Why People Buy
To be successful in sales, you must learn why people purchase products and services. The answer to this vital question is far more important than learning the answer to another: “How do I sell?” People buy for numerous reasons. Here are some of the most common:
I have a high opinion of my sales representative.
I have faith and confidence in my sales representative.
I know exactly what I am buying and precisely why.
I feel comfortable with the price.
I think the product or service offers true value.
I think it will enhance our productivity and increase our profits.
Apply these “12.5 principles of sales greatness” to your work:
Principle 1: “Kick Your Ass”
Are you sufficiently motivated to achieve sales success? If not, get out of sales as quickly as you can. You cannot get where you want to be in sales without inspiration, passion, hard work and selfdetermination. You must demand far more from yourself than any sales manager ever would. When things get slow, you must be ready, willing and able to kick your own and get back on track. You alone are responsible for your success or lack of it. Never settle for anything less from yourself than your maximum effort.
Principle 2: “Prepare to Win or Lose to Someone Who Is” Prepared
Great salespeople always ensure their success long before they make an actual call on a prospect or customer. Sales masters understand how crucial being fully prepared is, particularly when they are visiting a potential purchaser. How do you get ready? Learn everything about your prospect’s company. This will help you understand what will truly motivate your prospect to buy what you hope to sell. Became a bonafide student of your target company. Read its annual report. Speak with its vendors, competitors, employees and customers. Check its Web site and request its marketing materials. The more information you possess about your prospects, the more successful you will be in selling to them. Just as Mom said, “Do your homework.”
Principle 3: “Personal Branding Is Sales: It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You”
Your company has a brand that is vital to its continued success. But what is your brand? Understand one basic rule of sales: The customer always buys the salesperson before buying the product or service that he or she represents. You need an individual brand that makes you stand out. So, develop and enhance your image. Become an expert regarding not only your product or service but also your field or industry. Plan and conduct your outreach program. Position yourself so that your local business community will learn to know and respect you. Get out in front – and stay there.
“Find something that you love, find something that you can believe in, find an environment that’s fun, and people you can respect, and jump in with both feet.”
Principle 4: “It’s All About Value, It’s All About Relationship, It’s Not All About Price”
Do you want your prospects to stop beating you over the head about the issue of the price? The best way to achieve that goal is to offer them true value. Do that and – like a savvy politician – you can change the terms of the debate. How do you offer value? Market yourself (and thus your product or service) by communicating to your prospects how they can increase their sales, improve their operations, and become more productive and profitable. Establish your product or service’s basic “value proposition,” then communicate it to your prospects. Use bylined articles, media appearances and public speaking opportunities to assume a position of expertise within your marketplace. Develop credibility in the local business community so you can begin to call on CEOs, not purchasing agents. Organize your sales presentation so it shows exactly how your product or service will help your prospects make more money.
Principle 5: “It’s Not Work, it’s Network”
Few salespeople get rich by cold calling. On the other hand, salespeople who use networking often create fortunes. How do you network? Attend chamber of commerce events and events sponsored by your local business journal. Join a civic association or networking club. Become involved with a highprofile charity. Participate in your trade or professional association. Begin speaking at the local Toastmaster’s club. Start singing at your local karaoke joint. Woody Allen said it best: “Ninety per cent of success is showing up.” Not enough time to network? Maybe you should find another line of work.
Principle 6: “Get in Front of the Real Decision Maker”
Put first things first. With prospects, the first thing you must do, before worrying about a presentation or getting an order, is to secure an appointment. When you are on the phone, don’t talk product. Instead, talk appointment. Organize everything during your telephone call to close for the appointment. Remember: You can’t sell people anything if you can’t get in front of them. Just as important, ensure that the appointment is with the ultimate decision-maker. If that’s the CEO, then that’s who you want to meet. To qualify, qualify, qualify. Find out who makes the final purchase decision, and then push hard for an appointment with that person. Of course, sometimes you must work your way up the chain of command. But never let an intermediary tell you that he or she will speak to the decision-maker, and then get back to you on a purchase decision. This is an almost certain recipe for a big “No Sale.” Always insist on being present when the decision-maker rules on your product. After all, how can he or she make a judgment if you are not available to answer any important questions?
Principle 7: “Engage Me and You Can Make Me Convince Myself'”
Effective salespeople know how to engage their prospects by asking intelligent questions. Ask stupid ones and you’ll never sell anyone anything. Intelligent questions cover real concerns, such as company plans or goals, productivity, savings and profits. To relate to your prospects, ask “power questions” that make them stop and think. Lead into power questions with phrases such as: “What do your customers feel about…?” “What would be your most important productivity enhancement concerning…?” Avoid dumb questions, such as: “Are you the decision-maker regarding…?” or “Can I provide you with a quote concerning…?”
