People often ask me how I have been and continue to be successful in growing my business and sales. It’s funny because for me, it’s very natural to connect and take a genuine interest in people both personally and professionally. My professional sales training both structured and through reading books include the likes of Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Miller Heiman, Xerox and Panasonic. Whoa, I just realized they are all men! How do we not have any big names of female sales experts? Anyway, I know these men have had tremendous success and give a wonderful basis for sales but I also know that times have evolved which means so have people.
The traditional, AKA dinosaur, sales model consisted of very little rapport building and I mean, very little. The 4 basic steps to selling include: building rapport, asking questions or probing, presenting your offering and closing the sale. The techniques that have been taught and still continue to be taught puts the emphasis on closing the sale. How can you put the majority of your energy into closing the sale when you don’t know the needs of your clients? I’m sure many of you have heard the term “ABC Selling”, Always Be Closing and most people hear the word manipulation after this phrase. The techniques around ABC Selling are ones that favor the seller and not the buyer. This particular way of selling no longer works based on the following:
- Trust isn’t the foundation of the relationship
- Not enough questions are asked for needs analysis
- Buyer doesn’t feel important and valued
- Conversation is very one sided and in favor of the seller
- The old adage of one mouth and two ears to be used in proportion is out the window
The new and current sales model puts the focus on building the rapport with your prospect. If someone doesn’t trust you they aren’t going to do business with you no matter how hard you try. Once you build the rapport or the KLT, (know, like, trust) then you can move into casual and engaging inquiries for needs analysis. This better equips you with knowing if and what of your offering suits this person and their company. Assuming the above have fallen into alignment, you will once again, smoothly transition into presenting your solution. How can you make their life easier? How can you increase their productivity? How can you make them look like a rock star? It’s all about helping solve a problem. After you have done the first 3 steps, you should now transition to one of the most uncomfortable areas, closing the sale. I don’t like to refer to it as the close but rather creating a raving fan and lifelong partner in business. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.