There is an uncomfortable truth about sales success, which many salespeople would rather ignore than confront directly: sales success is not situational; it is individual. In other words, why should your client buy from you?
That question may seem tricky or even unfair, but it’s the same one your prospective clients ask and answer, even if only subconsciously. They decide who they want as a partner—who will help them improve their results. Answering this question honestly will help you increase your clients’ preference to choose you over your competitors.
It’s Not Your Company
It’s easy to deflect the question of why someone should buy from you by immediately retreating to the warm, safe, comfortable conversation about your company. Marketing teams often love this retreat because they want you to tell the company’s story. But your prospective client isn’t buying from your charismatic, swash-buckling CEO who disrupted the industry with his incredible vision. Neither are they likely to be impressed by the company’s long history or the companies that make up your client list.
In fact, let’s just assume that your company is excellent, doing consistently good work for many clients over many years. If that fact alone were enough to generate sales, every salesperson on your team would have basically the same results. Do you honestly think that the salesperson in last place on the stacked-ranking just isn’t telling the company’s story well enough? Or is relying on that story to establish credibility—rather than providing value and insight—why that person is struggling?
It’s Not Your Product
There is no doubt that your products are amazing, among the very best available on the market today. Unquestionably, your service business has cracked the code on how to improve your client’s results, many of whom rave about you and sing your praises. Your solutions are best in class, and they perform very well on the magic quadrant analysis. The good folks who work on products would have you explain how what you sell is different from—and frankly, better than—anything on your rival’s price sheet.
Having a great product, service, or solution is incredibly valuable, as is finding a solution that fits your client’s needs. But when you look at the variation between salespeople who succeed and those who struggle to sell the very same solution, you can rule out that the solution is to blame. After all, every salesperson thinks their solution is superior, so why wouldn’t the best solution win every time? Why would clients routinely buy from one salesperson but suddenly choose to buy from a competitor when their established partner sends a different sales rep?
It’s Not Your Price
After losing a hard-fought contest to a competitor, many salespeople will rationalize their failure on the grounds that their price was higher than their competitor’s. To be fair, many clients often deliver the bad news by telling the losing salesperson that it was a very close decision (it wasn’t) and that their competitor promised the same or better results at a lower price. But the epic struggle between paying you 10 cents a unit or paying your competitor 12 cents a unit really isn’t what’s keeping your contacts up at night.
The top salesperson in your company doesn’t have a special pricing structure, one that is unavailable to the rest of the sales force. They routinely compete against competitors with a lower price structure. Why isn’t the higher price a barrier to their success? The point, of course, is that the difference between those salespeople who succeed and those who struggle to find success isn’t found in their company’s pricing model.
Who You Are and How You Sell
Answering why your prospective clients choose you or a competitor comes down to who you are and how you sell. The third chapter in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need is titled “Caring: The Desire to Help Others.” This chapter is based on my idea that selling isn’t something you do to someone, but rather something you do for and with someone. What makes one a consultative salesperson is their ability to help their clients make good decisions about their business and future. The first half of that book contains nine character traits that you need to develop to improve as a salesperson. Who you are is much more important than your company, your solution, or even your pricing.
The second variable is how you sell: your competency to create value for your prospective clients through the sales conversation. Long-time readers and Sales Accelerator clients have a good understanding of what makes up a value-creating, modern sales approach and how it helps them to differentiate themselves. Nothing will provide better results than improving the value you create for your prospective and existing clients, whether it’s in good times or incredibly challenging times.
The Master Key to Improving Your Sales Results
The first rule to improving your sales results is the belief that “everything is your fault.” You cannot take credit for your wins if you are unwilling to take responsibility for your losses. Both who you are and how you sell are within your control. There is no more important project than becoming who you are meant to be, the person that comes after the person you are now.
This is your life’s project, and it will do more to improve your results than anything else. Improving your approach to sales is much easier. But to gain new skills and competencies, you have to study and practice.
Do Good Work on yourself, and I’ll see you next Sunday!
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Filed under: Sales