My last columns discussed the most successful “lead generation” strategies any business can implement.
So, with your “prospect funnel” full, let’s talk about the conversion of these prospects to clients, or sales. A good definition of sales is, professionally helping others to buy.
Becoming a successful salesperson comes down to one thing — training. Selling is something everybody can learn to do well.
Renowned sales trainer Zig Ziggler said it best: “You can have anything you want in this life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.” The key is to focus on the needs of the prospect and not yourself.
Generally, there are four types of salespeople: the order taker — reactive, merely wait for someone to ask to buy; the product pusher — talks about nothing more than the product they are selling; the over-seller — the stereotypical salesperson that promise the world just to get the sale; and finally the problem solver — genuinely has the best interest of their customers in mind.
When I first started in sales, my approach was to list and describe the products I thought my prospect may want. A normal response was if they ever needed anything from my list they would be sure to call me.
Guess how many phone calls I received.
I assumed that I already knew their needs. I certainly didn’t come away with a good understanding of the prospect’s business or themselves. I was a product pusher.
These days, prospects have often done their homework before walking through the door. A problem solver asks relevant questions to uncover the real needs.
The questioning process also helps to educate customers on possible options. The end result should be the best matchup of what the business offers in order to solve the need. The prospect will often arrive at their own conclusion — they sell themselves.
The “old” way of selling was not interested in building relationships or followup after the sale. The salesperson’s main focus was on the actual selling process. This is why sales still has the stigma of being a pressurized process to this day.