How to Make Your Sales Sizzle
Show of hands: How many of you actually think your customers love you?
Not in the "I'm going to leave my wife and run off with you" way, but really, truly care about you?
Sure, they go to lunch with you, play golf and go fishing, but stop a moment a think of who usually ends up paying.
Don't get your feelings hurt; business is business.
Sometimes we have to take our lumps and swallow our pride. After all, you're not selling yellow page ads here; you're selling high-end, big ticket items. If you've made it this far in your career, you skin is probably pretty thick.
When it comes to technical sales, we're usually selling the products and services that make things run. The magic behind the curtain that the general public never sees, much less thinks about. In a way, we're the unsung heroes. Heroes usually have it rough, especially when they're trying to sell a new product in a new territory.
Maybe I'm letting my sales fantasy creep into my writing. I need to lose that cape!
Point is, we sell really important products that do really important things, but to be honest, who cares? What you and I sell isn't glitzy like the latest smart phone. We don't have super-cool websites with all the bells and whistles to woo our customers our way.
We've got a big, boring product that's probably made in a big, boring box, To top it off, it's probably gray, or black, or some other pulse-calming color.
The bottom line: what we do is boring, and if we forget that what we do can be exciting, it will show and our sales will suffer.
With that being said, we've compiled a short list of keys to boosting your sales, even if you sell a boring product:
Focus on Your Customers Pain... Then Cure It
Everybody tells you to focus on your customers pain, but few tell you the next step is the most important: Work to fix it. Pretend it's the most important thing you could do. More important than running your own business.
want need people who understand what they are really looking for and who can give it to them. Is it going to be you, or your competition?
Set Yourself Apart... In a Good Way
I know a sales guy who sets himself apart (in one way, at least) by wearing a bow tie. In a time where many people don't even wear suits and ties, let alone bow ties, he certainly stands out. Now, this guy has plenty of other great qualities that make him memorable (and in fact, my personal opinion is he should lose the tie).
You need to be memorable, but it needs to be classy. Coming up with a quirky way of setting yourself apart can often backfire.
I remember hearing one client tell me of his absolute hatred for a salesperson who wears nothing but boots as his footwear. Formal business meeting? Boots. Site walk with customer? Boots. Project kick-off meeting with VPs in attendance? Boots.
The guy thinks it's his own trademark; his own unique signature that gets everyone talking. The problem is, it gets everyone talking about how lame it is.
Despite what you think about bow ties, the point is, it gets people talking.
Add Value, Add Value, Add Value
Adding value became a paradigm in, what, the 1990s? It should probably be retired, several times over. The problem is, few people have actually cracked the code as to what it means.
Adding value doesn't mean touching paper or having something run through your office--that just slows down the entire process. Adding value means contributing to the overall process in a meaningful way.
Once you do that, figure out how to do it better than anyone else; you'll become indispensable.
Never Give Up
Save the best for last. Too many people give up when the going gets tough, only to quit moments away from success.
Let's put it this way: Despite our many differences as humans, we are all more or less the same where it counts. We seek pleasure and avoid pain. And losing out on business is certainly painful, so most of us will only take so much before we shout "No More!"
If everyone taps out at the same time, your job just got infinitely easier, just by sticking in the game a few seconds longer.
Technical sales is fun, but it is challenging. I like to tell people that "we aren't selling yellow page ads here, and we don't sell office supplies." (Nothing against the yellow pages or paper salesmen; they've got a tough job.)
But those of us who sell big ticket, specialized items, whether it's industrial equipment, software, controls or project services, we have to play by a different set of rules.
In a recent post, we talked about selling the sizzle and how to sell a product or service without relying on any fancing magic. It's well worth a read.
A co-worker of mine wrote a great post on how to be a great salesperson by relying on honesty and hard work. I'd recommend checking it out!
Whatever you think, when we talk about sales, it comes down to a numbers game versus a quality game. What will your tactic be?