What story did you tell to get the deal? Too often in the hyper competitive world of Business Development, the truth gets lost in the deal. Regardless, once a sale is consummated, someone must deliver. “Once upon a time… I win!” This is in fact a story. It has a classic introduction. It creates intrigue. It has a clear conclusion. From a selling perspective this story carries the day because it explicitly defines a successfully performing protagonist. The reason that this story has the capacity to work is that it first follows an established formula. The reason that this story delivers successfully is that it provides intrigue, then a solution. All that is left are characters and a plot.
Sellers’ Not-So-Secret Desires
In business and particularly sales, the characters come readily equipped. Sellers have explicit motivations. Buyers are cautious and are particularly subject to internal conflict. With all these elements going into a deal, how does business ever get transacted? Frankly, it comes down to emotion. The facts reveal that many transactions result from feelings. Furthermore, many deals are executed for self-gratification. “What’s in it for me” is constantly present on both sides of the transaction. Other deals are worked out of desperation, particularly toward month-end. Some deals are unashamedly done for greed. Yet, the most successful deals are a direct result of the desire to win. Closers are winners. It is in the job description. So, how are more winners created?
Success goes back to story. Sales training gives you tools. The desire to win is instilled in the hero’s DNA. Consequently, every sales professional is not a hero. Yet, sales heroes must still slay their dragons! Before anything else, winners must narrowly focus on the detailed process on slaying dragons. Furthermore, the hero must have a huge why! Perhaps the transaction results in the greater good. Or, it could be to build a better individual lifestyle. Self-validation is often a reason. But, in many successful cases of prevailing sales heroes, the underlying motivation is competing and executing! Heroes love winning!
Attitude, Then Altitude
With that foundation, keys to superior salesmanship feature a tenacious attitude. The story emerges once facts dictate the underlying why. Next, the desire feeds on the emotional charge toward victory. Specifically, quotas are not met by faithfully obeying the sales training. If obeying the rules were the secret to success, then everyone would be rich, thin and beautiful! The unyielding desire to win is what slays the quota dragon. Remember, the quota dragon will fight back. The best sales professionals hear the word, “No”, all the time. However, they also hear the word, “Hello”, more when communicating relentlessly and making the next contact. They also hear the word, “Yes”, when the sales professional’s ingenuity and inquisitiveness, unearths the honest-to-truth problem that the tenacious salesperson eagerly resolves. The power to chase away pain defeats discounts every time!
Finally, winning professionals do their research. They understand to whom they are selling. They understand explicitly why the prospect truly wants to buy. It is almost never primarily because of the cheapest price. It is almost always because of self-centered desire. Find that desire and feed it. If the buyer prioritizes innovation, then deliver a solution with sufficient bells and whistles. If the true decision maker craves recognition, then close the deal and blasts that individual’s success among thousands of followers. Know that money and ego always matter. Also, realize that underlying motivations matter equally, if not more. Unearth those motivations. Sales success depends on revealing the customer’s critical desire, then supersize that value to satisfy that desire in the final proposition.
Great sales professional clearly recognize that customers buy with emotion and justify with logic! Consequently, sales champions listen with their ears and their hearts. Make the story about the buyer. Feed the buyers inner priority! To be a true sales champion, the next step is to guarantee that the buyer’s boss has his primary needs met, too. The best probing questions involve the primary contact determining what the buyer’s superior values most. That step is quickly followed with the seller partnering with the buyer so that his internal needs are secure. The best part of this strategy is that the buyer is eager to work with the seller in the future. The reason is simply because the seller’s boss left the transaction with a win. At this point, more winning results in more selling!! Who has a happy ending now?
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Author of “Storytelling Wins The Best Engagements“