The Key to Success in Sales

The key to success with sales is quite simply this:

Sales success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.

That’s it!

So, if it’s really that simple, why aren’t more people successful at selling? Once again, the answer is relatively simple: They either don’t fully understand or know how to apply the basic fundamentals.

So, just what are these mystical basic fundamentals of selling that seem to elude so many people? Well, before we explore some of them, let’s look at the concept of basic fundamentals and what they really are.

Basic Fundamentals

The definition of “fundamental” is that it serves as an essential part or foundation of something, a basic principle, and an undisputed truth.

Basic fundamentals abound. For example, in aviation the Bernoulli Principle is a basic principle that gets airplanes, both big and small, off the ground. The aircraft has to have enough speed to cause the air moving over the wing to create the lift required (the Bernoulli Effect) to get the plane into the air. Not enough speed, not enough lift, bad accident!

The same Bernoulli Principle that gets a small Cessna 150 off the ground also applies to a Boeing 767. It’s just that the Boeing 767 has to go faster and farther to get enough speed to create the required lift.

It’s somewhat the same in sales. The same principles that close a small sale also apply to a big sale. It’s just that the larger the sale, the longer the time it usually takes to close.

Undisputed Truths of Selling

As we explore some of the key fundamentals of selling, it’s important to keep in mind that it is one thing to know and understand the principles and quite another to know how to put them into practice.  Understanding the Bernoulli Principle is one thing but knowing how to fly an airplane is quite another. That’s usually where training can help.

Sales truth #1:

You have to have someone to sell to. Unless someone is handing you leads on a silver platter or you work in an environment where people come to you, you have to find people who want or need what it is you sell. At SalesForce Training, we call this the FIND part of the sales process (while many would simply call it prospecting). Whatever you call it, if you don’t do it, you get hungry real fast.

Sales truth #2:

You get someone’s attention by talking about something that’s of interest to him. This simple concept is lost on most salespeople who will usually say something that isn’t of any real interest to the prospect when they reach him.

Believe it or not, telling a prospect that you’d like to show him the latest and greatest whatever it is you’re selling is not a grabber. That’s what you want, and what you want isn’t necessarily of interest to your prospect. We spend a lot of time at SalesForce Training working with sales people to help them with this concept.

Sales truth #3:

Sell what people want to buy. A lot of salespeople are more intent on trying to sell what they’ve got to sell instead of spending energy on finding people who want to buy what you’ve got for sale. Finding the right prospects will take you a long way towards a successful sale.

Sales truth #4:

Sell to your prospect’s needs and wants. If you spend enough time probing (qualifying) your prospects, you’ll truly understand what they want and why they want it. If you do that, you’ll find yourself changing the way you present your product or service. Put yourself in your prospect’s place. If you were him or her, why would you buy? The answer to that question is your key to the sale.

This is one of the key messages at SalesForce Training, and if sales people focus on only one thing to improve upon, it would be this.

Sales truth #5:

Telling isn’t selling. Too many salespeople are still talking brochures or data sheets and feel that, by spouting off a list of facts and features, the prospect will whip out his chequebook and give you whatever you’re asking for.

Lots of people like to pooh-pooh what is called “benefit selling” but let’s face it, prospects buy the product of the product, not what the product is, but what the product will do for them, which means they buy benefits. At SalesForce Training, we like to say that all our prospects listen to radio station WIFM-FM, (What’s In it For Me – For Me), and unless we broadcast on our prospect’s frequency, we won’t make the sale.

Sales truth #6:

You must earn their business. In today’s business world where much of what we sell is being commoditized, salespeople and their products and services are all beginning to look alike. When prospects can’t tell the difference between you, or what you’re offering, they make their buying decision based on price.

At SalesForce Training, we introduce a tool called the DCA, the Differential Competitive Advantage. If you can’t differentiate what you’re selling from what your competitor is selling, you better be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can do that by bringing extra value to the transaction. Is that an easy thing to do? Of course it isn’t! If it were easy everyone would be doing it and because everyone isn’t doing it, you have an opportunity to shine brighter than your competition. You just need to find the right value-add to bring to the party.

Sales truth #7:

You’ve got to ask for the business. Closing a sale has got to be the easiest thing to do IF you have done all the other parts of the sale properly.

One of the biggest reasons prospects don’t buy is because they were never asked. How hard can it be to ask for the business? That’s really all Closing means — asking for the business.

Here’s the world’s easiest close. It’s called the Direct Question Close and it goes like this, “Do you want to go ahead with this?” Is that easy or what? The absolute worst thing that can happen is that the prospect says, “No”.

Is It That Simple?

Of course it isn’t that simple, but it isn’t that much more complicated either.

For those of you that have gotten away from what has worked in the past, stop! Go back to those fundamental skills that made you as good as you are today and sharpen them up.

For those of you who haven’t been formally through Sales 101, do it. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t know. At SalesForce Training, our tactical sales training workshops focus on the consultative selling process, and how to win and close more business using these time-tested techniques.

Learn it, use it, and be even more successful.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional training firm that specializes in helping companies navigate their way in a Salesforce.com environment. SalesForce Training is based in Toronto, with trainers in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, Salesforce.com training, selling skills sales training and sales team assessments.

by   Brian Jeffrey