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By BRADLEY J. SUGARS
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Bradley J. Sugars
All rights reserved.
Part 1 Sales Made Simple
What Is Selling?
"To really get to understand how you can dramatically improve your selling skills, Charlie, it's necessary to first understand what selling is. Well, I know you already know that, but let me tell you the way I see it. Let me give you my definition of selling."
"OK, Brad, I'm curious. I'll bet it's not what I expect. I'll bet it's not something along the lines of being able to convince someone to buy what it is you're selling."
"You're nearly there, Charlie. Listen to what I say it is, and note where the emphasis falls. Selling is nothing more than professionally helping other people to buy. Get it?"
I could see he was a little surprised.
"The key word here is 'professionally.' Yet how many professional salespeople know how to sell? They may think they know, but do they really? How good are they? To answer this question, we really need to know a little bit more about the individual salesperson."
"But that's ridiculous, Brad. How can we know anything about a salesperson? How could we possibly know about every single salesperson out there?"
"The answer to that, Charlie, is to analyze the different types of salespeople. That's a lot easier because they all, in some way or another, fall into one of the following four basic groups:
The Order Taker.
This person waits for people to ask if they can buy.
The Product Pusher.
This person talks about nothing more than the product.
The Problem Solver.
This person helps the customers find what they need.
The Over Seller
This person promises the world just to get a sale.
"Are you with me?"
"Yeah. I follow what you're saying. I'd never thought of it that way. But tell me about these different types—I'm intrigued."
The Characteristics of a Good Salesperson
There's another characteristic professional salespeople have in common: they train. They train continuously. And they keep training. They do this for a number of very good reasons. First, they want to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. And in today's fast-changing world, this can be a bit of a challenge. Second, they want to keep motivated. They want their energy levels replenished on a regular basis. One of the best ways of doing this is to rub shoulders with successful salespeople on a regular basis. You see, one of the powerful benefits of doing this is to hear from them what works and what doesn't. It also helps keep them focused on the bigger picture, on what is achievable, and on how they can lift their game by emulating the best in the business.
To be successful in sales, you need to have strong beliefs. You need to have something you believe to be true. But more particularly, you need to hold a strong set of beliefs about salespeople in general (and you in particular), about your customers, and about the product or service you sell.
You need to understand that, when customers are making up their minds whether to buy or not, those decisions will be based on a mixture of fact and emotion. This is due to our human nature. We can't get away from it. But the important thing you need to know, when faced with a customer in this situation, is what percentage of the decision will be based on fact, and what percentage on emotion. If you knew that, you'd be in a far better position to help with the process. Of course, this varies according to the type of product being considered, but on average, the decision is a mix of 20 percent logic and 80 percent emotion. How powerful is this to know?
To be successful at selling, you also need to hold strong beliefs about money. What does it mean to you and what role does it play as a motivator? It's pretty important to most salespeople, because their very remuneration package usually hinges on their performance. The more successful they are at selling, the more they earn. It's as simple as that.
Money seems to feature prominently in the life of a salesperson. And so it should. But what is money?
Let me give you my view.
Money is an idea backed by confidence.
Different, huh? That's right. To succeed out there, you need to see things differently. If you don't, you'll be no different from the rest. Understand this: If you see things just as every one else does, you'll get the same results as they do. And we all know most salespeople don't make a fabulous living.
So let me run this past you once more. Money is an idea backed by confidence. This is where I get back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this book. Remember when I said the sales process starts with you? Long before you have a prospect to convert, and long before you are at the stage of selling a product to a prospect, you only have an idea. You have the idea that you'd like to sell this or that to someone. Of course, you have this idea because it's what you do for a living. You need the income to get by each and every month. But you don't only have an idea. You have something more. You have confidence. That's right. Because you are a professional salesperson, you have confidence in your ability to sell. At this stage, you might not know who you will be selling to, or precisely what, but you'll probably have a vague idea. For instance, if you sell real estate, you probably know you'll be selling some house to someone during the course of the week or month. Just who to and which one might not be known, but you will be confident of achieving that before the month is out. Now, when you combine the idea with the confidence, the end result is money. The money will follow. Get it?
Now if you see money as I do, the way you set out to get it is by harnessing the power of the following four words: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
You need to focus your attention on your goals. You then need to have a strong interest in achieving these goals. Mix this with a strong desire to achieve, and you'll be spurred into Action. You'll rise to the occasion and perform.
