Often sales people are hungry for the order and will do almost anything to get it. It’s the drive and desire to win that keeps them going and keeps business alive. So how can you sell more, keep that drive and be successful?
To often inexperienced sales people get in to the fight. The fight against competition is one you simply don’t want to get yourself in to. This is where you will lose most of your potential orders. It’s the sales person who listens carefully to the customer and offers what they want, not what the competition is. I just had a conversation with an experienced international sales manager. He explained to me how he ‘stole’ an order from the competition. He won this order by keeping in touch with the customer daily. He would offer a solution; the competitor would match it and up the ante. He would return the folly and do the same. This went back and fourth for a few weeks. Included in all this were lengthy and expensive trips to the customer’s location. The order was won because the competitor was flying back on a Friday when our salesman pushed the customer to buy. It was shear luck that got the order. Although the salesman may disagree it was just play luck. If the roles were reversed and he was flying back they would have won.
So what can you learn from selling apples?
Well in the story above both companies were selling apples, they kept on changing slightly the type of apple. So what should have been done? From the outset you must separate yourself from the competitor. You must make a wide enough difference that the customer doesn’t see you as the same. Now you are selling a basket of fruit and the competitor is selling apples. I’m not suggesting you selling everything under the sun but rather you sell what the customer wants. It’s at this point where the customer buys in to your solution. Too often sales people see only the fight against the competition rather then the order with the customer. Oh, by the way, the order above was for $1 million dollars, not a small deal.
So next time you’re in the fight remember to listen first then react.