The Selling Newsletter
*A free monthly newsletter of ideas to help make your selling easier*
Selling is the easiest job in the world…Just ask anyone who is NOTin sales!
My mission is to help make it easier for you to sell.
Best wishes for YOUR successful selling—Maura
“I simply decided to start treating my wife as if she were my largest client.” – A Silicon Valley executive explaining in a Wall Street Journal “Work and Family” article how he saved a marriage nearly ruined by his own workaholic tendencies. (Remember those customers at home!—Maura)
THE SELLING IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH
People who can get others to spend millions of dollars on not yet proven ideas are masters at selling. Greg Hext and Jim Mullens are two such masters. Their process of selling is what makes them successful at getting others to open their checkbooks. It will be easier for your customers to open their checkbooks for you when you master their presentation process.
What they do. Greg Hext is the co founder of Chapman, Hext and Company, (https://www.ch-consulting.com/) a CPA firm primarily serving businesses in the North Texas area. Chapman, Hext also founded the North Dallas Investment Group two years ago to bring efficiency to early stage companies in capital markets. Over $10 million of funding has gone through this group. Jim Mullens, whose experience is in public securities, is the director of Professional Services for CH Consulting. Between the two of them they have seen well over 1000 business presentations for funding. As Mr. Mullens says, “Five percent or less are persuasive; maybe 30-40 percent are interesting; and the rest are a waste of time and money.” It’s surprising that many of these are public companies with access to resources to communicate their value. Mr. Mullens and Mr. Hext have identified what they need to be doing.
The process. Many presenters immediately start talking about what they do and how they do it. This is done without regard to what a decision maker wants and needs to hear. Hext and Mullens advise their clients to start with identifying the problem they are going to solve. That gets a customer’s attention. Think about a presentation that starts with, “Have you ever had a very important business call dropped on a wireless phone?” That should get your attention. Then identify clearly and succinctly the solution to the problem. If you heard, “Our unique product eliminates dropped calls” you would think you need to pay attention. They say to follow with a discussion of the value your solution offers. As Mr. Mullens points out, “Being able to move from interest to value is the objective of salespeople.” A customer understanding a product’s value comes from the salesperson’s ability to establish its ‘pedigree’ or association to things the customer values. The idea of pedigree comes from the increased value from being associated with other things of great value. This is much like the offspring of a racehorse. Pedigree can come from the amount of research done on a product; who has invested in a company or product; or company name recognition. Mr. Hext adds, “If you have a great problem with the pedigree established, people will automatically raise the quality of it.” Finish with a discussion of the action you want your customer to take. In their case, it is how to invest.
These accountants know that identifying key problems early gets people’s attention and they listen. In your selling are you starting your sales presentations with a clearly identified compelling problem, or are you starting with a discussion of what your product does? Your presentation introduction should create interest early so that your customer hears his concerns, not yours.
Why it works. Mr. Mullens says, “Human nature teaches us if we believe the person really understands our problem, he also knows the solution. So the solution is easier to sell. Most people don’t cover the problem, they just tell you what they do.” When Hext and Mullens have used this presentation process of starting with a problem, they find it makes less work for customers to make a buying decision. Customers don’t have to determine how the product relates to something that is valuable to them. It also works because it helps customers listen.
Most people are untrained listeners. Some statistics say that they remember 30 percent of what is heard and a week later remember 10 percent. Mr. Mullens says, “If you’re going to talk, tell them the 10 percent you hope that they’ll remember next week.”
Greg Hext says, “You can tell when the process is done right. When you get to the end of the presentation, your customers tell you they understand and they tell you why they need what you’ve got.” When you use the Chapman Hext process in your presentation, your process will end with many new customers.
SELLING ACTION ITEM
1. Determine 3 problems that your product or service solves. What questions can you ask your customers that will lead to your customers discussing their problems? Write the questions now so you can use them during your next sales call. If you need help, email me.
2. Ask for referrals from your prospects and customers at each of your sales calls.
3. Business is difficult now. Make sure you are doing enough prospecting.
I’m always looking for success stories and other tips from sales professionals. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas that have worked for you. To thank you, you’ll receive a free subscription to The Selling E-Letter™, a bi-monthly selling newsletter. ($50 value)
Mission: [email protected] works with business and sales professionals to make THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD (selling!) easier and more effective. After all, how can you make a difference in the world if someone hasn’t bought something from you? And don’t forget about the ideas you’re selling every day.
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Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients want to create long-term client relationships. They include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP. She has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results. Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine. You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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