ADVANCED SALES TECHNOLOGY: THE LAWS OF SELLING
Dan Jacobs, first printing 1998
Not being a professional writer, I begin this undertaking with some trepidation. That’s because, although I do understand the fundamentals of selling, my ability to communicate them in writing may not be sufficient to the task at hand.
The idea of approaching any activity from a sort of a philosophical point of view has always been natural for me. Looking for the “why” something worked in addition to simply recognizing that it did work was a common approach. So, with sales, the same operating basis was at work.
I simply began by throwing out what I knew didn’t produce a result consistently and keeping in those things that were workable for me personally.
For instance, I had always detested those methods that sought to manipulate the client into buying something whether he really needed it or not. When others would use that on me, I found myself instinctively resenting it and would resist as soon as I recognized it in use. So, I resolved to not use such methods. My sales improved.
I noticed that when a salesman was more interested in what he got out of the sale than my concerns or desires, I became less interested in buying from him and I resisted. When I started putting my full attention on the client or prospect and what I could do for him, my sales stats again improved.
The big discovery for me was when I found that when I assumed full responsibility for the sale while maintaining complete communication with the individual I was selling to, we both enjoyed the process much more. Sales again went up; in addition, repeat business was much, much easier. He was now my friend….really.
Over time, by isolating these simple basic fundamentals that were common to all successful sales, the bedrock common denominators, I could use them with little variation in all selling actions. Memorization of special techniques were unnecessary. Any rote statements to “get the sale” were now very old hat. The effort was gone. I could be myself and not some made-up combination of all the things I had heard about sales. All that was required was to do what was now “natural” for me. As a result, I had transformed myself into this mythical thing called “the natural born” salesman! I could just be me!
Now, I knew that these fundamentals worked consistently for me, but could they be applied by someone else with similar success? Could I reduce these principles to something that could be duplicated by anyone? This was the purpose behind attempted to put these ideas into writing. So we begin.
Let’s begin with a simple analogy: Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that you know absolutely nothing about golf. It should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes for you to memorize and all the rules that are required to technically play the game. But that ability will still leave you totally helpless when it comes to playing the game.
It might be of benefit to consider sales activity itself as a game. As in all games, it does have goals, barriers, rules, opponents, and above all, a purpose.
This book’s title promises you information about sales, not golf, but in this instance, the two games are not dissimilar, especially when it comes to instruction. Most of the sales bibliography has strived to teach you how to find prospects and close deals by focusing solely on the technique necessary to accomplish this goal. Seemingly the object of the profession.
Except it isn’t. It’s a requirement of continuance in the profession. But the real purpose of sales is easily summarized in one sentence.
HELP THE PERSON ACHIEVE HIS GOAL.
But, to help someone get what he wants and (not just what we want), a particular viewpoint must be held. The problems, stresses, frustrations of the prospect must be the interest of the salesman. We help him achieve his goals by getting information and aligning our product or service to benefit him.
YOU MUST BE SINCERELY INTERESTED IN HIM
The sooner you acknowledge that basic fundamental, that sooner you’re on your way to some vast improvements in your sales. After all, making one sale is irrelevant unless one sale is all you are ever going to need. You win this game by consistently stringing sales together, bringing about one sale, while creating the necessary enthusiasm to close the next one. And to do that, you have to do more than just close one person or one deal. You have to play the game. Correctly.
That’s what this book is all about. The focus has been on isolating the basic conceptual information, not mere tips for a particular situation. The ideas, theories, and abstractions that you can take to any selling situation. This book will not instruct you on how to use a particular technique or trick to bring about a sale. This book assumes you have the “sales game’s” fundamentals in tow to the extent that you can make some sales and are able to talk intelligently about how the game is won. Rather than dwelling on what you should do, this book focuses on why you should do it – and instructs you not in the technique of sales but in the correct technology of the game.
The truth is, all sales is largely a mental endeavor, professionals estimate it to be as much as 80 percent mental. It doesn’t really require much physical strength or agility. But as with any game, you do require a certain level of intelligence and mental agility to win. While it is not exactly rocket science, there are fundamentals that are on the same order of magnitude as those found in the physical sciences.
There is no question that many top salesmen and women operate on a kind of 6th sense or instinct, unable to articulate the real reasons behind their success, but there is also no doubt that they do operate on sound fundamentals of the subject. Whether able to articulate them or not, they are aware of what works in their field and what doesn’t. Additionally, they are able to do the basics very well.
OK, we have established that you have to be willing to help people and be interested in them to expect any long-term success in the field. But what is the essential requisite of any sales activity that is the most often overlooked?
ESTABLISHING THE PURPOSES OF THE SALESPERSON
This step is so important that it is shameful that it is so rarely done. Unless you have clearly established for yourself, the correct purpose for the activity, you will set yourself up for failure.
For example, let’s say you set up the purpose to “make a lot of money.” If you become engaged in selling with this purpose, to be successful, the client has to only give you money. Your attention will be focused only on one thing…the money. Yet what customer will be interested in a sales action that only has the purpose of giving you money?
Your purposes should be something that will be interesting to the customer…something that generates interest…something that creates a “reach” from the client to you.
What purpose could you set up in your individual area of sales that in itself might create an interest or desire on the part of the customer to find out more about? You have to step outside of your shoes and walk in his for awhile to get the idea of what he might want or need. Surveys, interviews, and research are all common methods these days of discovering what makes people buy.
But this is not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m suggesting that you simply step outside of yourself for a minute and look at what the client would buy or be interested in. If you really look, it’s right there in front of you. They are “advertising” it in various ways. You just have to be clever enough to see it and acknowledge it.
Once you have your own purposes established it becomes easy to envision what sort of scene might be ideal for you to operate in. It then becomes possible to evaluate when you are approaching or departing from this scene.
©1998, all rights reserved