In the last several years, I have had a revelation about the art and science of sales. The answer to sales success is within all of us. The answer is simple but the key to unlock the answer is elusive.
If you were to go back to the late 1800s, the first formal sales training provided by the likes of J. Edward Douglas and others, you will find teaching geared toward techniques – tie-downs, inverted tie-downs, etc. For more than a century now, sales people have been trained with various forms of techniques, word tracks, closes and other sales processes. Do these things work? Is this what creates success for the best performing sales people? My own unscientific research says no.
For more than 25 years I have been involved in sales and sales training reaching the highest levels of success. I have read more than 250 books and listened to hundreds of CDs on sales. I am considered a world-class expert on sales, but I am just now tapping into a higher level of consciousness in the arena. My conclusion is that most of what you have been taught about sales and use on a daily basis is not what creates the highest levels of success.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Tipping Point,” Gladwell describes theory and various supporting research about human behavior and how people make decisions. The author uses the term “small slicing” to describe the idea that substantial and correct information can be obtained about a person and his or her future behavior based on small slices of their communication and current behavior. The information in this book supports theories and research that I have had for the last several years. However, the theories are hard to articulate and get others to model. The key to success is simple but hard to define.
The old phrases, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” are examples of simple truths. The magic answers to how do you make a great first impression and how do you say things correctly are what are much harder to define.
Sales techniques, sales processes and word tracks can all be helpful but are not the key to peak performance. If those things were the answer then everyone who ever had sales training or had modeled a successful sales person would become peak performers. That’s not the case.
Even the words “sales” and “selling” create a false direction for sales people. The proper mindset for a sales person is to think of very personal interaction with buyers. The mission of a sales person is to create an environment conducive to buying for the customer. TLC – think like a customer. Not just any customer – the particular customer you are with now. One-size-fits-all selling does not work.
The so-called road to a sale or sales process is only as good as the personal interaction of the sales person with the customer during the process. This is why training on just sales process without education in understanding interpersonal communication, behavior or the art and science of persuasion creates a sales environment of failure for sales people and frustration for customers.
Think more about the customer’s thoughts and emotions and how they are being expressed to you. To create a buying environment for the customer, you must take all your senses and intuition to a higher level. You must begin to see like a deaf person, hear like a blind person and understand the customer as if you were his or her deepest and most caring friend.