Sales is far from an exact science, but there is ingrained wisdom about how to sell that has circulated for decades. As times change, we must reevaluate what we think we “know.” Some knowledge stands the test of Time, while other long held beliefs reach their expiration date and must be put out to pasture. The time has come to debunk four rules that no longer pass muster.
4 Sales Rules you should be Breaking:
1. Always talk to a decision maker.
The assistant to the Chief not only holds the keys to the castle, but is easier to make contact with. A gatekeeper can frame a meeting in a way that gives a beneficial edge going in. He or she can pique the Boss’ interest, so you walk into a receptive audience.
2. Always be closing.
Sales is about relationships; and relationships thrive on mutual trust and respect. Don’t always be selling, that will come in time, first build a rapport. Ask what the other person needs before jumping in with what they can do for you. A genuine relationship will lead to more than a one-time sale, but to referrals, and a solid network you can count on for years to come. Contrary to the old way of thinking, the balance sheet doesn’t drive your business. People drive business. Trust leads to loyalty, and that results in higher profits in the long run.
3. It all comes down to the Pitch.
While polished pitching skills and thinking quickly on your feet are essential to inspiring confidence and creating a good impression, when it is decision time it’s going to be the solution you provide (by saving money, increasing sales or solving a problem) that is going to drive a change in behavior. The real key to nailing the deal starts before you ever get in front of the potential buyer. Due diligence is often where a sale is made or lost. Did you figure out the hot buttons? Do you know what makes the company tick and are you providing a way to make them more efficient, more profitable, or make their lives easier? It all comes down to the Pitch is out–knowing your customer, what they stand for, what they need, and how to best give it to them–is in.
4. It’s a numbers game.
Targeting your efforts to those interested in what you do and sell is a much more efficient way to spend time your time. Wasting your breath speaking to those who have no interest in your message is futile—and worse, it takes time away from engaging with people who are potential customers. 1 warm, qualified lead beats 20 cold calls any day of the week.
We are far from the days of Glen Gary, Glen Ross. This is a new ball game and new rules apply.