Want to make more sales Think about the why, not how to

April 20, 2009
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Think about the last time you bought something. How attuned was the salesperson to your “why”?

Most salespeople make the fatal mistake of “selling” or “pitching” their product or service rather than discovering the prospective customer’s motive, reason, or desire to buy. And that motive is usually a level or two beneath the first stated motive.

EXAMPLE: “I want my daughter to go to college” is not a motive. WHY you want your daughter to go to college is the trigger for writing the check. Maybe it’s that you were too poor to go; maybe it’s close to her grandparents; maybe she’s been talking about being a nurse since she was 7 years old. Whatever the motive, all the sales pitches in the world won’t mean anything unless or until you discover — and press on — the emotional nerve.

Old World sales tactics, closing techniques and other sales drivel is over. The Internet has replaced the pitch man. All facts are retrievable in a nanosecond. The Internet has made business buyers and consumers smarter than ever — even smarter than salespeople.

Today’s salespeople had better be question-based, value-driven, customer-focused and able to prove the value of product, rather than try to sell it. Proof comes from testimonials, not sales presentations. Testimonials will reveal other people’s (other customers’) motives to buy.

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is changing: not just the economy — the world. This will affect the way sales are made forever. At present, customers are reluctant to buy. Many have the money, but are reluctant to part with it. Some are afraid, some are waiting for prices to fall, and some are just sitting on the sidelines watching the situation unfold. Whatever the reason, sales cycles are lengthening — significantly.

It’s interesting to see companies, management and salespeople reacting to this. Most are panicked to “make their numbers” or “push for more sales.” Or worse, they’re “worried what their shareholders will think about falling sales.” Total mistake.

Now is the time to find out why and where your customers are hurting and try to help them. Now is the time to keep your customers loyal by providing extra service, not cutting back. Now is the time to invest in attitude training for everyone in your company, so they can have hope and a better outlook than what is portrayed in media.

I am telling my readers and clients to do the following four things, and if they do these things there will be a reward: It’s No. 4.5.

1. Serve your customers beyond their expectations. Fast deliveries. Error-free order processing. Ease of doing business with you. And all of that with friendly people.

2. Help your customers beyond their expectations. Your sales are suffering because their business is suffering. Look for ways to help them. Your gesture of genuine help and kindness will be remembered when the economy begins to rebound (and it will). Maybe the help is in the form of volunteering to work there for a day; maybe it’s an idea or brainstorming session; maybe it’s a lead or a referral. Whatever it is, be assured it will be appreciated.

3. Look to increase your present wallet share (sales volume) with existing customers. Most companies have opportunities to increase sales by gaining a greater percentage of business with existing customers. It may be at the same location, it may be at a different branch or even a different division, but sales are out there, and the easiest path is through the people with whom you’re already doing business.

4. Work your ass off. Start an hour or two earlier, work an hour or two later. Now is the time for action. And if you’re looking for more sales, it’s likely they won’t come between 9 and 5. Have breakfast or lunch with as many customers and prospects as possible. “Jeffrey, I can’t get people to eat with me; they say they’re too busy.” Really? Call them and tell them you have a prospect that wants to do business with them. Witness how they suddenly become available. But finding prospects for your customers requires work. Get it? Most salespeople are not willing to do the hard work that it takes to make selling easy.

Once you dedicate yourself to mastering and executing these four actions, then and only then:

4.5. Referrals will begin coming your way, because you have earned them. Maybe not many at first. But the harder you work, the more value you provide, the more positive you are, the more help you offer, the more the world will pay you back.

In these times, it’s not just about being great — it’s about understanding why and being best: your best, and the best. Second best in sales is first loser. Ask yourself: “What am I doing to be my best today?” The answer to that question will lead you to a loyal customer and a sale.

My (trademarked) sales mantra is: “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” That is the underlying principle of the importance of uncovering buying motives. Motives lead to checks and credit cards.

Free Git-Bit: If you want to learn the secret for long-term name recognition and loyal customers, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter NAME in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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