My sales perspective flies in the face of traditional selling. And it’s not just a disruption; it’s the new way of sales. What’s your perspective?
Here are seven realities to get your thinking started:
First reality: Traditional selling is aggressive: telling, pitching, manipulating and closing. This old-world approach to sales is over and has been for more than a decade.
Second reality: The first sale that’s made is the salesperson. If the prospective customer does not buy you, they’re not buying anything.
Third reality: The customer is as smart or smarter than you are. The internet has provided them with competitive savvy and social media provides proof.
Fourth reality: Your customers and prospects are busy with their stuff and may have little or no time to be bothered by you and your stuff. It’s so much more powerful when they find you in time of need.
Fifth reality: Customers and prospects want intellectual engagement about how they win, not a sales pitch. They do not care about your urgency to make quota. They only care about their urgency to make profit.
Sixth reality: The prospective customer must perceive value in your sales offering, trust you as a person and as a company, perceive they win as a result of purchase and be able to visualize outcome after purchase (maybe with the help of your video testimonials).
Seventh reality: You better have a social presence and a social reputation that proves your worth to others and provides peace of mind to the prospect.
Look at this list carefully and see if what you do, the actions you take or any of the strategies about how you sell are contained here. If they are, you will consistently lose to the “new way.”
Cold calling. If selling has a dark side, it’s the cold call, a total interruption of others (the prospect) and predominantly a waste of salespeople’s time. Higher than 90 percent rejection rate and the major cause of sales failure.
Hunting-and-farming salespeople. This is basically a sales specialist making a sale and then running away, leaving behind the service department — or inside sales, or the delivery guy — and the customer to feel deserted. Hunting and farming is the worst case for relationship building ever created.
Find the pain. Perhaps the rudest of all sales processes, it’s “probing” to make prospects feel uncomfortable. This is an old-world tactic, where the salesperson miraculously proposes a solution to an issue the prospect has. The solution is not the issue. The issue is finding the pain is the focal point of the sale. No value, no engagement, no connection — simply manipulation. The only thing more idiotic (and more rude) than “finding the pain” is cold calling.
Pitch the product. Telling your prospective customer stuff about your product they could’ve found online in three seconds, or that you could’ve emailed them in advance of your meeting. Customers do not care what you’re selling unless you’re showing them how they win as a result of purchase, such as how they will produce more and how they will profit more. Start there.
Overcome objections. “Your price is too high.” Really? You’re still dealing with that? Where's the value? Where’s the testimonial? Where’s the relationship? Where’s the trust? Where’s the social proof?
Close the sale. Manipulative closing is a thing of the past. The sale is made emotionally, not manipulatively.
Proposals and bidding. This part of selling will never go away, but it can be significantly reduced with loyal relationships and proven quality.
Insincere follow-up. Call looking for money.
Customer satisfaction. J.D. Power and Associates gives “customer satisfaction” awards to airlines. Do I need to say anything more about how ridiculous customer satisfaction is?
Ask for (beg for) referrals. If you ask for a referral once and the customer does not give you one, and you call again reminding the customer they promised to give you a referral and the customer still does not give you one, they will never take your call again. Instead of asking for referrals, why don’t you give one?
Low or no social media presence. Failure to understand the fact social media is a combination of attraction, proof that you are who you say you are and a sales tool.
Low or no social media awareness. Inability or refusal of salespeople to participate gives your competition an ability to use it and dominate.
Low or no relationship. The quality of the relationship allows you to make multiple sales, earn more profit, earn referrals and gain their testimonial proof. If you’re lacking in these four areas, it’s your relationship report card and loss of sales or profit, or both.
Me? I prefer to be assertive. Assertive salespeople ask. Aggressive salespeople tell. Assertive salespeople go for the customer. Aggressive salespeople go for the sale.
Which one are you? It's the difference between the old way and the new way.
The “new way” is next week — stay tuned!
Editor’s note: Jeffrey Gitomer is on sabbatical. This column originally appeared in the June 23, 2014, Business Journal.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books. His “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling” is available as a book and an online course at gitomerVT.com. For public event dates and information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey at email@example.com.