By: Terry Collison, Blue Rock Capital

 

"By the book."  "Buy the book."  Look, this isn't subtle.  But, in truth, one of the most effec­tive lessons about selling I ever gave myself came from a paperback book (bought at a school garage sale for 10¢) authored by all-time champion car salesman Joe Girard.  A car salesman for gosh sakes!  He is a master.  It's amaz­ing how many people who have successful selling careers sit down and write a book about what works and what doesn't.  It's very approachable reading.  And such books are easily obtainable at most "mall" book chains, at any library, or at the famous How-To-Do-It Bookstore. 

Yin-Yang of Customer Value Creation

Create Customer Value: 10 Lessons from Konosuke Matsushita 

Synergistic Selling: 3 Components

If you realize what you're seeing, it is virtually impossible to escape the flow of free or almost free information. The texts on effective selling (i.e., the formal books) provide the step-by-step instructions.  The press coverage provides the examples and the anecdotal information.  Also try to pick out a couple of individuals (maybe one in your field of another from out­side the field) and ask about their "best practices" when it comes to selling.  And then pick out what seems to be applicable to your specific situation.  Hint: just because something worked for their personality with their product (or service) in their market situation with their targeted prospects does not automatically mean that it will be appropriate or effective for your product (or service) in your market situation with your targeted prospects.  Think.  To be effective, be selective.  You have to go get the detailed how-to-do-it information for yourself.  The sources sug­gested above will get you headed in the right direction.  Sorting out and applying the information is up to you.

Here's the big picture:  Selling is the process of converting prospects into actual paying customers and maintaining them as customers.  Since it can cost four times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to maintain the equiva­lent revenue production from an established customer, finding the right resource allocation that will preserve your base and grow the company at the same time is very, very important.

Here's Collison's No. 1 Rule for Effective Selling

"Selling" isn't happening when the salesperson is talking.

 "Selling" is actually happening when the prospect is talking.

Therefore, effective selling presentations move to a conversational format at the earliest possible moment. 

Effective presentations are often based more on posing issues and questions and less on conveying lots and lots of information.  "Selling" is not about content.  It is about finding a "fit."

Customer Care

Selling Is Problem Solving

Creating Customer Value: 9 Questions To Answer

 Finally – and this is the hardest part about selling – here is a reminder about making the selling process truly effective:

" ? "

That humble little punctuation mark denotes the end of a question.  For example.....

"How can I help you?"

or

"What is bothering you about your current situation?"

or

"What is your company trying to accomplish?"

or

"Would it be meaningful to shave 20% off your current processing time?"

or

"If you could increase throughput by 8%" what would that be worth to you?

or

Given Options A, B and C from us, which one would best serve the needs here at your company?

or (even)

"Are you in position to place an order today?"

The question mark means (or should mean) "Shut up and listen!"  Once the question mark is reached, then no matter how long it takes your prospect to begin speaking, whatever happens next is likely to be pure gold Listen.  And think very carefully about what is said (and the way it is said).  And then respond to it.  You will be amazed at the up-tick in your selling results.