The secret to successful selling

If you want to sell, you need to get busy, says Peter Foy

Google “Sales Training” and you get more than 2.7 billion results. Google “Business Ethics Training”, by contrast, and you get fewer than 280 million results. My conclusion? Everyone wants to learn how to sell, so let me chip in with my three pennies’ worth.

Find a method

A friend recently asked me to recommend a training programme for her salesforce. Without hesitation I suggested she had a look at Sandler Training. Over the past 40 years I have experienced innumerable training programmes and methodologies designed to help people get better at sales. Sandler is the one I rate most highly.

I was taken through the programme, nearly 30 years ago, by an inspirational teacher, Dave Mattson. One of the lasting lessons I took from the training was that a successful salesperson understands how a client’s mind works.

To get inside the head of your client, ask questions like these:

  • Are they predisposed to keeping with the status quo or would they prefer to have something completely new?
  • How do they like to receive information? Are they Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic in their preferences? Understand this and you can tailor the information you provide to be as appealing as possible

As you can see, there is a lot of psychology in this approach. It’s about understanding what makes people tick and paying close attention to the person in front of you.

Buy now, think later

One of the central beliefs of Sandler is this: “People make buying decisions emotionally then justify them logically.”  

In other words, if you control the emotional side of a buying decision, you win the deal every time.

This all seems blindingly obvious, and it is true that a lot of the psychology behind the approach would now be regarded as an example of “neuromyth”. But I still think there’s something in what Dave Mattson taught me about selling: it’s about understanding humans and their behaviour.

Know thyself

Crucially, it is now my belief that the person you need to understand is not the client. It’s you, the seller.

Successful sales people don’t just enact a methodology they lifted from a training manual 30 years ago. They find an approach that works for them and their clients. Then they follow it, time and again.

At the heart of it all – and it’s pretty simple, really – is this: successful sales come from using every hour of the day to make sales, every minute of the hour and every second of the minute. Selling is like any other profession: the more effort you put in the more you get out.

“Success only comes before work in the dictionary” may be a hoary old cliché, but it happens to be true. In the same way that writers write and cooks cook, successful sales people sell. And they don’t stop selling until they’ve smashed their targets.

A thought experiment

Let’s imagine I put two new consultants on one of our desks at Just Recruitment. We’re a fast-moving business whose people work hard to keep clients and candidates happy.

Assume my new consultants – we’ll call them Bert and Bertha – are of equal talent and intellectual acuity. So what will differentiate them is their behaviour: more specifically, the extent which they apply themselves to the task at hand.

Day one for Bert and Bertha goes like this:

  • Bert makes 10 contact calls and Bertha makes 20
  • Bert leaves the office at close of play. Bertha leaves when her to-do list is completed
  • Bert makes sure he hits his daily KPIs. Bertha always exceeds them
  • Bert communicates solely via email, but Bertha uses the phone and makes regular client visits

In each case, Bertha’s greater drive, her hunger and willingness to go the extra mile, will make the difference between success and failure. No one is born to sell: it’s just a matter of forming the right dispositions and paying attention to the people you deal with.

So that’s it. The secret to successful selling: application, behaviour, hard work.

Simple, isn’t it?

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you liked this article you may like to read – Ten of the most common “neuromyths”

You may also like to read – The knowledge: find out what you stand for


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