Every salesperson needs to be a good communicator to succeed. Communication is the lifeblood of business, and when it comes to sales, it's vital. It has a direct relationship with sales. You see, the better you are at communicating, the better your sales results will be. You can almost measure the one with the other. Actually one could be thought of as a barometer for the other. Let me put it another way. True communication is the response you get. So if you're not getting the response you want, you're not communicating properly.
Let's look at this in more detail. Communication, as far as sales is concerned, isn't confined to the words alone. It's far broader than that. In fact, when it comes to communicating, the salesperson has three tools at his disposal: words, voice, and body language. And we use them all simultaneously. The interesting thing, as far as communication in the sales process is concerned, is that words account for only 7 percent of the eventual outcome, the voice is more significant at 38 percent, but by far the most important tool is body language, which weighs in at 55 percent.
Have a good look at these figures.
Remember what I said about your ideas and your confidence? Understand how they influence your body language, and you'll begin to grasp the importance of this in the sales process.
I'm now going to introduce another concept that has to do with communication in the broad sense. It's called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short. NLP is a model of human behavior and communication that draws from the knowledge of psychodynamics and behavioral theories. It is concerned with the identification of both conscious and unconscious patterns in communication and behavior and how they interact in the process of change.
So what does this mean as far as sales are concerned?
If we can understand the three key components of NLP, we can become better communicators. These are:
Rapport and communication.
Change strategies and interventions.
Rapport and communication covers areas such as language, representational systems, eye-accessing movements, verbal and nonverbal pacing and leading, communication translation skills, and representational system overlapping.
Understanding NLP allows us to understand the processes people use to encode and transfer their experience and to guide and modify their behavior. All the information gathering is done through three sensory systems: the visual, the auditory, and kinesthetic (feeling and touching). And to a lesser extent, we also use our senses of smell and taste, but these are not of any significance. The really interesting thing here is that visual accounts for 40 percent of the way we communicate, auditory only 20 percent, and kinesthetic 40 percent. Isn't that interesting?
So, what does this mean for the salesperson? Well, one of the big lessons here is to learn to match the language system used by your prospects. That way you build rapport very quickly. But be careful not to mimic their language—rather match and mirror the way they communicate.
Successful salespeople also understand the various behavioral styles people have. They understand that people fall into one of four main behavioral groups. They can be either outgoing in nature or reserved. Or they can be either task oriented or people oriented.
The DISC Personality Profile
It would help if we were able to understand, in broad terms, the way people behave. Understanding this would make our lives much easier when it comes to interacting with them and assisting them to make purchasing decisions.
One system I recommend is the DISC Personality Profile. The American psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marsden designed this system back in the 1920s. It places people into one of four different personality types, or categories: D—Dominant, I—Influential, S—Steady, and C—Compliant.
The DISC Personality Profile is an accurate personality analysis that can be used to predict the behavior of individuals when they work on their own and with others. However, this system is not infallible. Like anything, it has its limitations. Its shortfall is that people seldom have just one personality. They are, rather, a combination of the four, just in different ratios. Everyone is dominant in one personality type, but another may be closely following.
The DISC test highlights a person's relative strengths in each of the four areas. The area that scores highest will be the person's dominant trait.
The results aren't always accurate, especially when the people being tested are aware of their personality eccentricities and have moved to improve these traits. The higher the strength shown from the test, the more the descriptions will fit. Don't use this as a definitive method for labeling people's traits. Use it as a guide to communicating with them.
Everyone has weaknesses, and this system is meant as a guide to them. Remember, if you are happy as you are, that's great.
When you read the characteristics of the various personality types, you will start to understand how other people see you when they associate with you. Again, this isn't always true. With all knowledge should come wisdom. Knowing the best time and way to use this knowledge is what makes the difference.
People under Pressure
To better understand this section, remember the four main personality types: D—Dominant, I—Influential, S—Steady and, C—Compliant.
People can change their nature under pressure. A High I can become a High S under pressure. This means the person slows down and thinks more; he becomes more reserved.
A High I can become a High D, which means instead of being friendly to everyone, she starts to boss everyone around without much regard for their feelings. People around her would wonder what happened to that friendly person who got on with everyone so well.
A High D can become a High C under pressure. She will now consider details more and think carefully before making a decision. A High D could go to a High S, meaning she will steady herself and slow down. She will consider the people around her more.
