The 3 Ps of selling will help you meet the challenges we face in the sales process. Some of these challenges are: trying to penetrate a new account; the complexities of dealing with many decision makers (all who have the power to say no); and dealing with customers who are satisfied with their current supplier. If selling were easy, everyone could do it!
Planning. As salespeople, we need to balance our customer’s needs while addressing our own. One of our needs is to simplify the selling process. We accomplish this by improving our efficiency. Efficiency is defined as reaching our customer in the most cost-effective manner. We need to determine systematically who gets our time and how much of it they get. Some customers need more attention than others to move the sales process forward. Other customers, because of their contribution to profitability or other criteria, deserve more of our time. We must always decide how to maximize our efficiency and reach our sales goals. Is a telephone call the most efficient way to handle business? Is a personal sales call required? Selling requires continual customer management and planning places us on the path that leads to success.
Patience. Patience is knowing when creating a sense of urgency for your customer to buy is appropriate and when it is not. Don’t forget there are different types of customers. Buying influencers (Economic Buyers, Technical Buyers, Coaches or Users) demonstrate different behaviors. We must accommodate the customer who is less assertive. He needs more time to get comfortable with a decision to buy and the related risks. It is legitimate strategy to accept a customer saying, “I need to think about this” if you decide this is a valid need for your customer. Your customer will appreciate your patience. Taking longer and getting the sale is always better than losing it by being impatient.
Personality. Selling is not and should not be a one size fits all profession. We all have our unique interpretation of how to approach selling. We meet the needs of our customers differently. Our personalities are part of what our customers are buying. Don’t check your personality at the door! If all the suppliers are technically competent, how will your customer decide with whom to work? Some customers want to know more about you so they can personalize their business dealings. Your customers make decisions based on how they feel about you.
Continue using your personality as a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. Create uniqueness about your service. Your personality style could be your attention to detail, your promptness returning calls, your memory for customer preferences or your knowledge about your customers’ businesses. Emphasize the strengths of your personality style.
Selling is a job that includes many challenges, both intellectual and emotional. With planning, patience and personality we can face these challenges. We can continue and improve our successful selling.
Reprinted with permission from Strategic Selling. Copyright Maura Schreier-Fleming