Another milestone by the sales team means a bigger party than the last one! While these momentous celebrations are worthy aspirations, the reality is that an enormous amount of hard, humbling work is involved before they happen. Building a thriving business is so much more than landing big deals and celebrating lavishly. Grinding is a favorite metaphor for business progress! The grind is steady, consistent, challenging, brutal…. and worth it! From where does the process and discipline emerge to endure this crushing process? Who honestly has the appetite for that emotional roller coaster? Who conjures the vision and tenacity to meet the challenge daily that leads to quarterly success? Where does the mindset even come from?
Are great sales professionals made or born? Stop the debate right now! They are made. The successful professional who seems to have had the gift of gab from the crib, makes it look easy because they work hard at their craft. Memorizing delivery techniques, internalizing features and benefits from the product descriptions are all results of intentional effort. No one has the magic elixir that places benefits at the top of their mind, no matter how many happy hours they attend. Watch enough presentations and you will eventually see smooth talking Romeos sell their way out of deals. Then, watch a thoughtful stutter effectively listen her way to the largest sale of the year!
In order to communicate effectively the utility of products and services, successful sales professionals require attentive study of features and benefits. Anticipating questions is another key attribute resulting in consistent, revenue-generating success. Winners come prepared! The benefits of any good or service are finite. Regardless of the innumerable features of the gadget that slices and dices, masterfully communicating the most highly valued benefits to targeted buyers ultimately wins the sale. Furthermore, to get buyers to reveal their hot buttons, great sales professionals must first exercise listening intently. That attribute is quickly followed by the seller using their presentation to articulate specific examples of the most valuable benefits for the specific prospect’s purpose. The successful sales rep must then consistently highlight key insights that focus explicitly on the buyer’s success.
To be clear, buyers want his or her individual needs met! Organizational needs are important, but pay attention to the desires of the actual decision-maker. Avoid assumptions in determining where the purchasing power truly lies. Interactions within a buyer’s decision-making process can often be confusing. Explicitly ask sufficient questions that clarify the prospect’s internal processes. No one wants to lose a deal because they successfully sold to someone without authority to buy! To affirm that relationships appear as they seem, take notes and question inconsistencies. Tactfully, politely, question the power structure until the true authority surfaces.
Remember, the customer may not always be right. However, their perspective will prevail! Create a dialogue that gives the buyer as many opportunities to prevail as they reasonably can, until achieving, “Yes, I’ll buy it!”. Undisciplined sales reps often win the argument and lose the deal! To allow authority to reveal itself, be prepared to ask questions of multiple participants within the interaction. By being more interactive, the sales process appears more inclusive which allows more perspectives to surface. More importantly, this tactic typically results in underlings subconsciously deferring detailed responses to the true decision maker, or at least nudges the true decision makers to reveal their alpha-status! In most cases, purposeful questions, with patient attention to communication clues, reveal the true decision-making power structure.
Realize that these fundamentals, apply for both goods and services, as well as personal or business sales. In instances where the sales decision is determined by a corporate-driven algorithm to maximize value, please recognize that at some point a human being programmed that algorithm. At that point, that individual imposed their individual biases that seemed to make the most sense and value for the company. Subjectivity enters the business process, even with innovative, sophisticated technology. To capture the sale regardless of the interface, savvy, successful sales professionals leverage the process and discipline that resides at the decision point. To achieve success, the grind starts long before the interaction between buyer and seller starts. So, polish your industry knowledge, and practice proven scripts. Actively learn and prepare details concerning the target. Success demands grinding! Then, grind some more!! Finally, celebrate the wins!!!
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Author of “Storytelling Wins the Best Engagements“