A High S could even become a High D under pressure. He now has to act and think quickly when placed under lots of pressure. He might start to become loud and bark out orders when normally he is calm, reserved, and friendly.
A High C could move to a High D under pressure. She will think and act more quickly than previously, making decisions quickly and not consider all the details. You've heard people say that they work best under pressure; this could mean they've become a High D under pressure to get more done.
Normally a High C wouldn't change to a High I or High S under pressure, or a High I wouldn't go to a High C under pressure, as these two personality types are so different.
Often a person stays the same under pressure. A High D can stay a High D. A High S can stay a High S, and so on. Not everyone changes under pressure. You will know when someone does. It will be quite noticeable.
High I Personalities
High I's like to have fun and be popular. You can recognize them by their outgoing and very friendly manner. They want to be people's friends. They will rarely tell anyone off. When they say something in anger, they don't want you to remind them of it again because that was in the past and they really weren't that serious when they said it in the first place.
High I's don't like to get into too much detail, as they don't find that fun. They like to work with others in a changing environment. High I's can be recognized by their very friendly disposition. They look you in the eye and usually use a lot of tonal changes in their voice.
They talk a bit louder than other personality types, except the High D who can also talk confidently and loudly. This is the mark of an extrovert. The difference between them is that High I's are loud and friendly. If you joke with either of them, a High I will respond but a High D may not.
High I's will respond quicker because they think you're like them, so they'll let you know by giving you a friendly response.
High I Interaction
High I's get on fairly well with most personality types. They can annoy the High C and High D because they're task-oriented and just want to get the job done without being friendly while doing it. All the other personality types can see a High I as overly friendly. They might say, "Mellow out a bit. You come on too strong and annoy people. Don't be so friendly."
High I's are good motivators and team leaders, although they won't like pulling team members into line if they've done something they shouldn't have.
Selling to a High I
To sell to High I's you need to win them over and be their friend. If you don't show you care about them or that you like them, they won't want to buy from you.
You need to show you have a sense of humor, are a fun-loving person, and you are having fun talking to them right now. You can work on being a little bit stern but not too serious.
High I's want to do what seems popular. They don't want to do anything that seems like detailed work that will take up lots of their time. If it seems boring to them, they won't want it. The best thing you can say to them is it will be a lot of fun.
They will buy from people who seem to have the same nature as they do. So be happy and spontaneous. Talk about other things apart from what you are selling them. Get chatty at the start, during the middle, and the end of the selling process. They will sometimes want to go off on a tangent. Let them do most of the talking. They love to talk about anything, especially other people.
Be their friend and advise them on what you think and feel is best for them. Be sincere. Be like them and they will love you.
If you're a High D, don't talk too much. Let them decide they want it and that it seems like a popular idea and makes sense. High D's need to be friendlier than they usually are when being sold to.
You can't be too friendly with High I's—as long as you're sincere. They are people persons and have great people skills. They won't like you if you are fake.
High I's are prone to exaggerate. They like to tell stories, and you can too when selling to them. But tell them if you are exaggerating.
Areas They Need to Work On
High I's need to work on getting the job done and not being distracted by other people. They need to be more task oriented. They need to get into the details more, as this is what they don't like doing.
They need to be less extroverted with people, especially High C's and High S's. When communicating with High C's they don't need to be their friend, which is what they believe.
High I's are a bit too friendly for the High S, although High S's can see that aspect of them and not let it bother them. High I's need to recognize that the other personality types are not like them. They also need to work on being more like the others when communicating with them.
High D Personalities
High D's like to be in control. They want to be at the top and give the orders. They have a hard time following orders, as they feel their own way is always better. High D's will usually end up in management positions, self-employed, or in charge of a section that has a bit of room to move unsupervised.
They like to be in control of their own lives and make their own decisions. High D's can seem to be too powerful or too strong for other people. They are confident, outspoken, and say what they feel. This can offend others, as they can be thought of as arrogant. They aren't usually; it's just the way that they express themselves.
As High D's have active minds that like to be stimulated, they like to be doing lots of things at once. When they do more than one thing at a time, the quality can start to drop. It can be difficult for them to follow something to its end. They feel a great need for lots of activity. When you want something done in a hurry, give it to a High D.
Excerpted from INSTANT SALES by BRADLEY J. SUGARS. Copyright © 2006 by Bradley J. Sugars. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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