There is one essential thing that must exist between Seller and Buyer in order for a sale to happen.
Think about the last big purchase you made; your home, your Car, a Vacation – maybe a piece of jewelry? Guaranteed, for you to have made the purchase you did, one thing had to have been present. Was it Respect?… Was it Trust? Was it features and benefits? Well, of course, without those things, this essential element would have been in much shorter supply.
No, to begin any new business relationship the one thing that must have existed and changed hands at some point was ENTHUSIASM. Proactive sales is about a TRANSFER of ENTHUSIASM. The selling professional who can transfer the most enthusiasm about the product, about the process, about the overall purchase and experience… will win the day.
If you can’t provide your prospect with enough reason to become at least a little bit enthusiastic about what you are proposing… you are leaving them wide open for someone to come along with an enthusiastic spin that will leave you out in the cold. Sales Guru and icon Zig Ziglar said: “For every sale you miss because you are too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you are not enthusiastic enough.”
You don’t have to sell Ferrari’s to transfer enthusiasm. Selling professionals are genuinely enthusiastic about – not only the products and services they represent – but about all that they bring to bear in representing them. Trust. Respect. Confidence. Knowledge. Understanding – plus any number of other unique attributes, expertise and ability – all come together to create and sustain the genuine enthusiasm for what they do.
Top selling professionals are confident in – and enthusiastic about – their ability to deliver great solutions. Most importantly, they are masters at transferring and sharing ownership of that enthusiasm with their customers and prospects.
Nowhere is this more important than in the Business-to-Business business. In B2B sales, knowing how to transfer an abundance of enthusiasm can be essential to sales success. With more than 5 people involved in the average B2B buying decision, whatever enthusiasm a salesperson is able to muster and transfer, has to be enough to carry on and touch at least 4 more people. Top B2B sales performers know how to use Enthusiasm to create “Champions” who continue to transfer the enthusiasm on to their colleagues and decision-makers, when the sales person is not there to speak for themselves.
The practice of infusing enthusiasm into sales staff
for the eventual transfer to prospects and customers.
So where does Enthusiasm come from? Is it automatic? Like it comes as a bonus with the “Gift of Gab?”
Across the world, sales training investment is on the rise. In North America alone, companies spend over 6 billion dollars a year on sales training and coaching programs. Providing their Sales force with the skills and abilities required to consistently achieve their targets, is a priority for more and more corporations as they struggle to maintain and grow revenues in today’s economy.
While training is essential to a sales person’s performance and sustainable success, training will not create enthusiasm. Almost everyone who comes into sales starts off with an abundance of it – but few see it last – without a little help. Training will most certainly help to foster Enthusiasm – and it will certainly enhance it where it already exists – but it won’t fabricate it.
There are virtually limitless ways for sales professionals to create and transfer Enthusiasm but, in order for sales people to have enthusiasm, it must be first be consciously and proactively infused into them – by company and sales management – right from Day One.
To start infusing enthusiasm into a new sales person, it is essential that sales management has an effective plan for doing so. The art of Infusiasm is about understanding the importance of things like proper onboarding and training, clear understanding of compensation, company culture, teamwork, OPPORTUNITIES! and countless other things. Most importantly, company leadership must infuse a belief in something to be enthusiastic about!
Leading companies today like Apple, Google and Shopify, and countless others, are committed to creating a strong and positive company culture. They build genuine employee enthusiasm for being a part of the organization… starting on Day One.
Now remember, this is Sales – even a naturally-enthusiastic person, will face real, everyday drains on that level of enthusiasm. Handling rejection, dealing with challenging customers, difficult colleagues or internal company politics are just a few of the everyday things that can diminish the average salesperson’s level of enthusiasm.
Winning companies understand that they have to be proactive in creating, filling and regularly topping-up, the essential reservoir of Enthusiasm from which their salespeople will draw – exuding and transferring that enthusiasm on to clients and prospects. Far more than the carrot of big commissions, company culture can play the biggest role in creating, sustaining and infusing the enthusiasm that the sales force will use every day in turning suspects into prospects, prospects into customers and customers into long-lasting patrons.
