sale. Don’t spend time telling the customer what you think they want, but present to them how your product or service actually benefits them based on the needs that you have been able to learn from them.
Finally, when it comes to the close, you must ask them for the sale. I’ve seen it time and time again how a salesperson will walk through this process, but in the end, leave they’re close open-ended. When you are going for the close you must go at it assuming that they definitely want to buy. Your language and your confidence need to be tailored so that it is almost assumed that they are going to buy. Make them say no to you. Don’t be afraid of the close. Here in our organization, we practice something called the dream 100. This is where we ask 100 of our dream clients for a deal. Out of every 100 people that we ask we typically get 2 to 3 deals. Rejection needs to be something that we are okay with. Don’t be afraid to go for the close, even if you fear rejection. Get over this and have confidence in the product or service that you are selling.
No matter what type of business you have, or what your job title may be, you are in sales. You are selling yourself. You are providing something that solves a problem in exchange for money. Don’t diminish that. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the world of caring about what everyone else thinks and sacrificing your success. Give yourself as a business coach the opportunity to truly develop your sales ability and the abilities of your team. As you invest in this on a consistent basis, you will see the fruits of it. Be diligent about training. Be diligent about self-development. Learning to sell and learning how to teach your team to sell is only going to benefit your organization.