“Nothing happens until someone sells something.” This blog is part of an ongoing series of blogs featuring the TARGET Marketing Framework. You can get our TARGET Marketing Playbook for FREE here.
While this quote has been attributed to several people (including Peter Drucker and Thomas Watson), the person who said it first is not as important as the message. No organization can succeed without sales.
Sales is not a dirty word.
Let’s start by breaking down some misconceptions. We have all seen the sleazy salesperson that is portrayed on TV and in the movies. This person doesn’t care about you or your needs. They just want to “get you into this car!”
While there are certainly people like that in the sales profession, that is the exception…not the rule. We need to break the stereotype because it’s chasing people away from the profession. And if “nothing happens until someone sells something,” then we need great people in sales.
The Latin term for sales references “serving.” This is a definition I can get behind. Let’s move away from the idea of manipulation, and step into the idea of helping someone get what they need. The best sales professionals I know generally listen (and care) about the people that they want to serve. They are experts in their fields and can confidently make recommendations that are in the best interest of their customers and prospects.
This is the kind of salesperson I want to be.
Recently, my wife and I went to a local tractor store to look for zero-turn mowers. I have a lot of grass to mow, and I wanted to find something that could help me speed up the process. I had done some research online and found a zero-turn model that had a steering wheel. Since I had never used a zero-turn mower, this appealed to me. So, we went to the store to see them in person and learn more.
The salesperson came out and we discussed the problem I was trying to solve. He asked several questions about what we wanted and gave us some information.
Then he said, “How much are you mowing?”
When I told him I was mowing at least 10 acres, he said “Oh…then that’s not the mower you need. You will burn that up in 18 months.”
Then he guided me to a mower that would better fit my needs. It was still a zero-turn, and it still had a steering wheel. That is the one I bought…and I am very happy with the purchase.
He listened to the problem I was trying to solve, and then made recommendations based on that need.
I didn’t feel sold. I felt served.
Everyone Is in Sales
Sales is not just a department. Don’t get me wrong. There are probably people in your organization that are on your sales team.
These are the people who might be responsible for proactively going out and making offers to your customers and prospects. Or maybe these are the folks who actively take the incoming calls to sell to your audience.
But make no mistake…we are all in sales.
Let’s take a car dealership, for example. Yes, there are commissioned sales team members. But once they have helped you find the car of your dreams, there are so many more people you will interact with. If the finance guy or gal is grumpy, that affects the whole experience. If you call in and struggle to get the service team to take care of you, you will be frustrated. Or maybe it’s as simple as how they answer the phone. All of those interactions color the customer experience. All of those people are in sales, whether they know it or not.
Don’t Try to Sell Those That Don’t Want What You Sell
This is a hot take that often raises eyebrows. But I have no interest in trying to convince people who absolutely don’t want my product or service. There are just way too many people that will. I see so many people trying to convince the inconvincible. This is not only frustrating for this prospect, but it’s a total waste of your energy. Now to clarify, if there are some objections to overcome…that’s different. There are often times in a transaction that you will need to work through some details. That is not the time to walk away.
On the contrary, I believe in walking away on the front end. You read that right.
When I run into a complete non-believer in marketing, I am not going to waste my time trying to convince them that social media can be a great tool. They will never believe it. And to be honest, by the end of the conversation, they will just frustrate me by being obtuse. There are just too many prospects that believe in what I am selling to waste my time.
Make The Offer
Now that we have established that sales is vital, no marketing plan would be complete without sales being a part of it.
This is a place where people sometimes get hung up…and I think it’s about clarity. You want to make a compelling offer that serves that perfect customer. That kind of offer addresses a pain point that prospect has and (hopefully) solves it.
Now just make the offer.
Too many inexperienced salespeople, entrepreneurs, or marketers want to get clever here. They want to soften “the ask.” I find that this is just insecurity. Just push through and be clear with what you are selling.
As Donald Miller (author of Building Your Storybrand) says, “When you confuse you lose.” Make the offer.
The Fortune is in the Follow-up.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up. Now that you have made the offer, you will find that some people are just not ready right then. Don’t take it personally.
Unfortunately, rejection is a part of the job.
But remember, often it’s not “no.” It’s “not now.”
When prospects or customers say “not now” to me I am diligent in my follow-up. Studies will tell you that it often takes 13 touches before a prospect turns into a customer. And yet, the average salesperson only follows up once. If you continue to follow up, you will stand out and often get the business.
My rule is simple. You have to tell me “No.” Sounds simple, right?
The thing is a lot of people don’t want to tell you no. They want to be nice and hope you will give up.
But remember this. Nos are fine. Yeses are great. Maybe’s will kill you.
Once you have made your offer, stay with that prospect until you hear yes or no.
It’s simple. But not easy.
Want to dig deeper into this? You should check out our TARGET Marketing Playbook here for free. We break down what makes up a great marketing plan and how you can implement it. And you can check out the entire book on the subject. “Hit The TARGET” is a parable that outlines how to take all of these tactics and implement them in real life. Learn more here.