Three Lies and a Truth About Sales: Don’t Fall For These Common Sales Blunders
Sales people often hold untrue beliefs about selling that hold them back from real success. These common lies — frequently taught in old-school sales classes — are easy to believe but aren’t the truth with today’s customer. Read on to change your mind about these beliefs and accelerate your sales achievement.
Lie: Sell Yourself First
Sales trainers have forever taught this common sales lie. Sales people try to sell themselves by getting a prospect to like them. They tell a joke, talk about sports, ask questions to find common ground, or name drop.
Needing to be liked also drives this behavior pattern. Yet needing to be liked isn’t a productive behavior for salespeople. In fact it’s highly counterproductive because sales people will make poor choices in an attempt to please the prospect. Needing to find customers who find value in product and ignoring everyone else becomes much more productive.
Today, you don’t have time to warm up the prospect and get them to like you. Most of the time they’re to busy for gratuitous chat. The last thing most people need is another friend. What they need most is someone to solve their problems.
Instead of selling yourself, focus attention on discovering what you need to know to decide if you want to invest time with this prospect. What are their objectives and their priorities? Asking questions to identify how to help them will do more to create a real relationship than falsely selling yourself, tricking them into liking you.
Lie: The Customer is Always Right
You’ve probably said this lie yourself. It’s just not true. Sales people who believe this may bend the truth or agree to creating a situation that they know isn’t in the customer’s best interest.
The reality: the customer is often wrong and in the face of rapidly changing technology, the customer frequently doesn’t know that they’re wrong. A sales person who is willing to support a customer’s wrong position isn’t doing anyone any favors.
Instead, be willing to gently challenge a customer’s inaccurate views to help them see a different worldview. The best way to do this is tell a story about a customer who held that view, changed their mind, and now enjoy a different, better outcome.
Another option is to say, “I used to think that, too. What I’ve learned since is that lots has changed and another way to do this is… ”
Lie: It’s All About the Deal
While about 15 percent of the population buys primarily on price, most of the population prefers to purchase based on value. Yet many salespeople believe that customers need a deal to buy, so they cut the price and needlessly give away margin.
This behavior is tied to the first lie, sell yourself, and the associated need to be liked by customers.
The reality: it’s your duty as a sales professional is to keep more margin, not needlessly give it away.
Instead, create more value for the customer then the price you’re asking and you’ll be perceived as a real deal.
I recently had an experience where the salesperson piled on discount after discount even after I thought the price was more than fair and had already said yes to the deal. While I sincerely enjoy a better deal, it wasn’t necessary for my satisfaction and needlessly cut the vendor’s margin.
Truth: Customers Buy Based on Emotion
While many sales people, especially those in the world of technology, don’t believe this sales truth, it’s absolutely reality. Customers use logic to justify their purchase, yet they must have a good feeling about the purchase or they’ll make a different choice.
The emotions that cause closes include confidence, relief, joy, certainty, and enthusiasm. The opposite emotions that can kill a deal include fear, uncertainty, and doubt – often abbreviated FUD.
One way to understand the feeling that a customer seeks is to ask questions such as:
“What will it feel like when you make the right choice?”
“How do you want to feel about this purchase?”
“What feeling do you get when you know that you’ve made a good decision?”
If you’re reluctant to ask these questions, ask them of yourself to get an idea of what others feel when they make good decision.
Go seek the truth!
Mark S A Smith
Working with leaders to bring in the right customers, fast.
P.S. I’ve created an on-line training session that goes much deeper into creating value by automating the customer acquisition process without cold calling. Sign up here to take the class as my guest.