Mastering Selling

August 12, 2010

Being proud of sales excellence

One thing you can be assured of in today’s market place is your customers have more choice than ever before. What’s more your competitors will work harder than ever to take YOUR clients’ business from you. Everyone in the organisation should be highly attuned to doing all they can to increase the reasons for the customer buying from you and staying with you.  To stay ahead of the game, sales people need to become master communicators, understanding the intricacies of human behaviour.

Selling the way your customer things

In the bad old days sales people hammered their clients and with high verbal impact presentations and forced a sale. This dated approach rarely works now, and if it does it will only work ONCE with a client. The art of modern selling is learning how to ‘think like your customer’ and deliver presentations that match the customers thinking style. With the NLP approach, not only do you win more business, you have happier customers.

When a salesperson pitches the buying proposition to match the thinking style of the client, the client just wants to say ‘yes’. When a salesperson presents the benefits to fit with the customer’s values for ownership, the sales person is really hitting the client’s hot buttons. Salespeople excel when they understand and utilise the customer’s own thinking patterns. NLP selling is about making it easy for a customer to say yes.

The Conscious and Unconscious mind

Most sales systems focus on the conscious mind.  The conscious mind represents less than 10% of human thinking processes and is the logical part of our thinking. The unconscious mind is the bigger part of our mind and among other things processes emotions, feelings and decisions. NLP salespeople know how to communicate to both parts of the mind thus understanding the client at a much deeper level. This means the client decides quickly, and naturally feels good about the purchase.

Rapport opens doors and reduces resistence

When rapport is absent, the client resists a proposal even if that proposal makes sense. Rapport opens the doorway to connect with a client and reduce resistance.  In NLP, there are several processes for developing deep rapport with people very quickly and get that person to really warm to you.

Questioning for quality information

You have two ears and one mouth and it’s useful to use them in that proportion. Smart salespeople ask questions and listen to the answers. Listening and then utilising the information the client gives you is an essential sales skill many salespeople lack. There are three types of questions a sales person can use;  1/ ‘open questions’ designed to get the client to talk. 2/ ‘precision questions’ to get very precise and succinct information from the client. 3/ Closing questions, to close and get agreement throughout the sales process.  You will cover these different questioning approaches in this course.

Buying is a state

Every new prospect has had a positive buying experience where the interaction was enjoyable and the salesperson delivered on his/her promises. Likewise, every potential client has had a negative buying experience and the salesperson did not deliver. The client will access both positive and negative buying states when prompted through questions. When the client answers questions about previous sales experiences, the NLP sales person adjusts his/her body to anchor the positive experiences with one posture and the negatives with a slightly different posture. An example would be leaning forward for the positives and backwards for the negatives. If done properly, the sales person’s posture acts like a switch for the state. This means the salesperson can instigate the positive buying state when referring to his own products and the negative buying state when referring to the competitor’s products and services.

You have to be able to close the sale, to be truly successfull

Whist developing rapport and gathering information through quality questions is useful, your efforts could be futile unless you know how to close. Many salespeople lose the business because they oversell and wait for the client to say when they are ready to buy. In reality, most clients need a prompt. You give your clients’ this prompt with a close. A good salesperson should close on all major agreements throughout the sales process. At the end you recycle through all the things previously agreed, and then close by saying on the basis we meet all the agreements, are you happy to go ahead with the proposal today?

Your success as sales person is determined by your own attitude

“I got my first sales job way back in 1986 when I began selling financial services products. I had not taken the further education route, I’d had all sorts of jobs, and now I was hungry for wealth and success. I had done my research and commission only selling seemed like a good idea.  Success came through effort, skill and a bit of luck now and again. Each month the targets were set, and all the sales people were back at the starting line.

On my first day, I was on my way to Oxford Street, London, in my brand new suit, shirt and shoe. Yes I only had one shoe because the other leg and foot was in a caste.! I was nervous, I had never had a job where I wore a suit, I had never had a job where I was paid commission only.

I limped through Oxford Circus Station, on my crutches navigating the rush hour crowd. I had a broken leg, it was in a cast and it hurt.  I was determined not to let that get in the way. The previous week, had been the induction course. I had learned the sales procedure. I had been through every role play situation you can imagine. This week was going to be the real thing, and I was beginning to wonder how different it would be to the classroom.

I walked through reception; I walked as best I could, like a seasoned professional, my left leg shaking, my right sweating because of the plaster cast. I went in the lift to the sixth floor and walked into the office. Half of the other rookies hadn’t come and the rest were equally nervous. Our boss came out, dressed in a Saville Row suit. Smiling he said “Today’s the real thing. Let’s start selling”.  “What already?” I thought. My colleagues, the other trainees, found all sorts of reasons to disappear to the toilet.  I stayed. The boss said “Phone these numbers, read the script, be enthusiastic and get an appointment”. I did what I was told, and while I was talking to a guy, I asked what his preference was for an appointment, morning or afternoon, he replied ‘afternoon’ I said how about this afternoon, he said OK. I was on my way, I had an appointment.

The old guys in the office who were still loafing around, said I was crazy, no decent prospect would want to see you that afternoon because successful people are busy. The old lags also said I was giving out the wrong message, I was too eager. Their cynicism motivated me. I made 5 other appointments, got my crutches and went to go on my appointment. On my way out the door, I asked the old guys how many appointments they had made in the previous hour. They shifted uneasily when they admitted their Monday morning total was none. I smiled and got down to business.

I approached my prospects house, stomach churning, and 3 times I walked away, the fear was getting me.  “I can’t do this” I thought as I was walking, crutches banging, down the street. Then I thought, if I walk away, I will never know if that prospect would buy or not.  I would never know if I could be successful in this business. At this moment I realised, we really do shape our own futures with our thoughts and actions. I decided I can really influence what happens here.  I turned back, and nearly ran up to the door, and gave it loud knock. The client let me in and 50 minutes later he was my first client.

I rushed back to the office, stormed in and rang the sales bell. Mr Saville Row was delighted, the old guys sneered beginners luck, (they hadn’t been out yet). My peers who were also trainees were stunned to find out it could be done. Beginners luck I thought, I’ll show them. I had beginners luck 28 times that month and outsold them all by a long shot. I was the top performer in my first month.”

“Beginners luck is good; it lasted for ages. Four years later I bought the company”

Get the success attitude

In my career I have seen many talented people falter and fail simply because they did not have the success attitude. Being good at sales requires resilience, organisation, energy, thoroughness and an indomitable spirit.  It also requires focus, planning, being personable and having a strong enough character to deal with objections and to close the sale. The weak fall at the early hurdles. The mediocre achieve just mediocre results because they give up easily on a sale or are too timid to pitch new prospects. The strong either have the success attitude naturally or they have learned it along the way.  They work hard; they prospect exciting new business and do not fear rejection. They are personable and fully able to close the sale. They are at the top of their game and enjoy the financial rewards of being there. They are proud of their product, proud of themselves and proud of their achievements. They are winners not apologisers. Make sure you have the success attitude; it will take you far in life.

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