“Sales is to businesses, what Oxygen is to a human.” – Gordon Tredgold, Leadership Principles.
Sales. It’s a simple word, yet it is often mistaken for a complex process. Perhaps this is because of its importance to a company’s success. Without Sales, your company will suffocate and die, Tredgold says. It is hard to look past the significance of a good sales team to a business. For many, Sales is a mystery and something to fear.
South Shore Innovation’s latest Innovation Roundtable explored this very topic. At the weekly event, which takes place every Thursday morning from 8.30am to 10am at Cafe Gelato in Quincy, attendees heard intriguing points as entrepreneurs and Sales specialists shared their views on the best techniques.
While sales is something that has been written about extensively, and while Gordon Tredgold has suggested there are as many as 43 points to be considered during the sales process, the Innovation Roundtable discussion suggested otherwise. Sales Consultant Bill Scher, says success can be found in just three stages.
These are: Build a relationship; Find the emotional driver; Have a process or system.
Stage 1: Build a relationship
Scher, who specializes in growth in early stage companies, says that by building a relationship with clients and prospects, they are more likely to buy from you. He said: “People buy from people they like and trust. One way to make people feel comfortable with you is not to pitch when you first meet them. We should listen, let them talk.”
Scher puts much emphasis on the importance of listening. He says salespeople should employ a 70/30 rule which means letting the prospect talk 70 percent of the time. “This allows them to talk about themselves, their company, their problem,” he says, “but also helps us find out their real needs.”
Listening leads us to our second stage.
Stage 2. Find the emotional driver
How emotions influence buyers is something psychologists have studied. According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California, emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions. When we are confronted with a decision, he argues, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences which lead to our decision.
“In most purchases, there is a level of emotion, either pain or pleasure related below the surface of the issue,” he states. “Find out the ‘why’ after you’ve found out the ‘what’ they may need by asking questions.” Finding the emotional driver isn’t just an important factor in sales, but other disciplines too.
For instance, the best journalistic stories are the ones in which people can connect with the news emotionally, added Parna Sarkar-Basu, founder of Brand and Buzz Marketing. To write these stories, the journalist must ask questions, too. While there are many different types of questions available to a journalist, the story will be based on five simple queries that we all learned in school: Who, What, Why, When and Where.
She says: “Emotion plays a critical role in how we connect with our customers. After all, it’s people buying from people – from software and robots to furniture and cars.” In the end, both journalists and salespeople are looking to do the same thing: sell, whether it be a story or a product. This leads us to our third and final stage.
Stage 3: Have a process or system
According to Scher, salespeople need to have a repeatable, sustainable system that allows them to efficiently develop rapport, qualify prospective customers, ask questions and solidify the next steps to close a sale. This process is the same process they use with each customer. “Without a repeatable process,” he says, “you can never know or go back to determine where you failed or succeeded.”
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how simple Sales can be. With the mystery removed, there’s nothing left to fear. It’s now just a matter of going out and doing it.
Bill Scher is a Sales Consultant and Principal at SMS Consulting.
Innovation Roundtables takes place every Thursday from 8.30am to 10am at Cafe Gelato in Quincy.
Whether you’re an existing startup, a friend of a startup, someone with an idea, or someone who is just curious and ready to learn, you have a story waiting to be told. Come along to both offer and seek advice from people with similar interests and goals.
As always, everybody is invited to explore, network and collaborate at this event which grows in popularity each week. And, it’s FREE!