Amp Up Your Sales

Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions

 Amp Up Your Sales

Author: Andy Paul
Pub Date: November 2014
Print Edition: $17.95
Print ISBN: 9780814434871
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814434888

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

What Is Selling?

THE MOST PRECISE definition of selling I’ve ever seen is from Jeff

Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO. In an interview with the Harvard

Business Review (January–February 2013), Bezos said, “We don’t make

money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers

make a purchase decision.”

What is your role as a seller? To be more precise, what is your primary

role as a salesperson in relation to your prospects and customers? Every

day, when you’re confronted with the importance of effectively interacting

with your customers, what mental image do you have of the primary task

you’re supposed to be accomplishing? Are you conscious of the role you’re

playing in the overall sales process?

Here’s the central challenge for salespeople today: You operate in a fastpaced,

information-driven, crazy-busy, increasingly competitive and interconnected

economy. As a result, you have fewer opportunities to meaningfully

engage with your prospects and customers before they make their purchase

decisions. This means you have to be more prepared than ever to provide

maximum value to your prospects during each precious interaction in the

selling/buying process.

Understanding selling is one of the core building blocks to increasing

your sales performance. It would be so easy to lightly skip past this step

and say to yourself:

“Of course, I know what selling is.”

Really? What is selling?

“Giving something to someone in exchange for money.”

Giving what?

“A product. Or a service.”

Why are you giving this to them?

“Because they asked for it.”

They just asked for your product or service, with no other questions?

“Well, sure, they had lots of questions.”

And . . .?

“Lots of questions. Way too many questions.”

Did you answer their questions?

“Of course, we did.”

Did you get their order?

“Of course we did.”

Could you have won the order without answering your customer’s

questions?

“No.”

So what is selling?

At its most fundamental level, selling is simply an exchange of information

between the buyer and you, the seller. Selling is the process by which

customers provide you with information about their requirements, and, in

return, you provide them the necessary and relevant information about your

products and services that enables them to make a buying decision. The key

to consistent sales success resides in the process you execute to gather and

provide the necessary information the prospect requires to make a decision.

The simplest way for you to understand the nature of selling is to

remember that it has only two parts: questions and answers. Your

customer has requirements and questions. Selling is how you ask your

questions and how you provide the answers to your customer’s questions.

Those questions and answers will have the most decisive impact on your

ability to win the customer’s business.

If you noticed, I highlighted the word how in the last paragraph. In

fact, I am highlighting how throughout the rest of this chapter to make

certain that you clearly grasp and internalize this most important point

about selling:

How you sell is more important than what you sell.

How you provide information to your customers to help them make a

decision will be more a decisive factor in winning the business than your

product’s features and benefits.

Here’s why: In a world where the unending cycle of technological innovation

and rapid globalization have dramatically reduced the barriers to

entry into new markets, it’s little surprise that the number of competitors

in nearly every category of product and service has exploded over the past

10 to 15 years. Combined with the growth and power of the Internet that

provides an often bewildering trove of information about all the competitors

to interested prospects, it’s little wonder that, in the eyes of buyers, all

suppliers seeking their business begin to look alike. The challenge for you

is to create meaningful differentiation that enables you to stand apart from

your competitors and to make it easier and faster for your prospects to

make an informed purchase decisions.

You’ll want to highlight the following sentence with a yellow marker so

that you can come back and review it time and again: Sustainable, repeatable

sales success is less about what you sell and more about how you sell. In

this case, how is not about style but about substance: how you follow up

sales leads, how you ask the questions that define the customer’s requirements,

how responsive you are to customer requests, how quickly and

completely you provide information and answers to your prospects.

This means that you have to maintain a laser focus on how you can be

completely responsive to a prospect or customer’s requirements for information.

A standard question salespeople are told to ask themselves is, “What

am I doing right now that is getting me closer to an order?” On the surface

it would seem to be a good question to ask. It puts the focus on the now and

places the priority on action. Unfortunately, it’s also completely backward. It

has the focus on the order rather than on the customer. One is the cart. The

other is the horse. It’s important that you understand which is which.

If the primary method by which you can differentiate yourself, your

offering, and your company is how you provide the value and information

that supports your customer’s efforts to make a purchase decision, then

the order will follow. An order is merely the outcome of selling, not the act

of selling itself. Therefore, the most important question all salespeople

should be asking themselves is, “What am I doing right now that is helping

my customer to make a purchase decision?”

I call this necessary focus on how you sell the good news/bad news

conundrum. Let’s start with the good news: Your success in selling today is

primarily based on how you sell, not what you sell. Just think how

liberating that is for you. When your ultimate success in sales is based on

how you sell, it means that all the tools you need to win are under your

direct control. Now it’s up to you how you provide the information that

helps your customers make a purchase decision, from the moment you

respond to a new lead to the moment you receive an order. This focus on

how eliminates nearly all the external dependencies that hampered your

selling in the past. This not just good news. This is great news!

Now the bad news: Your success in selling today is primarily based on

how you sell, not what you sell. That sounds just like the good news, right?

As I’ve mentioned, when the products and services of all sellers increasingly

look alike to customers, how you sell is more important than what you sell.

This puts you into what I call the No Excuses Sales Zone. If your success

depends on how you sell, and the how of how you sell is completely under

your control, then you have No Excuses for not achieving your sales goals.

You can’t point the finger at the lack of this feature or that benefit and say

that it’s holding you back. The how is up to you, and you have no excuses

for not using it to your competitive advantage.

I’ve worked with thousands of salespeople over the decades of my

career. Almost every one of them was sincere in their desire to become

successful in all phases of their chosen profession. Yet nearly all of them

lacked a clear vision and detailed understanding of what their sales role

entailed. By understanding what selling really is, as well as the importance

of how, you possess the foundation to build the skills necessary to take

your sales to the next level.

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