Last week I was looking to buy a new computer, an additional one I could travel with. I called a few companies to ask a few questions and get a few estimates.
Not one who knows much about computers, I was relying on some advice and a little research I had done. When I narrowed it down to three models I liked, I decided to call the companies to get a little more information.
The first guy I talked to was great, really funny and honestly made learning about computers kind of fun. We had a great conversation, he answered all my questions and then asked a few of his own. I told him I was interested, but wanted to explore a few other options. He said great, and asked if he could follow-up with me by the end of the week.
The second guy was very “business like.” He asked me some good questions, was so knowledgeable, but I never really connected with him.
So, I called the third guy. When he answered the phone, he gave me his name and immediately asked for mine. When I told him “Meridith” he said, “Thank you, Mary. What are you calling about today?” Not wanting to waste time correcting him, I quickly told him the computer I was interested in and said I had a few questions.
Before I could get my first question out, he launched into a long explanation (more than I wanted to know) about this model, what it could do and why I would be lucky to have it. He quickly added that it was on sale, and that if I committed to purchase by the end of this call I could save $250.
He took a breath, so I jumped in and asked about the battery life and the warranty. He told me not to worry about those, that both were the same as most other models, and that I should be more concerned with the weight and the other features.
Not wanting to argue, and feeling powerless to get a word in edgewise, I let him ramble on until he finally took another breath and stopped. I jumped at the pause, said thank you so much and quickly hung up the phone.
Frustrated, I called the first guy back, and bought the computer. After thirty minutes on the phone, a lot more conversation and a lot of laughing. I bought an extra battery, an external video camera and a new mic. Why? Because sales is not that hard, and we make it way more complicated than it is. Sales is about getting to know people, taking an interest in them and investing the time to listen.
5 Things You MUST Know About Sales
- Not About You – as a sales professional you need to know sales is not about you. The more time you spend talking about yourself and your products the more chance you have of losing the sale. My third sales rep was so focused on “selling” me his product he forgot to find out what I need.
- Sell Price/Sell Short – if you focus on the price people say they will pay, you lose the opportunity to sell the value they are willing to invest in. When my computer rep jumped to the “deal” I would get if I bought the computer today, he took all the value out of the computer. He forgets to sell me the things I would be willing to pay for.
- Sell, Then Sell Again – the first sale is always about building a relationship. People buy from you just because they know you and they like you. They buy from you again because they trust you. My first computer guy did not stop at the first sale; he continued to talk with me, listen with me and because he did he was able to sell more. Selling starts after the first sale.
- Networking Is The Gateway – you need to be connecting and meeting people now, that you will be selling to six to twelve months from now. Networking is the new cold calling. Allowing relationships to build and connections to happen is how you sell in the new economy.
- You Are Not In Control – most importantly, as a sales professional you need to know you are not in control. You can influence buyers, but in an economy where what you sell has become a commodity and how you sell is your competitive advantage, you need to let the customer take the lead.
So those are my five things you need to know about sales. I would love to hear yours. Share your stories, tips and strategies about how to succeed and sell more no matter what this economy does.
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