Prepared by the CFO – Why You Can’t Sell and What to Do About It
With so much mediocrity about, you can stand out if you improve the way that you sell.
This article, in a nutshell:
- Is for those of you who find selling difficult (your problem/issue/hurt)
- Will show you how to make more sales which will increase your profits and cash-flow (the real benefit).
REAL FACT ONE: If your customers are not listening it is not their fault! It is your fault… you are not communicating in a way that they can hear your message.
REAL FACT TWO: Your sales presentations/offers and so forth are probably all wrong.
I expect that several years ago you attended a sales course or read some books that told you how to present yourself. Most people attended a similar course so most presentations follow a familiar pattern. More importantly, that pattern is all wrong: it is dull and familiar and crucially it does not get you results.
A quick example: A consultant visits us and his typical, boring, predictable, mind-numbing presentation goes:
“My name is… I work for…, and we employ x people…, based in… set up in… and what we do is specialise in…” This was dreadful. It was all about them and not about me. It was all about what they do and not what I want. I am afraid that he mistook me for someone who cared about this nonsense.
Eventually the salesman got close to the climax and I started to wake up a little “and the solutions we offer include…” (and I was thinking “yes but how does that help me and my particular problem?”) and finally he reached his peak with the inevitable words “and as a result you will be more profitable.”
At last he talks about what I am interested in. But he has offered a one-size fits all solution and he has offered it too late. He still hasn’t asked me about my problem or what I am looking for. Clearly he is not really interested in helping me; he is only interested in making a sale so I graciously boot him out of the office, thank him for his time while wishing he hadn’t wasted my precious time.
So… why does every sales presentation bore you to death before telling you what you want?
Please, don’t give answers till you know what the customer’s problems/issues/needs are.
REAL FACT THREE: People have problems/hurts/needs that they want sorted out. You need to know what they are. To find out what their issues are you need to ask questions, shut up and listen to the answers.
REAL FACT FOUR: Customers are only interested in how you can help them relieve the pain or get more pleasure. I repeat, to find out what their issues are you need to ask questions, shut up and listen to the answers.
REAL FACT FIVE: People will buy from you if you are able to cut to the chase. Tell them what they will get… Don’t bore them. Be precise and focused. Don’t waste their time.
REAL FACT SIX: People don’t buy from you for what you do but for what your product or service will do for them (probably after you are gone). This is what they want to know: how will they be better off after you have gone?
Suddenly, selling becomes easy. Find out their hurts/problems/issues, find out what THEY want after you’ve left, focus on telling them how you can deliver it.
REAL FACT SEVEN: Customers want you to make it absolutely clear what they will get by buying from you. So, tell them how you will make things better for them. Next…
REAL FACT EIGHT: Customers love it when you make it clear that you can deliver. So tell them: “We can do that” and give them some brief proofs or examples.
REAL FACT NINE: Customers love it when you shut up.
So, what I am saying is as follows: be clear about what the customer will get and how it will improve things for them – remember people buy for one of two reasons – to be happier or more profitable, i.e. they want more profit/income/sales/time and/or less risk/costs/stress.
If you follow the approach outlined above several things will start to happen:
- You will clarify your offering in your own mind, which will make it easier for you to communicate (by email, phone, letter, advert).
- Your communication becomes simpler and more powerful.
- Your communication becomes obvious – it becomes crystal clear what you are saying
- You will be remarkable – you will stand out from the crowd and you will be talked about. Someone who offers simple and obvious solutions will get the business.
If you think you can’t sell then you are probably right, you won’t sell. The techniques above will put you in a different state of mind, “can sell, and will sell”. Sounds good to me.