As simple as ABC

23 Nov 2016

A key reason why some sales people fail

Some time ago, I managed a salesman who considered himself to be the best in our business. When he failed, it was the clients that were the problem, never him. If his sales area turnover was down, it was usually the customer wanting a 'better price' or 'had a relative working for the competition' there was always an external reason for the failure.

As his manager I travelled with him on a few calls. After the calls, I could easily see why he failed. He thought it was enough to understand the product and the clients would buy from him because he 'had the gift of the gab!' Simple truth was, he talked too much and didn’t listen.

I was reminded of something a successful sales manager told me when I first started out. It's as simple as ABC.

Be Accurate

As a sales professional, you have to be correct and be certain of your information and facts. This is especially important when it comes to understanding your clients' facts. Many sales people jump to conclusions or prematurely propose unsuitable solutions. 
Ask good, thought-through questions. Ensure you summarise and get agreement before moving to the next step or your solution. Clients are far more confident in your proposal if they feel they have had significant input, and you have understood them. 

Be Brief

This is more challenging than it may appear. Sales people are not paid by the word, so think of ways to reduce the 'fluff' and get to the point of your proposal. 

If you have summarised effectively, your client will be on the same page as you throughout. If there is a gap between client meetings, summarise where you left off the previous meeting at the beginning of the next, to bring the client back to same page.

Remember that people like to hear, see, feel, smell or taste your proposal. (How many time have you bought bread just because you can smell a bakery?) In this example, my salesman was just talking to his client. By combining as many senses as is reasonable, you significantly increase your clients buy-in.

Be Clear

By clearly understanding your clients' needs, and them clearly seeing you have understood those needs, you will already be on a sound platform.
Present your solution with some well chosen words, change the tone of your voice at key points, use images, (a quick diagram sketched out during the meeting is a great means of explaining your idea and gaining clarity by summarising). Think, how did we do things before PowerPoint?

By simplifying the salesman's process and condensing it down to the areas of importance to the client, we managed to create a simple process to ensure the clients confidence in our understanding of their issues. This can only be achieved by good questions and listening to the answers, not asking the questions to gain the answer that the salesperson wants. Which happens all too often.