Principles of Selling

Principles of Selling

In this lesson, you’re expected to learn:
– the basic principles that you need to know as a salesperson
– some commonly used sales methodologies

Whether you run your own business or work for a company in a sales-related role, you need to hone your selling skills.

One of the simplest ways to improve your selling skills is to observe a successful sales person in action. Ask an experienced sales person to mentor you if you’re new to the field or attend seminars hosted by sales experts.

Below are some basic facts about selling that you should know:

1) Selling is 60 percent listening and 40 percent talking.

When you’re having a conversation with a customer, your main goal is always to figure out how (and whether) you can help that customer.

2) A sales message consists of two elements.

– why your customer should hire you or buy your product
– why you do what you do better than anyone else

If you can’t get your sales message down to these two short sentences, you’re not selling.

3) Customers care about their business, not about you.

Every sales conversation should take place from the customer’s perspective rather than from your perspective. It’s never “my product is great.” It’s always “here’s how I can help.”

4) Your reputation always precedes you.

In today’s hyper connected world, you can assume that anyone who might possibly buy anything from you knows exactly who you are.

5) Selling is all about relationship-building.

Contrary to much of the foolishness that gets passed around as “sales wisdom,” customers will only buy from you if they trust, respect, and like you.

[Optional] The 5 Irrefutable Principles of Selling
Check out this link to learn more:
Basics of Sales
It’s About Them, Not You

Before communicating the benefits of your product or services, talking about ROI or presenting social proof, remember this: People (buyers) don’t care about you, how much success you’ve achieved or even what you have to sell.

People care about themselves. Which is why it’s important to develop a buyer persona and understand how to appeal to that persona.

Perhaps there are several buyer personas tied to several products/services of the business but its important to get common denominators right.

Hubspot, marketing automation platform and forward thinking knowledge hub for all things inbound marketing and sales gives this definition of a buyer persona.
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A real sample of a Buyer Persona can look something like this:
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Whether it’s a first call or a cold email, consider these two scenarios:

Hello, my name is Stacy and I work for a digital marketing agency offering services…

Hello, Jim, we notice that many businesses in your industry do not have proper digital representation, thus missing out on a chance to capture more sales with the right strategy…

Which one seems like a better approach?
1) Presenting Value

Presenting value and communicating benefits is the core of a successful salesperson. Quite often salespeople have to offer ‘change’ to a client to consider and the following diagram is what usually transpires.
In order to present value, make sure you’ve laid out the groundwork by asking the right questions and getting to the ‘why’ first. Don’t stop after the first ‘why’ is answered. But more on that later in the course.
2) Showing Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful way to show credibility of your business and communicate value. Many companies create bite-sized chunks of content from their client success stories while leveraging the names of brands that trusted them with their business.

You can either create a list of quotes, put together case studies or simply mention how big name clients are using your product/service in order to further communicate the benefit of doing business with your company.

3) Building Credibility

Trust is a critical ingredient in sales; no one buys from a sales rep they don’t trust. So how do you establish trust in a world of mistrust and skeptics? You need to start by focusing on your credibility.

Of the five elements which are essential to building genuine trust (character, competence, confidence, credibility, and congruence), a Persuasion Institute poll found that 44% of respondents said credibility was most important – yet it was established only 11% of the time.

Some of the basics of establishing credibility are looking polished and professional, maintaining eye contact, and being prepared for a sales pitch however, they’re not guaranteed to instill trust.

4) Disqualifying Prospects

Many salespeople are against disqualifying prospects as it shrinks their pipelines. The natural instinct is trying to work as many leads as possible, but this isn’t the best approach. The quality of your leads matter more than the quantity. Less is more.

As a salesperson, your most precious asset is your time, and it’s far better to spend it on a few of your best prospects rather than targeting dozens of leads.

Challenging to Close

During the 2008 recession, CEB Group conducted research and discovered that there is one type of effective salesperson that continuously outperforms: the challenger.

The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson, is one of the most revolutionary books to come out on the subject.

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[Optional] The Challenger Sale
Watch this 1-minute video to learn more.
If you’d like to watch this video later, you can find the link in the Additional Material section.
Link to the video:
The Challenger Sale Cheat Sheet
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Sales Methodologies
More of a communication skill than an actual sales methodology, SPIN Selling has nevertheless established itself as a standard in sales trainings since first being released in 1989 (the book by Neil Rackham is a must-read for any sales professional).

SPIN selling trains reps to develop a question-based, customer-centric approach that uncovers needs, establishes trust, and enables the customer to arrive at a solution that’s aligned with your offering.

It’s extremely practical, simple to implement and can help you discover what’s really going on within an account through it’s approach of: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff.

Target-based Selling

Target Account Selling is another go-to standard that’s been used by thousands of sales reps. TAS does a great job of breaking down large deals into their key components and establishing an opportunity plan that guides you through the entire sales cycle.

Where it really stands out is in its ability to factor in an account’s political landscape (which, in many deals, is a make-or-break factor), and its emphasis on on-the-job coaching.

Buyers are now 57% of the way toward a buying decision when they first make contactwith a salesperson. *

Salespeople have no control in this situation … unless they figure out how to add value to the prospect’s decision making process.

* According to a study by CEB
Predictable Revenue

While at, Aaron Ross saw that further role specialization was needed in the sales profession. Ross saw certain inefficiencies: Account Executives/Closers spending disproportionate amounts of time prospecting for leads instead of closing new business. This insight was followed by the creation of the additional specialized sales role:
the Sales Development Rep (SDR).

The three key components of this sales process (Lead Generation, Closing, and Account Management) each have one specialized rep focusing on that part of the process. Aaron moved the sales profession forward by helping us understand that sales growth comes from qualified lead growth. And qualified lead growth comes from a Sales Development Rep 100% focused on finding and qualifying leads.

Predictable Revenue Formula

There are only three things you need to know to generate predictable revenue for your business:

1) Sticky product/service: Your products that generate the highest revenue potential with the highest likelihood of closing.

2) Pipeline: A scalable process for converting prospects into clients.

3) Time: How long it takes to convert a prospect into a client.

Sandler Selling

The Sandler Selling System is one of the most effective out there. Their concept is just as solid today as it was thirty years ago, when it was developed by David H. Sandler.

The Sandler System is based entirely on people, with a focus on understanding human dynamics and buying behavior rather than standard sales processes and formulas.

The biggest strength of this system is the emphasis on continuous on-the-job coaching that constantly reinforces and supports lasting behavioral changes.

[Optional] The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them
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