What does being selfish have to do with sales, you’re thinking, right?
Well, I’ll tell you.
- First, we have become very politically-correct societies, and we don’t want to offend anyone for any reason.
- Second, most of us who get into sales are people-pleasers, and we would never want someone to be uncomfortable because of something we said or asked.
- Third, many of us take sales rejection personally, even though we know we shouldn’t. (They’re turning down your product or service, not you.)
- Fourth, it’s not easy. Sales guru Tom Hopkins once wrote, “I learned a long time ago that selling is the highest paid hard work – and the lowest paid easy work – that I could find.” (He’s one of my heroes.)
- Fifth, you’re focused on how much money you’ll make or what your commission will be, and you don’t want to risk losing it.
Notice something about these five reasons? They’re all about YOU. How you feel. How you might look. How someone else might perceive you. How silly, hurt, rejected, or disheartened you might feel. How someone might not like you because you made them feel uncomfortable for a moment or two when you asked for the order. How much money you’ll make.
Selfish! all. about. you. (It’s not.)
Sales can have a bad name.
When professional salespeople think of epic sales speeches in movies, they think of movies like Glengarry Glen Ross (Alec Baldwin), Boiler Room (Vin Diesel or Ben Affleck), or Wolf of Wall Street (Leonardo DiCaprio). Look any of these up on YouTube. Go ahead, take a few minutes. I can wait. (Oh, and my apologies in advance for the profanity.)
Professional salespeople are amused by these speeches because they’re so unreal, so uncomfortable, they’re funny. Sure, there are companies like that out there. I wouldn’t work there, would you?
The problem with these scenes is that they shed a horrible light on sales, salespeople, and sales management. The other problem is that they portray sales as a zero-sum-game: someone wins, someone loses. Lastly, they’re pitching shoddy products, or products about which they have no knowledge. Customer satisfaction is not their concern.
Scenes like this give sales a bad name. Combine that with selfishness, and sales seems terrible, doesn’t it? Yuck. That’s too hardball!
The opposite end of that spectrum – soft selling, is just as bad, if not worse. (because no business gets done!) Here’s that salesperson:
- Subscribes to every article, podcast, or blog about “how to sell without seeming too sales-ey”.
- Works too hard at relationship building too soon.
- Looks for friends while prospecting, hoping they’ll buy from them in the long term, rather than focusing on qualified prospects.
- Afraid to ask for the order, for the deposit, for the contract, or for anything, because he doesn’t want to make the prospect feel uncomfortable.
- Drops the price, giving away profit and margin, thinking that will make the sale easy.
No this too-soft approach doesn’t work either.
You know what I love about sales? Nothing happens until a sale is made.
Here’s what does work. The Sales Cycle Stages(just according to me):
- Believe in your (company’s) product or service, and become an expert at it. If you don’t believe it in, leave and find something you DO believe in.
- Know about your competition, but don’t ever talk badly about them.
- Fill your sales funnel with as many qualified prospects as you can. Always be looking for more. Cold call! Yes, it’s hard work.
- When someone shows interest, qualify them. When will they be making a decision? What’s their budget? Ultimately, COULD they become your customer?
- Assess their needs. Ask open-ended questions about what they’re looking for, and LISTEN. Can your product meet or exceed their wants and needs?
- Offer your solution, tailored as much as possible to their needs. Get them to visualize how fantastic it will be.
- Ask for their feedback or objections. What are they? Why wouldn’t they buy? How can we reduce or eliminate those?
- ASK for the order. This is the UNselfish part – the part that makes them uncomfortable. They have to decide.
- Follow up to make sure they’re satisfied or see if they need help.
- Ask for referrals so you can return to step 3 (always being prospecting).
Make no mistake, #8 – asking for the order – is the most uncomfortable for everyone. You’re putting them on the spot. They have to decide. Often there’s an uneasy silence, and there’s an old sales rule that says the first one who speaks after the question is asked loses the deal. Ask for the order and shut up!
A few years ago I met a sales rep in the boating business. His numbers were phenomenal! He was head-and-shoulders above other salespeople in the industry, so we asked him how he did it. What was he doing that others weren’t? He answered,
“Simple. I put the contract in front of them right after I show them the boat. Some might be scared off, and that’s ok – they’re not wasting my time. The rest sometimes take four or five iterations of the contract, but eventually, they sign. Put the contract in front of them. That’s the secret.”
Here’s the critical change in your thinking that makes sales much better: make it about the customer. How will they feel once they start using your product or service? Will their wants or needs be met? Will they enjoy it? What pain are you eliminating? Will it affect their business or life positively?
Now you must help them decide, and likely you’ll have to push them out of their comfort zone to get there. But if you’re confident and reliable in your product and yourself, then you have nothing to fear.
Don’t be selfish! It’s about THEM. Help them. Go SELL.