Selling for me began
at the age of 12.
My dad was an engineer.
Mechanical and civil. Early on he said to me, "Son, I've never sold
anything, but I have bought a lot of stuff ... and you ought to sell."
That's how it began.
The mile walk home
from school, knocking on doors in the days when the lady of the house
would be home, was my introduction to face-to-face selling. Every day
a different way to walk that mile. Every day a new sales experience.
When you're a kid
you can get grown-ups to buy just about anything. Just look at the Girl
Scouts and their cookie sale. Or any youth organization all the
kids need do is look at you ... and you melt to their message.
Not so in the real
world. For me the real world began with The Autobiography of Benjamin
Franklin. Franklin was a light a guiding light. He left many
things for those of us who followed.
For example, Franklin
chose 13 subjects he felt he needed to master. His learning plan was simple;
each of the 13 points would be given strict attention for a single week.
And then he'd move to the next. And the next.
In this way he worked
through his entire list of 13 points 4 times a year.
This is exactly how
I learned to become a professional salesman. The concept of Franklin was
translated to a book by Frank Bettger, titled How I Raised Myself From
Failure to Success in Selling.
Frank had 13 points,
too. Some came directly from Franklin. Others were selected because they
are specific to selling. This Baker's Dozen checklist of 13
ideas has been put together to help you become more successful at selling.
1. Be Enthusiastic!
Act enthusiastic and
you'll become enthusiastic.
If you truly believe
in what you are offering, and it shows, you are much more likely to be
If you are dull, boring,
no expression, no passion it is difficult for your prospect to
get excited about being your customer. If you don't care and it
shows why should anyone care?
does not mean you jump up and down. It doesn't mean you slap people on
the back to tell them how wonderful they are. It does mean you are warm,
convincing, persuasive, precise. It does mean you know what you are talking
about and it shows.
Selling is getting
your audience to buy from you. Show some enthusiasm about that process.
2. Be Organized
Sales people are suppose
to be able to "think on your feet".
Fine I agree.
Yet, before you "think
on your feet" I recommend you THINK ON YOUR SEAT!
Take enough time to
think and plan. Set aside a time it could be one full day a week
and get yourself ready. Ready for the next set of calls. Think
what needs to be said, to whom, why and when.
That is, take time
to think and plan. To be prepared.
Yes, we are in a fast
paced constantly moving world. Still, if we move without direction because
we did not take enough time, we will fall down. Sooner or later
we will fall down.
To be ready to make
a full and complete pitch to that new prospect, or to present an upgrade
program to an existing client, you must organize your mind for selling.
Get organized. Think on your seat.
3. Think in Terms
of Others Interests
Yes, I truly believe
nothing happens until someone sells something to someone. And then everything
You see, that first
sale is just the beginning. As no one wants to make just one sale to only
one person just one time. Everyone is looking for repeat business. And
the way to earn repeat business is to think in terms of the other guys
If selling is presenting
the product and collecting the money a definition from Jack Wahl
why should anyone do business with you? The prime reason is always
What do you offer
that will benefit me? What do you bring to the table that is unique, different,
unusual and different than the other guy? And still be useful to me?
To make prospects
customers you must appeal to their first line of interest. Be "interesting"
to your marketplace.
4. Ask Questions!
Asking questions is
to your sales advantage. For the person doing the asking is always in
Which simply means
ask a lot of questions.
Studies have shown
successful sales people talk only 1/3 of the time ... and listen 2/3rds.
Not what you may think when you think selling.
Selling, by popular
definition, is talking, presenting, showing, demonstrating ... and talking
more. Yet, you will enjoy more success if you talk less.
One of the better
ways to talk less is to get a two-way communication going. Frequently
you can do just that by asking questions.
You ask questions
to qualify a prospect. To find their true needs. To clarify the situation.
To get your customers respect. And to build relations and trust.
You ask questions
to involve the prospect getting them to talk with you will tell
you how to sell them. You ask questions because by doing so you are in
control you are leading the way. This gives you more "yes"
answers, fewer "no's" and more closes.
All because you ask
questions. Do it.
5. Find the KEY issue
No matter what anyone
says, there is always a key issue before a buying decision.
There is a reason
someone makes a buy. The issue could be more than a single point
in fact it could be several. Under the same umbrella.
So, to be successful
in selling you must find the main point of interest the most vulnerable
point. The point or issue that will move a prospect to become
See point #4. for
how to do this ask questions!
Yet, there is more.
There is the collection of "senses". And for selling there are
more than the known 5: ... feel ... smell ...
taste ... hear ... see.
There are 2 more senses
for successful selling. The first is movement. How and where and,
if you can learn, "why" people sit, stand, move about. The physical
part of how people handle themselves. Long ago it was called "body
language". The concept is still alive.
The 7th and last sense
is common. Which is equally important with each of the others.
Of course, as Mark Twain said, "the most common thing about common
sense is it isn't very common."
Uncover your prospects
needs by asking questions by looking for their most important or
key issue by applying the 7 senses.
It is very easy to
talk about and very difficult to do. Listen.
Why is this so? Because
rarely is anyone taught to listen. We teach reading and writing and "assume"
hearing is listening. Which, of course, it is not.
