2 Surefire Steps To Help You Sell More Stuff
And why your sales process probably sucks!
I used to work as a sales trainer and the first thing I would tell my new trainees was that they would actually have to make two sales for every one item they wanted to sell.
I explained that before they would get a chance to deliver an effective sales pitch, they would first have to sell the prospect on why they should listen.
So many sales people skip over the essential first step of building that relationship, and jump blindly into the sales pitch itself.
I see this all the time at networking events when people come up and just hand you a business card and jump into their elevator pitch without even asking for your name or engaging you in any preliminary conversation. It’s annoying as hell and ridiculously ineffective.
In my experience, relationship building is the part of the sales process that most sales people mess up, and it also happens to be the easiest place to piss people off. Mostly because at this point you have no commitment from the buyer.
It’s like skipping foreplay and jumping straight to sex. Sure, you might get the job done once in awhile, but it usually leaves someone feeling dissatisfied.
Skipping that first step is why people think of sales professionals as pushy or manipulative.
Because instead of taking time to warm things up and sliding into the sales pitch slowly, the eager salesperson blows his load after only a few pumps. Never realizing that people are not out there looking to buy products, that they are instead looking to buy better versions of themselves. And better versions of themselves are not usually accompanied by annoying sales people.
It’s especially troublesome that this behavior has spread to the online sales process because it has lead to a deluge of shitty websites and crappy user experiences. All in the name of interrupting our line of sight with another pesky advertisement.
But interrupting an audience will only get you so far. If you really want to move your sales process forward, online or otherwise, you need to focus on drawing people in and finding interesting ways to build trust online.
So here are two simple steps to help you drop the sleaze ball factor and increase your overall sales efficiency.
1 : Find creative ways to build trust
Before you try to sell me something, you must first sell me on why I should take time to listen. It’s a noisy world out there and people are tired of being sold to indiscriminately.
It‘s the reason why storytelling has become such an important part of the modern sales process, and it’s exactly why building a compelling brand name will help you separate yourself from the competition.
It’s why GoPro spends so much of their marketing efforts creating compelling content as opposed to just running around peddling their products.
They didn’t build their empire by selling camera’s, they sold us on the ability to document an active lifestyle.
They sold us on the idea of becoming an explorer and then centered their marketing around encouraging us to think about all of the cool things we were going to do once we got our hands on one of their perfectly packaged devices.
It’s why people stand in lines wrapped around the corner of every Apple store on the eve of their most anticipated product releases, and why hundreds of thousands of people lined up to put down a $1,000 deposit on a Tesla Model 3. A car which will not even hit the streets for another three years.
It’s the difference between having to grind out every sale vs putting your audience to work for you. It’s an investment in a new type of advertising mechanism. One which many companies are overlooking, and one which must be built deep into the core philosophy of the organization itself in order to be successful.
This is the future of sales.
2: Don’t be a dick
There are too many options out there for salespeople to think they can keep pushing people around with their manipulative sales strategies.
The truth is that social consumers are getting smarter and while it might take some time to complete the transformation, the next generation of buyers has overwhelmingly shown that they expect more from the brands they associate with.
At the end of the day, effective sales processes are and always have been about building mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about building trust and delivering value.
For a long time, salespeople were the only way to get the information we needed in order to make a buying decision which allowed them to skew those relationships in their favor.
A scenario which gave the sales person a lot of leverage over the buyer. It put the sales person in an unfair position of power over the consumer, and that power has been abused for far too long.
It’s the reason why companies like Angie’s List, TrueCar, Zillow, etc. have grown so fast over the last few years. Because they have embraced transparency and modeled their business around building value for and advocating on the behalf of the consumer.
Because they have taken salesmanship out of the equation and instead started spending that money developing software that allows them to support their network economy.
They built their own online community centered around the idea or perceived trust. They used the internet for it’s true potential, marginalized the middle men, and carved a niche for themselves inside of an already saturated market.
The good news is that this kind of reform is coming to every single sales process on this planet over the next few years. Whether the people inside of those industries see it coming or not.
And while I understand that not all of us can build the next billion dollar brand, anyone who thinks that these same mechanics are not relevant to the growth of their small businesses is making a big mistake.
So if you want to sell more stuff, a good place to start is by being honest with the consumer and delivering the things you say you are going to do.
It means standing behind your products, focusing on the consumer, and using technology in a way that helps you leverage the story behind your brand in a way that sets you apart from anyone else who may be trying to do the things you do. Because when you can elevate yourself to that level, you become your only competition.
And that right there is the best way to make sure you’re the one who makes the most sales.