Principle 8: “If You Can Make Them Laugh, You Can Make Them Buy”
Selling is a people business. If a prospect likes you, he or she is more likely to buy what you are promoting. Humour is a good way to get someone on your side. When people laugh, they become relaxed and their shields go down. Work hard to put a smile on your prospect’s face. He or she will have a hard time turning you down. Avoid racy, offcolor jokes, or anything concerning gender or ethnicity. Don’t tell jokes at all – tell humorous stories instead. Jokes are contrived but stories are real.
“The less time you spend in other people’s business, other people’s problems, and other people’s drama, the more time you’ll have for your success.”
Principle 9: “Use Creativity to Differentiate and Dominate”
Muster your creativity to separate yourself from your competition. A salesperson can put creativity to work immediately in three primary areas: 1) initial sales call questions; 2) personal branding items (voice mail, business cards, fax cover sheets); and 3) “stayinfront” of the public activities (professional Web page, promotional email messages and so on). Don’t think that creativity is only for a select group of people who were born artsy. You can teach yourself to become creative. Study books on the subject. Check out Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko or Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono.
Principle 10: “Reduce Their Risk and You’ll Convert Selling to Buying”
Prospects are always wary about making purchases because they sense inherent risk. How do you identify their perceived risks, which may be blocking your sale? Consider – and try to eliminate – these potential risk roadblocks: “Financial” (Is it affordable?); “need” (Is this something we truly require?); “performance” (What if it doesn’t do the job?); “service” (Will support be available when I need it?); “obsolescence” (What if another company introduces something better?); and “poor decision” (Will the CEO be angry if I purchase this?). Erase your client’s sense of risk with reassurances. Help the client see that the rewards outweigh the risk.
Principle 11: “When You Say It about Yourself It’s Bragging. When Someone Else Says It, It’s Proof.”
Everyone hates braggarts, but everyone loves testimonials. A thirdparty who speaks well of you and your product is credible because he or she has nothing to gain. So how do you get a satisfied customer in front of your next prospect? What if you could put that person in your briefcase and take him or her with you on your sales call? You can – through videotape! Ask a satisfied customer to recommend your product or service, and then videotape his or her statement. Be sure that your video production values are topnotch. Of course, written testimonials help, too.
Principle 12: “Antennas Up!“
Antennae are paired appendages that insects and some other creatures use as sensory organs. They may help the animal sense air, motion, heat, vibrations, touch, and especially smell or taste. Similarly, great salespeople must always keep their antennae up so they sense, identify and exploit new opportunities. Always be aware of your surroundings. Are you catching every opportunity to engage a new prospect? Whenever you are out among people, you have the chance to network.
The person that you meet at an outoftown airport, a sporting event or a restaurant may one day become your best customer. Remember: A sales superstar is always selling no matter where he or she may be. Keep your antennae up when you are meeting or spending time with your customers or prospects. Do you want to know who in the room has influence? Who might stand in the way of your closing? And, of course, who is the primary decision-maker – that is, who has the power to buy? To know the answers, keep your antennae extended.
Principle 12.5: “Resign Your Position as General Manager of the Universe”
Psychologists know that given the opportunity, most of us tend to involve ourselves too much in the affairs of others. Usually, prescribing solutions for other people’s problems is much easier than solving your own. Unfortunately, this human tendency can limit salespeople’s effectiveness. The more time you spend trying to solve other peoples’ problems, the less time you are selling. So, get out of other folks’ universes. Focus on your universe and your sales will increase.
“More Red Sales Thinking”
To heat your sales, incorporate five more concepts into your professional development:
1. “The Little Salesman That Could” – For nearly 80 years, The Little Engine That Could have been a beloved children’s classic. It tells the story of a small train huffing and puffing to climb a steep hill, and succeeding through sheer determination. This is the bedrock of sales. Believe in yourself, never quit, and you’ll be a winner.
2. “The two most important words in selling” – They are “you” and “why.” “You” because the customer must first be willing to buy you before he or she buys your product or services. And “why” because successful salespeople always strive to learn why customers are motivated to purchase something.
4. “Implement the rule of ‘The More” – TV is a salesperson’s greatest enemy. The more time you spend in front of the TV, the more your competition will clean your clock. Don’t waste your time in unproductive pursuits.
5. “What does it take to become number one – and stay there?” – Be positive, confident, likeable and dedicated. Always be honest and stay focused. Now, reread all these principles, “study each one…go back and make a game plan.”
Source: Jeffrey Gitomer
Edited by: Palak Ranga, Grow With Us Ventures