10 Myths of Sales (Myths 3 and 4)
Welcome back to sales myth busting. Last week, we discussed the first two myths, Good Salespeople are Born, Not Made, and Buyers are Liars.
This week, we’ll dive into two more, that I think have really gotten convoluted throughout the years. Meant with good intention, over time they’ve become less impactful and maybe even less relevant.
Myth #3: Always Be Closing (ABC)
Who in sales has NOT heard this phrase at least once or twice? For those of us that have been in sales for quite some time, this was a phrase used very commonly back in the day, and may still be. The sales landscape has definitely changed over the years.
Here’s a perfect example. The movie Tin Men was a place that popularized this statement. (Watch this 3 minute clip to see them in action.) Their tactics are a little less than reputable. A lot of times Always Be Closing trumped doing what was right for the prospect, and became more about closing the deal, whatever that took. It didn’t make for a very enjoyable experience as a buyer, and depending on your own personal integrity as a salesperson, could push the edge in terms of right and wrong.
I will say as a sales leader and trainer, that the “intent” of Always Be Closing is spot on in terms of keeping your salespeople connected and engaged in what their job is, however, as I mentioned it’s the tactics that can become flawed. As a salesperson, your job IS to close the deal. Get the sale. Increase revenues. Bring in more business. But today, it’s very much less about this aggressive, in your face “salesperson-focused” tactic and much more about a “prospect-focused” process. Always Be Closing can look like a “check-in”; a trial statement to see where your prospect is in the process. An example would be “Based on what we have discussed so far, is my product or service something you can see the benefit of?”
The definition of “to sell” is “To persuade someone of the merits of an idea.” A good salesperson is more of a shepherd who is interested in guiding the client from point A to point B with trust, buy-in and credibility vs. forcing them there or “convincing” them. Your job is to uncover needs and wants and help the prospect determine if your offering is the one that fills those needs. Which brings me to the next myth.
Myth #4: Good Salespeople Could Sell Ice to Eskimos
This one makes me a little crazy, I’ll admit. Who would sell something to someone that they have absolutely no need for? This goes with those questionable tactics I was talking about above. Salespeople who think this or do this are more motivated by the “game” than they are by doing the right thing and making sure the prospect gets what they need. This statement is what gives salespeople a bad name. This is where the stereotypical ‘used car salesman’ image comes from that most people think of when they think about buying something. I wrote another blog about this a couple years ago (warning, it’s a little bit of a rant, but you can tell I’m passionate about this.)
However, a truly good salesperson searches for authentic matches of their offering with the needs of their prospects, and works to create value in the sales process. Instead of convincing them that a need exists, they help the prospect see and recognize a need (if they don’t already see it) and helps demonstrate how they can help fulfill that need.
The number one goal is to show the value of your product or solution to the prospect and then give them the opportunity to BUY.
What is it worth to have this ‘pain’ taken away? Usually, as long as it is worth more or at least equal to what the price is, the sale should be a natural and logical process. It gets off track when the value doesn’t outweigh the cost of their pain, and then you’re stuck convincing, which usually never goes well.
As a salesperson, if you do your job properly by doing your research, asking questions and assessing the situation, the process of selling a customer should be a logical, orderly conversation. Here are a few main points to help the sale go well:
Uncover issues, pain, challenges, etc. that need solutions.
Decide whether your offering can satisfy that issue for the prospect.
Do a value analysis to ascertain the likelihood of your price being less than what the value of the solution you are offering is worth to them.
Show them the facts.
Recommend a course of action. Sometimes that even means telling them you can’t help, but recommending someone or something else.
There are a few other steps you can put in there, but that is the basic formula. If followed, you will get more business from repeat customers, fewer upset clients, and definitely be able to sleep better at night, knowing your intentions were noble. Sales is definitely an art, and with the right mindset and approach, everyone wins.