Most Sales People Would Not Want to Be Sold in the Manner in Which They Sell
Most sales strategies that rely on persuasion and allocation of information are deeply flawed because they so often do not rise above the burden they carry on being perceived as having an inherent conflict of interest.
As Jerry Stapleton says, "Take the sales out of the sales calls and do business calls. This forces your hand to use more business judgment and acumen, and to demonstrate organizational savvy. To be executive credible you cannot rely on the force of your personality or your offering." The goal of your sales call is to assess the compatibility, philosophy, strategy, priorities and goals between you and your customer. The reality is your offering is only as good as the sales person who sells it.
The problem with most sales strategies that companies employ today is that they conflict with most sales people's inner values and beliefs. Too many sales people feel "cheesy" when they have to push the company line. They do not feel authentic. So you have to have an authentic sales process that is real, yet effective. "People buy the way you sell, before they buy what you sell. If you cannot sell your customers on the way you work, you're going to have a tough time selling them your product or service," says Chris Lytle.
You can teach your sales people sales skills, but it is very difficult to teach credibility and trust. And without these two hallmarks for successful selling too many sales people sound like empty suits. "Some sales people should have warnings and disclaimers patterned after the ones on side-view mirrors: Warning! Objects and statements may be further from the truth and smaller than they appear," says Michael Bosworth.
The majority of sales companies' sales problems are self-induced and self-inflicted because they lack a defined sales strategy and sales vision. When you fail to plan you plan to fail. Without a sales strategy that is defined, predictable and forecastable, success is tougher to plan and achieve. Most mainstream sales strategies and sales processes are not a way to establish credibility, it is a way to destroy it. The reality is most sales people, if they were being honest, would not want to be sold to in the manner that they sell.
Customers will ultimately buy more consistently from sales people who have a sales strategy that gets them to truly understand their situation, operation, problems and their business. To sell strategically you need business acumen, you need broad industry knowledge and experience, and you need all this information in the form of questions to create or find unseen problems, unseen opportunities and unseen solutions. So be upfront, forthcoming and authentic. "Your strategy is to reveal your strategy. When the client knows how you work, what's going to happen and when it's going to happen they can quit defending against your tactics, strategy and start emotionally participating in the process," says Chris Lytle. This is what a strategic sales strategy can do for you. Everyone is on the same page and each participant can make more informed decisions.
Sales people universally fault at being too conservative, cautious, accommodating and unwilling to take measured risks when strategically trying to influence decision-makers. First of all they confuse title with influence. "Title isn't influence. Sales people make a fatal mistake of trying to locate the decision-maker. Instead, they should concern themselves with organizational savvy and understanding the dynamics of power and influence within the corporation. Every corporation has people with titles out of proportion to their actual level of influence," says Jerry Stapleton.
It is a truism in selling that the contact with the least power is generally the most accessible. "Studies show that 85% of the time the person who is in the buying role has little or no real say in what they buy. In fact in 32% of the cases, they really have no say whatsoever in the purchase decision," says William Brooks.
The reality is few sales people get savvier or wiser in the absence of a strategic sales process. They just get better at what they are are already good at. They only make small advancements. The problem is the better you are at something the harder it is to get better.