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Chris LoCurto

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August 15, 2011

Four Must Take Steps To A Sale!

August 15, 2011 | By | 14 Comments">14 Comments

People who say they aren’t in sales crack me up. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is in sales. Leaders are selling team members on the idea of following them. Pastors are selling congregants on the concepts of the Bible. Parents are selling children on the idea of cleaning their room or…they will start counting, and then look out!

While most people don’t rely on their sales ability to put food on the table, (I mean really, how much money comes from threatening your child?) a great number of people do. In fact, every day they start off with a clean slate and think, What can I do today to get money in the door? Many of these folks have never actually been taught how to sell. They were given the opportunity and took off.

Unfortunately, you’re probably really familiar with this type of salesperson. They have a tendency to be pushy or come across as rude. And when you don’t give them your hard-earned money, they appear to be mad at you – as if you are the reason they are failing. I don’t understand this attitude. Don’t be mad at me if you did a bad job.

There are many reasons salespeople fail. Jumping right into a sales pitch, going straight to closing or, even worse, prejudging a person on appearance are good examples. Luckily, all these failures can be avoided if you follow a simple four-step process:

  • Qualification – You have to start your process by discovery. Is the person actually able to purchase the product you’re selling? Do they have the money? Do they have the time to spend in your sales process? And ultimately, do they have the power to make the decision?
  • Rapport – A good salesperson finds common ground with a prospect as soon as possible by asking lots and lots of questions. A bad salesperson will try to discuss a prospect’s interests, even though they know nothing about them. This only gets the salesperson in trouble. The prospect will see through their lack of knowledge and the attempt to “win” them over.
  • Education – After you have walked through the first two steps, then go to the education phase. (Poor salespeople tend to jump here first.) Now, teach them about the product instead of “selling” them. But, as I wrote about in So You Seriously Don’t Know, you must be well informed about your product. There shouldn’t be any question they have that you can’t answer.
  • Close – This step is the easiest part of the sale – more of a gentle push than anything. If you’re here and nervous, something’s wrong. Quickly go back over the steps. Otherwise, assume they are ready and present them with the options. Would you like: color, size, quantity, etc.?

Follow these steps and the sale will be yours. Remember, if you get to the close and they don’t buy, you’ve misstepped. Start over. Perseverance will win the day.

Question: What processes do you have in making a sale?

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  • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

    Great post – will share with my team!

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    All those formulas just won’t work if your potential customer (why do I keep wanting to use the word “victim” here??) isn’t interested.
    There is a Texas artist named Jack White who has written numerous articles on selling art. His latest is on reading body language: http://faso.com/fineartviews/33787/read-clients-like-a-book

  • http://theretrospectiveentrepreneur.wordpress.com the retrospective entrepreneur

    My earlier comment explained a selling model I was taught at the beginning of my career that worked very well in consumer markets. However, life I found very different when I moved into industrial / B2B arenas where the time frame could be many years from first to last, with a great number of people making up the DMU. The model for me that best addresses these complex and lengthy negotiation is Neil Rackham’s SPIN – Situation, Problem, Implication, Need, Payoff. Rackham’s model was not theory driven but hard evidence driven based on thousands of observations of the most successful sale people in industrial markets. I have no connection but reading his books as a ‘eureka’ moment for me. Rackham’s business is at http://www.huthwaite.com/. Regards, Tony

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Great stuff Tony! Thanks!

  • http://ginasmom.wordpress.com ginasmom

    Every summer, we have college kids come around the neighbourhood selling all kinds of kids books, some pretty good. We love the library, but we’ll occasionally pick up some of this books. If they catch me at a good time (when i have some time to chitchat and practice some leadership skills:)), i’ll push them to sell to me, by giving them a chance to talk. They all start with references (They must attend the same sales school), which typically will be our neighbours. The logic being;- if our neighbour has bought the book, then 1) It must be a good book. 2) I should trust the sales person. 3) If i don’t buy the book, then i’m missing something. This last one is implied, but it’s easy to read between the lines.

    I counter that whole argument, by saying i have no idea who the neighbour is, and i’m really not interested in what they bought (Doesn’t normally sound that harsh), but reiterate they should sell the books to me, after all i’m giving them the opportunity. If they can show me the value of the book, and show me how relevant it is to my kids (They score a point, by asking about my kids age first) they’ve made a sale. This supports your point about education, and rapport, and i would also add listen. Great post!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I know those guys. They always seem mad when you don’t buy because the neighbor did.

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    This is some good stuff. I wondered what made some sales people successful and others not. I wonder which step do most salesmen drop the ball on?

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I believe qualifying. They usually go straight to educating.

    • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

      I have found that many do not know how to CLOSE – they have all the other qualities – they have a qualified buyer, they get to know them, and they are very educated – but at some point, you have to CLOSE the deal!

      But the other 3 have been issues with my salespeople also – hard to say which one is the least used –

      On education, my husband was going to buy a tractor – an EXPENSIVE tractor – and he literally bought it (his words) “…in spite…” of the salesperson! Who had NO education about the tractor! BUT he also had no rapport – and could have cared less if my husband bought or NOT! But we needed a tractor – and it was a dealership that he trusted – so inspite of the guy “out front” – he still bought the tractor.

  • http://theretrospectiveentrepreneur.wordpress.com the retrospective entrepreneur

    An old favourite I was taught at the beginning of my career was AIDA –
    Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Still works. Regards Tony

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      All musts when selling. Thanks Tony!

    • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

      Love this, Tony! I’m going to make notes on that!