Knowing how to listen
takes more than 2 good ears it takes practice ... concentration
... effort. And of course it requires you to keep your mouth shut! Something
difficult for many in sales.
Harry Erlicher of
GE said it best; "A salesman cannot know too much ... but he can
TALK too much."
Yogi Berra shares
a reason to listen; "You can see a lot just by listening."
The best definition
of listening comes from the comics. Andy Capp's bartender; "A good
listener isn't someone who has nothing to say. A good listener is a good
talker who's after something."
Sounds like a successful
sales tip to me.
7. Deserve Confidence
If you say you are
good, you had better be good. If you feel you are competent, a knowledge
leader in your business, make certain you are.
Prospects will respect
you when they know you. Make certain they know about your company, as
well as your product and service. Are they comfortable with you
the person? Make certain they are.
Prospects become customers
when they understand what you are offering. And how it will satisfy their
specific, individual, unique and different needs.
Your best customers
feel good about doing business with you because you make them look good.
To their boss, their team mates, in their marketplace.
When it is time to
be compared to the competition do the comparison honestly and fairly.
When you are asked
for a solution to a need make a thorough study and then a thorough
presentation of your ideas
And always be a "pro".
Which means look, act, present as is fitting within your marketplace.
You earn the right
to deserve the confidence you desire. So earn it!
8. Knowledge of Your
Nobody has too much
knowledge. There is no such thing as too much knowledge.
So, how do you become
a knowledge expert in your business? By constantly being involved with
Subscribe and read
the trades. Go to the conventions. Ask your elders in the business to
mentor you. Make calls with a partner. That is, get involved and stay
On the other side,
do the same with your customers. Learn what they read, and read it. Find
out what meetings they attend and attend. And because there is
nothing like first hand knowledge, ask to go along with their sales reps
to see their customers.
The only way to become
a knowledge expert is to study. Do it.
9. Appreciation &
Selling is a people
business. People make things happen. It is people who build quality. Who
Each of us has have
had people in our history who moved us along to where we are today. This
thought Appreciation & Praise is here to make certain
we do not forget where we came from. We came from people.
And our customers
are people, too. A study revealed there are 5 most important things that
buyers feel about sellers:
- they want the seller
to be credible to know what they are talking about,
- they want the seller
to be a true on the job "professional",
- they expect the
seller to have product knowledge, in depth, including the competitors
- they need the seller
to have problem-solving skills, which means they are much more than
an order taker,
- they like to see
decent presentation skills.
To be appreciated
you need to be good. To continually get better at selling requires we
remember where we came from, too.
The single most powerful
act you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.
A voice with a smile
always wins, too. Just smiling, with no comment, gets attention. Smiling
as you speak doubles your success.
And it is easy to
do. Smiling takes far fewer face muscle than frowning ... something like
7 to over 100. Seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?
Do it SMILE!
11. Remember Names
For some like
me the face is easy. The name is tough.
There are many "formulas"
for remembering. Mine? Write it down!
Always when I write
the name, even without any comment, it sticks.
For some repetition
works. Maybe association with a place, time, fact, situation. There is
no right or wrong way. Whatever works for you do it.
Oh, and do do it!
It is important. Never forget a customer ... never let a customer forget
you. Remember, put a name with the face. It is vital to your sales success.
12. Service &
Two thoughts here;
taking care of your current customers, and looking for new.
These ideas are together
because they directly relate. One of your best sources for new business
is your current customer base. Why? Because no one (including me) is getting
all the business available to you from your current customers. You know
this is true, so what are you doing about it?
A good way to take
your customers to the next level AND to provide them with superior service,
is to reach out to them more often. "Talk" with them. Ask them
questions. Get them to tell you what they need are looking for
their problems their challenges. Frequently YOU can fulfill
their needs. All because you expressed interest and asked.
And because you are
already working successfully together, you are very likely to get more
business. Good service will grow to more business.
Yet, you do need to
look outside your current collection for truly new, too. Why? Because
no matter how good you are, there will be a churn in your base. It happens
So, plan to focus
on your customers with outrageous service. More than they expect. You
will keep more of them and grow with them when you do.
And, at the same time,
always be looking for new. It is the only way to continue to grow sales
13. Closing the Sale;
Selling is most measurable.
You either get the money, or you do not. You either have a transaction,
or you do not. Selling is a very black and white deal. You win
or your do not. Period.
To get there you aim
for the bottom line. Which is A.F.T.O. ... Ask For
Which follows D.W.I.T.,
or Do What It Takes. Successful sales people
DWIT first. Which leads to AFTO. Which becomes a sale.
The first dozen points
in this set lead to the last, #13. For when you are organized,
enthusiastic, ask questions about the prospects key issues and prime interests,
and then listen, you are more likely to have already D.W.I.T. Done
What It Takes.
When you really know
your business and have earned confidence, understand it is people, rather
than things, that are really important, smile, remember and service ...
when you AFTO the prospect is ready to buy.
Some would say selling
is not rocket-science. Or brain-surgery. True ... it is not. Yet, selling
is a pro-active process. To be successful in sales you do need to be ready.
Get ready and
DIRFT. Do It Right the First Time.
Okay, that's it. The
Baker's Dozen Collection 13 Platinum Sales Success
Let's go to it!