There are lots of successful sales people in the world. Millions, in fact. But what is it that MAKES them successful? Ask ten sales people what they attribute their success to, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Often, what looks like “sales mastery” can actually be – just a series of Random Acts of Success; with even some top performers – not really sure what it is that makes them successful.
This is the 21st Century and one thing is for certain when it comes to professional sales… the Gift of Gab alone isn’t going to cut it anymore. There has been a virtual TSUNAMI of increased competition in almost every market over the last few years. From Tea to Telecom and everything in between, market shares are being eroded by the sheer number of new players jumping into these existing and new markets. Who would have ever thought automotive-giant Ford – could eventually be competing against online juggernaut Google – in the CAR business?
But even in the face of these changing times and new challenges, many leading sales professionals manage to remain at the top of their game, propelling themselves continuously forward. So, what is it that keeps the very best sales performers in the World – at the very TOP? It’s not high-rolling Customers, million-dollar deals or top of the line training. What separates the top 2% from the rest of the world isn’t Talent or Experience, but rather the way they use them.
The very TOP PERFORMING SALES PEOPLE have a PROCESS. A defined, mature SYSTEM to their SUCCESS.
A SALES PROCESS is simply a SYSTEMATIC, REPEATABLE series of STEPS – that map out and track interaction with prospects; – from their first point of engagement with your business, through to a close – and beyond. Simple, right?
So, why would any selling professional NOT want to have a sales process? Many salespeople shudder at the thought of having to work within some sort of defined “process;” afraid that it might somehow “box them in” or hinder them in how they are used to plying their craft. Some prefer instead to stick with the natural ability and style that got them into sales in the first place and that they think is working just fine for them.
Having a sales process and using a sales process are two different things. Lots of salespeople HAVE a selling process. Maybe it’s from some form of sales training; their company adopting a branded program, with books and videos collecting dust on a shelf somewhere and the rep using the bits and pieces that work for them and simply ignoring the rest. Some salespeople have developed their own, unique process, that suits their personal style, abilities – and comfort zone.
Top-performing sales people are committed to fully and effectively USING a defined, mature and proven sales process; and they make it a natural part of everything they do as they pursue sales success.
Training leader Miller-Heiman’s research division, CSO Insights, recently published a report with respect to Optimizing Sales Performance. According to their research, sales organizations that adopt, implement and manage a defined sales process have a WIN ratio 15% higher than those who don’t.
Salespeople and Management who have the foresight and fortitude to adopt and stick to a defined ‘customer-centric’ sales methodology and process, reap many benefits:
- Having a set of clearly defined steps and best practices to take suspects into prospects and prospects into customers
- Better understanding and managing where the prospect is in the evaluation and buying process
- Improved efficiency
- Increased productivity.
- Enhanced sales effectiveness
- Improved forecasting
- Higher WIN rates
In today’s competitive and fast-paced market, outstanding, long-lasting sales success will not come without knowing and leveraging our strengths while consciously – consistently, improving on our weaknesses.
If you want to be among the very top sales performers, you MUST have a DEFINED STRATEGY and a STRUCTURED PLAN within which to bring it all to bear and become a SELLING POWERHOUSE.
There is a common misconception around just what is the “world’s oldest profession.” Well, regardless of the product or service that was being provided, a sale had to have happened for it to be a profession. Everyone in the business of exchanging value for currency, owes it to themselves to understand and master the art and profession of Selling.
According to the dictionary, a Sale is “the exchange of currency, as the price of a good or a service.” and Sales is “all activity related to selling.” The Association of Talent Development (ATD) defines Professional Selling as: “The holistic business system required to effectively develop, manage, enable and execute a mutually-beneficial, interpersonal exchange of goods and/or services for equitable value.”
Wow, what a mouthful. But, that’s what we’re all here for, right? Sales! Professional selling, and its role in our success, is our common denominator. Confucious said… “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Professional Sales is that kind of “job.” When it comes to funding the life we have, the life we want, and the success we’ve defined – few careers offer the kind of opportunities that sales and entrepreneurship do.
