There are so many Sales Techniques out there.
I’m often asked the question. “We know you’re different and what you do works. But what the heck is it and why does it work so well? How can it help me?”
As a sales trainer I take an opposing view to the majority.
The Three Components To CORE+Selling
Before I explain why I take this stand, let’s take a quick look at the influencers on sales training and methodology as we know it today.
The very first recorded ‘sales message’ and coincidently was the first and perhaps biggest “con job” of all time. I am referring to a sleazy and slippery scam artist(the serpent), way back with the story of Adam & Eve. But to be more appropriate for today, we will jump forward to the 20th century. In particular the 1930’s with Napoleon Hill, and Dale Carnegie.
From there we move on to 1970’s with the modern sales gurus such as Zig Ziglar and Tom Hopkins. Hill and Carnegie focused their message on communication and relationships. This has since been “re-branded” in the 2000’s as ‘relationship selling’. They referred this method as the latest and greatest in sales methods. It’s a sign of the times how we take something that has worked for decades, give it a new name, and elevate it as the new saviour to our problems?
With the internet we see people grab a quote from history, change one or two words and then put their name it. Then have the audacity to claim they are the inventors or creators and promote themselves as the gurus. Actually, it is plagiarism, did you not learn that in school? Enough of my rant.
Theres Nothing New Under The Sun
I guess this goes to show there really is “nothing new under the sun”. Even my own approach to sales is what I learnt in my 30 yeas as a sales professional. What I do know is that It is simply the way I have put it together that works so well. Now I simply want to save you 30 years and give you the short cuts.
OK, so we move back to the 1970’s which is where in the problems really begin. You may have noticed that all the influencers on our sales methods are all American. As there were no other influencers available for us to get cultural diversity, we simply inherited the American view and way of doing things.
While their way of doing things may be perfect for the American culture it is not perfect for ours. As a result, for the last 50 years we’ve been trained by these methodologies and allowed salespeople to become some of the least trusted professionals in our community. In fact, we are rated as low as 85 out of 100 trusted professionals.
The “Closing” Approach Has Done It’s Damage
It is this “closing” approach with all the trickery and sales tactics that has done the damage. Taking a ‘hard sell’ and ‘don’t’ take no for an answer attitude is not what we are about in Australia Or as I am discovering in my travels, most other cultures either. I was told by one sales person during a training session that we was informed by his superior to make sure he got thrown out of 10 offices a week and just play the numbers game.
He eventually would win a customer. Using this closing approach as a sales method is fundamentally flawed and is no longer relevant in our culture. Let me ask- do you like being ‘closed’ when you purchase something? Do you know anyone who actually enjoys the hard, pushy and manipulative tactics used by many sales people?
Can we stop this crap please?
Now back to the opening question.
When I look at the early days in my own sales career, I was growing my skills and putting runs on the board. I worked hard and studied the sales gurus of Ziglar and Hopkins. I learnt all the closes and the sales approach to fight objections and not to take no for an answer. How to turn any level of interest no matter how slight, into a sale. I was the consummate ‘closer’.
I was earning great money as a sales professional and getting my name in lights as the top gun wherever I was employed. All this effort I put in to be the best sales person started to take its toll, and I began to wear out. My energy was fading along with my interest and excitement about selling, it was becoming hard work in the wrong way.
I became aware that while I was getting lots of sales and my conversions were ok, I was not getting referrals or repeat business. I got the customer to say yes to me once, but that was it. Work-life balance was out of whack and important aspects of life were not given attention that they should have. This got me thinking! Is there a better way?
I started to shift my focus from the gurus of the 1970’s to the ones of the 1930’s. An era where you could still find a gentleman and you could take a man at his word. I looked deeper into the thoughts of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie. I discovered it was not what you do that really matters, but how you do it.
Rather than focus on the outcome of the sales process, I paid attention to the journey. And instead of worrying about what I was going to get out of the experience, I shifted my thoughts to what the customer was experiencing.
Being Customer Centric
Who would of thought this modern sales approach of being ‘customer centric’ and ‘solution selling’ and even ‘trust-based selling’ was from a bygone era? What I realised was that this was based on good old-fashioned integrity and ethics. I liked this, and it resonated with my own value system and the way I was brought up to respect others and to try and understand their world.
To put others first. I hadn’t put two and two together thus far in my sales career and realised the sales methods I had been taught and were using were in fact contrary to my upbringing. Or perhaps I just wasn’t that bright? Or could it have been the pressure to earn an income took precedence? What I did do was get back to those values and re-assess my sales approach.
NOW I REMEMBER!
This re-assessment reminded me of my very first sales training. It was 1981 and the very first product I sold, a water purifier. An old bloke from Sydney (I was only 20) came to give us some sales tips and showed me this funnel approach.
A simple technique of asking a series of questions which led the customer into a buying decision. No tricks or gimmicks and no ‘closing’ strategy. Just an easy conversation with the customer based on what their world looked like. In my dedicated study to learn my craft I had forgotten this as it wasn’t in any books, videos or cassette tapes – now I’m showing my age!!
As I re-shaped my sales approach, I went back to this method which I had totally forgotten about. I started just having a conversation and asking some very deliberate questions.
It worked and worked brilliantly. Sales were coming much easier and without the hard work of dealing with all the objections and buyer’s remorse. The other thing that I didn’t have to deal with anywhere near as much was the price issue. Price was not as important to the customer any more.
A New Sales Program
The third thing that happened in this transformation was my mind set was much healthier. I had done a lot of research on the power of the mind and positive thinking, but the old way of selling was contrary to this.
It was as if the ‘closing’ method of selling was attacking not just my values, but my constructive and progressive programming of my subconscious mind. The way I thought about what I was doing and how it impacted those I was dealing with.
I started to give myself a new program. One for better, simpler results and one that stopped putting me in the centre of the universe.
So What The Heck Is It?
Back to the opening question. Why does this sales method work so well?
The simple sales method that I’ve developed has the three following components.
- A very simple sales approach
- Heightened interpersonal skills
- An abundance of mind – a healthy mindset
This is CORE+Selling. Where the customer is genuinely at the core of all activity and is in control of the sales process.
No more objections and no more buyer’s remorse. Price is no longer the default strategy used by the customer as their defence for ‘not being sold to’ This is where the customer actually sells themselves.
This is “Customer Centric” selling – “Solution” selling, and “Trust Based” selling all wrapped up together. It is the most efficient and effective selling process that will increase your sales conversions, and increase you profit margins.