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
“To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first. And, whatever you hit, call it the target.”
– Ashleigh Brilliant
If only this would work for selling! What usually happens when you go to a sales call without doing much planning? Probably not much or at least not what you want to happen. You leave the sales call justifying it as, “I just wanted to get to know them more.” You’re just kidding yourself. What will help you sell is when you get to know more about your customer’s business. Before each sales call you need to set a maximum and minimum objective for the call. What do you want to have happen in the sales call to make it successful? What specifically will the customer say or do that will make the call a success? A maximum objective is to get a contract signed. A minimum objective is to get agreement to run a product test or get a referral. If you plan before the sales call, you’ll be able to determine after the sales call if your work did move the sales process forward. Set your targets before the sales call so you don’t have to kid yourself into thinking that what you did hit was the target.
THE SELLING IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH
Pradas Are a Necessity (to some)
I’ll never forget the story where my friend, a teacher, asked her affluent class of students to distinguish between a necessity and a luxury. One girl said, “One Prada bag is a necessity. Two are a luxury.” At $600 a purse, wouldn’t you want to have customers like that? You don’t have to be selling Prada bags to be perceived as selling a luxury. If you’re hearing “We don’t have the budget now,” your product is perceived as more of a luxury, not a necessity. Here’s how you can help your customers change their perception so they’ll buy from you faster.
Crises are good. A customer needs to buy from you when the consequences of not buying are painful or expensive. Think about your product or service and the situations where your customer or his business would suffer greatly without your product. Ask yourself what are all of the things that could go wrong in his business without your products. Then determine how your product or service could address those situations. In the real world, things do go awry. People miss deadlines. Delays happen and crises are the results. If your product or service can fix a problem, you have moved your customer’s perception of it from a luxury to a necessity. Just remember, though, that customers think those crises won’t or can’t happen to them.
But it can happen to you. Your product is a necessity only when your customers think the problem is likely to happen to them. What can you do if your prospects don’t think the possibilities could happen to them? Before the 2003 blackout, I’ll bet most people thought they didn’t need to have flashlights on hand, filled gas tanks or extra bottled water. I think most people didn’t even think of the possibility of losing their electricity. I have found that customers don’t know what they don’t know. It’s your job to help them understand that the problems you’re aware of could one day be their problems. They also need to think through to all the consequences of the problems. Some salespeople make the mistake of telling their customers that they could have these problems. It’s more effective if you ask questions about how they plan to address the issues that arise. When customers respond with their answers, they understand better that the problem could be theirs. Customers will never argue with their own data.
I’ll bet more people all over the United States, in addition to those affected by the blackout, have flashlights and batteries on hand now than before the blackout. Before the power failure, a flashlight while not quite a luxury, was not seen as a necessity. Now that people understand the possibility of the problem happening to them, they see the need. If your customers still don’t recognize the problem could happen to them, ask them if they thought the blackout could have occurred. Ask them if they think it could happen again. In today’s world people are more open to the possibilities of things going wrong.
I want my MTV. No one needs to watch the MTV television channel any more than people need to buy $100,000 automobiles. Yet MTV advertised about its viewers who simply wanted their MTV. Your customers may simply want your products and services. To find out why your customers would want your products or services, you really have to know your customers and how they think. Ask them about their short term and long term career goals. Remember not all purchases are made by people solely for the best interests of their company. Some people make decisions to buy to enhance their quick move up the corporate ladder. Others are like the $100,000 car buyer who want to impress others with their ability to make the decision to buy.
You’ll find that it’s easier to sell a necessity than it is to sell a luxury. It’s your job to help your customers perceive that what you’re selling is a necessity because that’s when they’ll buy. I’ve got my flashlight and batteries on hand. Do you?
SELLING ACTION ITEM
Decide what problems your products or services address. What questions can you ask your customers to determine if they have or would experience those problems? Do they think those problems are important? If not, it’s your job to show them that the problems are important because of the impact the problems will have on their business. You can move your products and services into the necessary category when your customers believe there’s an urgency to act.
The director of the Center for Sales Innovation at the College of St.
Catherine (largest women’s college with only undergraduate major in sales
for women in the country), is conducting research to document the high
level of success women achieve in sales careers. SHE IS LOOKING FOR PARTICIPANTS.
WHAT: As a leader in women’s leadership education, The College of St.
Catherine Center for Sales Innovation (in Minnesota) is conducting a confidential research study to better understand how women achieve top performance in sales.
Your input is needed to document how well women are performing in sales organizations. All responses are anonymous, neither you nor your organization will be identified by name.
HOW: Two ways to participate:
1. Complete a 7 minute survey on-line to determine the level of sales performance. Click on https://www.stkate.edu/surveys/womeninsales.htm
2. Complete a 10 minute survey on-line to determine best practices of women sales leaders. Click on https://www.stkate.edu/surveys/salesleaders.htm
MORE: Thank you for participating; you are contributing to the advancement
of women in sales. Please pass this on to other top producing women.
RESULTS: If you would like the results, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and
you will be notified.
You may have noticed that the format of the Selling Newsletter is different this month. I’m using a new selling tool. Email is a very effective selling tool to keep in touch with prospects and customers. ExactTarget (www.Exacttarget.com) makes it easy to use email to sell.
Do you want to be notified of Maura’s upcoming public seminars? Send an email to email@example.com with the subject: Upcoming Seminars and your email address. You’ll get the information about Maura’s public seminars. Programs are held quarterly.
SOMETHING TO REPORT?
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.
Privacy: At [email protected] we take privacy issues very seriously. Your information remains with us and will never be sold, shared, or distributed in any manner, for any reason.
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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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*Written by Maura Schreier-Fleming, president of [email protected]. (www.BestatSelling.com). Maura works with business and sales professionals so they can sell more and be more productive at work. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results.
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