Professional Sales is all About Solving Problems

In professional sales today it is easy to get confused or diverted in the complexity of the job.  Things don’t need to be complex; the best salespeople solve problems for their clients in a simple and direct way.  When you really understand that, you can see the ways to improve your career.

Consider these questions:

  • What problems are out there today now to solve in your industry?
  • Can you solve those problems better than your competitors?  If so how?
  • Do your customers or clients know that they have a problem to solve?

Three simple questions like this can lead to opportunity and business growth providing you really know the answers.

The sales opportunities open up for you when you can deliver a logical solution that helps your clients in some form or another.  ‘Logic’ supports the sales process in business today.  That could be in:

  • Shorter turnaround times
  • A better market share
  • Cost savings in processes or raw materials
  • Quality improvements in product or service
  • Deliverable strategies that help with customer service

Here are some valuable marketing ideas and concepts to help your sales positioning:

  1. Specialise more than you generalise.  When you specialise you create more value and lessen the impact of competitors from your market.  When you really are the ‘best of the best’, clients need you more than you need them.  That’s a great concept don’t you think?
  2. Have the best market information to use in your sales pitches and presentations.  Use comparisons and stories from the market to attract and drive the interest of your clients.  They like to know that others in your town or city have similar challenges; then they like to hear about successful outcomes.
  3. As a general rule don’t discount your prices unless absolutely necessary.  The only thing that should drive a discount is a client with repeating orders or large orders.  You can assess that when you strike a high value client.
  4. Take a strategic approach with your market so you connect with higher value clients or those that can be over time.

I go back to the point that a successful salesperson is generally a person that solves problems in a comprehensive and beneficial way for their clients.  Revisit your personal business plan to see if that is your focus.

Successful Negotiation Skills in Sales Teams Today

One successful negotiation skill to be practiced and used today is that of ‘elaboration’.  When a client or prospect is in negotiation with you, any hurdle or challenge should be explored by ‘elaboration’.  Ask more questions of the client and get deeper into their issue or problem.  Get them to talk.

Ask or drill down on 3 or 4 levels of questions on any negotiation problem.  Seek to know more about the client before you want them to consider your points of negotiation or the transaction.  It’s a strategy that is well worth practice and refinement.

From this approach there is a special result that is quite common known as the ‘Freudian Slip’.  By asking questions you are encouraging the client to talk about their perspective; soon you will see them open up on the potential for agreement and the ultimate outcome that they seek in final satisfaction.  You then know what you can negotiate on and the way to do it.  You have something to work with.

So what can you do in this process of ‘elaboration’?  Try some of these:

  1. Get more facts about the client as they see the potential transaction, sale, or deal.  Facts can be explored further.  Ask the client to tell you more.
  2. Ask the client for opinions about the situation of the deal and how it could match their situation.
  3. Get the client to talk about their targets and help them compare those targets to the market conditions and the supply of goods or services from their perspective.
  4. Questions can be directed towards ‘minor closes’.  In that way you take the client closer to the main negotiation result.  Any major negotiation is a series of small agreements in a logical order.  Structure your pitch or presentation accordingly.
  5. Some clients get lost in the complexity of a transaction, sale, or negotiation; perhaps the market conditions are new to them.  Make things simple.  Identify if there is any lack of understanding on the clients part that could have an impact on your ultimate outcome.  You will soon know if they really do not understand the reality of your produce and service supply.

Simple skills like this can help you with the negotiation techniques and strategies that directly suit the product or service that you are offering.  I go back to the main point here.  Get the facts from the client and then drill down deeper.

Tell Stories of Failure as Part of Your Sales Pitch

It may seem a bit strange but you can use stories of ‘failure’ as part of your sales pitch.  By ‘failure’ I mean situations where other clients and prospects really made the wrong choices and suffered as a consequence.  That simple illustration can help your current clients see the advantage of fresh new ideas and perhaps the recommendations made as part of your sales pitch today.

Clients don’t want to make mistakes.  A ‘failure’ situation is actually something that can help your current clients move ahead in a positive way and in doing so avoid any poor decisions.

So here are the rules to the process:

  1. Tell stories from the market and provide real life facts and information.
  2. A failure situation is actually a valuable lesson to someone.  Your current clients may appreciate that knowledge.
  3. Make connections between your current clients situation and the ‘failure event’ so they know that it is relevant and real.
  4. From the failure you can work up recommendations and alternatives.  Every client likes to have a few alternatives to consider.
  5. Put yourself in the solution and in the story.  Show the client the timeline to progress as you see it and break it up into stages of action.  Small simple steps are the easy way to move through a problem.

It is fairly easy to pitch on a sale situation if you follow these rules.  It is simple sales logic.  The client doesn’t want to make a mistake; they will listen to you.  You become the solution process.  The depth of your recommendations and solutions will help the client move ahead.  That’s how you can close on a sales pitch.

Want Sales Success? – Track Your Sales Scores

In sales today, many things will happen to distract your focus.  Clients, market pressures, orders, seasonal changes in the market will all have an impact.

The only way to establish some progress is to track your sales results or ‘scores’.  You don’t have to track a lot of things; only the ones that have meaning to your product and services.  Small incremental increases in actions will compound your progress in sales.

So what can you track?  If you have been working in a market or industry for some time you will already have facts and figures you can draw on. If you are new to a zone then you will need to develop assumptions based on real market trends; that will take research and investigation.  Answer these questions in doing so:

  1. Where are the clients coming from?
  2. What are they looking for in obtaining service and supply of goods?
  3. How can you tap into the client segments in a regular way?
  4. What prospecting methods work better than others?
  5. How many prospecting calls are you making?
  6. What is the average unit of sale over the last 12 months?
  7. What is the average unit of commission or profit over the last 12 months?
  8. What is the volume of sales per person in your industry versus your business?
  9. How long does it take to connect with your clients and prospects at a level that you would regard as primed for new business activity?
  10. What’s your market share?  How has that market share changed?

Questions like these help you move ahead.  Success in professional sales today is a very personal thing.  Results come from personal action and incremental improvements in doing so.  Take action every day; that’s what sales success is all about.