Once upon a time, two brothers and their father went into business together. Without them selling their services, there would be no business. One day, the younger brother said to the older one, “how will you ever be successful? You are way too quiet.” That older brother was me and at the time, I didn’t know that you were “supposed” to be an extrovert in order to sell effectively.
Fortunately, after his “motivational” speech, I recall hearing someone say they would rather employ an introverted salesperson than the extroverted for it was much easier to help the introvert open their mouth than help the extrovert shut their mouth. I’m still not convinced about that as I think anyone who wants to learn a skill can, despite their personality, but it gave me great encouragement at the time and has seen me involved in sales for almost 20 years, and successfully I must say, dear brother.
1. The Sales Foundation: An Interest in Others.
An interest in people and their well being is the foundation for a successful sales career. Yes, I can make a quick buck by not giving a damn but having a successful career with repeat customers is all about care for the person. Taking an interest in the well being of another has nothing to do with personality; it is simply part of our humanity. We choose to care, or we choose not to and that choice is ours.
2. Sales As a Process.
When I was a musician, I recall the importance of learning first the structure, then from that basis, to improvise. And when improvising, it was still centred around the structure. Selling is no different. First, create the process, learn it and then the improvisation comes once that mental sequence is embedded.
3. An example of a Sales Process.
Enquiry Stage – Sales Assistant
- What does the customer want?
- Ascertain who the decision-maker is.
- Ask, “when do you want to do this?”
- Ask, “is there a budget you have in mind?”
- If qualified, arrange a time for the customer (decision maker) to meet with the salesperson.
Meeting Stage – Salesperson
- Document requirements on the quote form.
- Uncover emotional drivers.
- Reconfirm budget.
- Ask “are there any areas that we haven’t discussed that could prevent this project from moving forward?”
- Confirm when quote will be sent.
- Arrange a time to follow up quote via phone.
Quote follow up stage – Salesperson
a) “was the quotation a reflection of what you wanted?”
b) “which option would you like to proceed with?”
c) “which day will suit you best for us to arrive onsite?”
d) “would you like to transfer the deposit or make it now over the phone?”
Your business will have its own sequence according to what you provide and what the customer requires but the documenting and memorisation of the process transforms sales volumes dramatically.
4. Objections and Rebuttals.
Here again, the process comes into play. List all the major objections you receive from prospective customers and create rebuttals to them. Having these embedded into the memory so you can respond in the moment is essential in making it easy for the customer.
5. Please make it easy.
When I purchase something, I want the salesperson to make it easy for me. It’s not their personality that interests me but it’s their interest in me that is most important. I want them to guide me through the process so I end up with what I want (or what is best for me according to the salesperson’s expertise and suggestions). I want them to be confident and to answer my questions and objections adequately. I want them to stay focused on me and my needs, nothing else.
Whether introvert, ambivert or extrovert, all of us can sell if: (1) We want to; (2) Desire the best for our customers; (3) Have a pre-designed sales process to follow (4) Make it easy for people to do business with us.