Do you agree with the notion that sales is the most important role in a business? According to Henry Ford “nothing happens until someone sells something”, and I believe this to be true. People would not know that they need a product or service unless someone shows it to them. This is the reason for a salesperson job to exist. I could imagine how people loved salespeople before because of the new products and services they introduced that brought convenience and comfort to their lives. Nowadays, however, I have observed how salespeople are avoided or criticized. Why?
Let us identify the different kinds of salespeople that we normally see or encounter today whom I think are needing change in their way of selling. First, we have the pushy ones. This kind of salesperson tends to pressure the client into buying the products or services he/she is offering. This can be because he/she is also pressured and is focused too much on the quota or numbers he/she has to reach – daily, weekly or monthly. The worst part is they assume that their clients understand why they are doing it. Second is the manipulative type, who lies or manipulates the process or people just to make a sale. This puts an unfair advantage to the client. This salesperson doesn’t care about the feeling of the clients after the product is purchased or the service is availed. He/She just obviously cares about the satisfaction of having a sale. Third is the one who overpromises. This type of salesperson loves to over promise but tends to underdeliver. This tendency is the result of one’s negative mindset that it is the only way to get the sweet yes of the client. Unknowingly though, they give themselves a negative reputation. Consequently, unsatisfied clients avoid him/her and don’t give referrals because of the bad experience. Fourth is the non-listener type. This is the type who believes that if he/she talks a lot about the offered products or services, he/she can convince the clients to move forward. The truth is, he/she is actually forfeiting the idea of helping because he/she does not hear the clients out on what they really need or want. The fifth one on this list is the type who keeps on talking on the details but lacks emotion. This is the type of salesperson who is so knowledgeable about the product including the benefits and features. While being well-informed about the product or service is important for a salesperson, flooding clients with information that has the tendency to be easily forgotten will affect their decision-making later on. This type of salesperson does not fully acknowledge the value of storytelling to a buyer’s decision-making.
If we ponder on these, we realize why people choose to retrace their steps when they see a salesperson from afar. In truth, there are different ways to sell but before we can use such ways effectively, we first need to understand the real goal of sales – to lead people in getting what they want and need. How is this possible? A salesperson must take on the following five roles:
- Relationship Builder – this should be the very first role that a salesperson masters. He/she must make sure that the client trusts him/her first. One must always remember that if he/she offers the products or services to his/her customer first and builds relationships after, the customer will most likely say “no”. But, if a salesperson builds relationships first and offers the products or services after, customers will most likely say “yes”. Trust is the key, everything follows.
- Master Asker – in order to assess clients’ wants and needs, a salesperson must know how to ask questions and what questions to ask. One can’t possibly know what the clients are exactly looking by just looking at them and assuming what they need. You want to help your clients get what they need and want? You ask!
- Master Listener – a master asker should also be a master listener. It is important that a salesperson listens to what clients say when questions are asked. Clearly getting the important details from them will allow one to identify the right solution, product or service to offer to them.
- Storyteller – storytelling is the best way to drive a point, identify a lesson and relate to the clients. As they say, Fact tells,story sells.
- Master Closer – once a salesperson knows what clients need or want by being a master asker and master listener, he/she must not be hesitant in leading them to what they need to do, be and have in life. One must remember that we are not in the business of giving information to people, but we are in the business of moving people to take action and get what they want. Inspire people to take action.
In addition to taking on these roles, a salesperson should use the appropriate terminologies in sales that sell. Average salespeople don’t care about the words they use on their daily transactions or business. In every transaction or conversation we have with the people we serve or even our family members, the words or phrases we use generate positive or negative feelings. If we want to have successful careers or businesses, we need to be extra sensitive with the use of words. We need to know that there are disadvantage or rejection words that create fear or walls between us and the people we serve. On the other hand, there are also advantage words or go-ahead terms that help people make the best decision. So, a salesperson should learn to replace his/her disadvantage words with advantage words.
Moreover, a salesperson must always be passionate, disciplined, and have the right attitude. Without these values, one would find it hard to thrive in the sales industry regardless of the techniques he/she uses.
According to Tom Hopkins, “selling is the highest paid hard work and the lowest paid easy work there is.” Thus, if a salesperson only learns the knowledge, skills and art of selling and apply those religiously, he/she will surely be on top.