Did you know that sales is the oldest occupation on earth? I can hear some objections but give it a second; yes “that” is also sales. Often times, the community see sales as a low level occupation and a basic process compared to other duties in corporate world. In contrary, sales is a key duty for any business and individual. Let me put it out this way; all businesses have one sole purpose: to make profit and in order to make profit you need to sell. It’s that simple.
There are many techniques and a wide spectrum of books on sales and many global companies have utilized such techniques to create success stories such as Apple to IBM, Zara to Avon and Tupperware. Before diving into these techniques, there are some fundamental points that you should internalize about sales and they might help you in areas which you might not think of.
Rule no 1: You can’t run away from it
What I discussed above is actually about this rule but in order to define this rule fully we have to dig down to sales concept. The first sales has happened between two half naked, bearded man wearing cloths made of cheetah fur and it didn’t involve money at all. It was all about transaction of resources. Nothing much have changed in the past few thousand years; today still people pay money to buy stuff; where both money and stuff are resources of different kinds.
From this perspective money, house, ideas and time are also resources which you can exchange. Time, is a little tricky here. When you think about it includes all of us that have corporate careers and who are receiving wages in return of hours spent at work. On top of this any decision you make for the weekend and all your persuasive acts to your spouse, family and friends have sales in it.
The success of recent startups such as airbnb, kickstarter and uber are also tied to their ability to allow people to sell their resources.
Therefore, you should be confronted that sales is not only specific to sales clerks, door to door salesman or real estate agents, it is a daily process which all of us are involved with. This perspective can help you to relax and relieve from being uncomfortable in sales activities such as raise negotiations.
Rule no 2: It is not about you
This is the thin line which separate a successful sales person with the unsuccessful ones. This rule sets the attitude that you set during the sales. In a sales situation, the important part is the buyer, because that side is the one who will make an evaluation of weather your product is in his interest or not and give a purchasing decision.
Therefore, it is not important what you will gain by making the sale it should be all about the buyer and your sales pitch shall be constructed based on the buyer’s condition and feedback. Take a car salesman as an example; if you try to sell a minivan to a 20yr old you would not succeed or a sports car to a recent mom because you will not fulfill their needs. For this rule our keyword is needs. A successful salesperson is the one who listens his customer to its full and who build a personalized sales pitch to his customer. They make you think of the imaginative case that you have (wear, drive, use, etc.) the product and take you to a smooth decision phase. That’s what I am talking about.
Rule no 3: It is not about product either
This rule sets the difference between successful salesperson and the most successful sales person. The keyword here is perception because people do not buy products, they buy benefits. People buy your products to satisfy their needs. The more advanced you prepare your sales pitch (the deeper you go in the pyramid), the more chance you have to close the sales.
Product > Advantage > Solution > Benefit > Profit
Expecting the client to understand the benefits of your product while you tell about the specifications , your expectations might fall short. Tell them what will solve their problem and how they will benefit from it. Remember, the bigger the bait, the more the chance !
Let me try to illustrate it with a small example about a water purifier
Product: We are selling this water purifier
Advantage: Our water purifier has 3 filters and is amazing
Solution: With a water purifier you can use tap water for drinking
Benefit: You can fill your glass directly from the tap and don’t need to order water again
Profit: With this one time investment you can use your water for drinking all the time. It will be paid back after 1000 gallons of usage, then it will be free for a life time.