For the fortunate people that are in the business of business-to-business sales, once we’ve DEFINED our dreams, it is absolutely within our power to make them come about with intellect, work ethic, our efficiency and effectiveness, and a commitment to excellence at our chosen craft.
People generally get into Sales for one of 3 reasons:
It’s a strategic starting point before getting into management and great training ground for a future in business.
They have a “Gift” and recognize the power to turn it into a great living, representing great products and companies.
Necessity – like in becoming an Entrepreneur or business leader… or, maybe because they needed a job and Sales was hiring. Two very different perspectives; but both are in Sales because they need to be.
If you are in Business, you are in Sales and if you are in Sales, you are in Business. That’s just how it works. CEO, Sales Leader, Sales Rep, or Entrepreneur, it is essential to understand the foundations of both sales and business before you can hope to fulfill your ambitions of success in either. As a professional salesperson, you are among those who feed the engine that turns the wheels of our society. Virtually nothing happens in our civilization until something is sold to somebody. Not to mention that the income and resulting taxes from successful business transactions funds our society’s very way of life.
Regardless of their product or service, most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders understand that their success or failure is squarely in their own hands and that, no matter how good they are at what they do, there is no business without revenue and there is no revenue without being able to effectively sell their wares. The most successful Entrepreneurs and Sales Professionals understand that the real value from their efforts comes when they build quantifiable equity through a loyal, satisfied and growing customer base.
The moral of this story? Sales is not just a job, it is a profession; live it as such. Learn, grow, develop, improve at it! In this profession, you can and must always be improving. There are so many niches and nuances in becoming great at sales; just as there are innumerable tools and esteemed advice available to help in doing so. There is simply no excuse for doing anything less than everything you can to get better at it. As a “Knowledge Consultant”, your skills and abilities can be the differentiating factor in getting the sale (or not), so it’s essential that you continue to hone your craft and become your absolute best at it. Remember that, in this profession, getting better at it generally equates to increased income.
Most importantly, Entrepreneur, Sales person or Sales Leader, know that we are among those practicing the world’s very oldest profession; and we are fortunate to have the very best “job” on the planet.
There are few people who wouldn’t agree that “making the world a better” place should fall somewhere on the old “to do list” – or maybe it’s on the “bucket list.”
But making the world a better place doesn’t necessarily have to involve things like saving the whales, feeding the poor or fighting climate change (although, any or all of those certainly help and are encouraged). Even for the busiest of us, making the world around us into a better place can as easy as 1-2-3.
For so many of us, it can sometimes seem like every minute of every day is consumed in working on all the absolutely critical things that it takes to be successful in business today.
While busy building your business success; planning, problem solving, coordinating, communicating, coaching and cheerleading, it’s important to take a step back from time to time, to ponder on a simple paraphrase of Peter F Drucker’s famous definition of business purpose… and remember why you are really here.
Whatever your business is, whatever product or service you provide, and regardless of how you define it, your success is going to be much more difficult to come by if you:
a) aren’t creating customers,
b) are creating customers who are anything but satisfied or,
c) aren’t retaining the customers you are creating
Long-term success in the business-to-business business isn’t much more than a good intention if your very purpose in that business isn’t somehow modeled around the creation and retention of satisfied customers.
The esteemed Drucker quote came from his 1954 “Principles of Management” where he claimed that any business’ single purpose must be simply “ to create a customer.” We’ve come a long way since 1954; a very long way. Most successful B2B business people today have evolved to recognize the important distinction between simply creating account numbers and the value that comes in creating satisfied, long-lasting customer relationships.
By now, most of us know of the adage that it costs more to GET a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Experts range in their estimates; calculating that cost at anywhere from 4 to 10 times more. Seriously, why bother GETTING customers, if you’re not planning on proactively KEEPING them?
If Mr Drucker was alive today, he’d undoubtedly profess that the only valid definition of a business’ purpose is to CREATE and RETAIN SATISFIED CUSTOMERS.