A smart salesperson never thinks of selling as a battle or of customers as enemies to be beaten. It’s possible to get an order by tricking or pressurizing your customers into signing, but when you do that you are making them lose, that is, allowing yourself to win at their expense. This is an extremely short sighted strategy. A customer whom you’ve beaten in this way will get out, get even or do both. In the short run, you may not care. But in terms of the long range management of that customer’s account, you’ll be kidding yourself even more than you’ve kidded the customer: an order that you get by beating the buyer nearly always turns out to be business that you wish you hadn’t sold. In strategic selling we look beyond the individual order. Concentrate on the account, and help you to develop ever widening networks of quality sales and new prospects.
I make the assumption that, as a sales professional, you’re interested not only in the order, but also in:
- Satisfied customers,
- Long term relationships;
- Repeat business;
- Good referrals,
The only way to ensure that you’ll get these things – the only way to keep every one of your accounts productive over time is to approach every one of your buying influences as a potential partner in your success rather than an adversary to be overcome. It’s to concentrate on developing win-win outcomes:
There are four possible outcomes to every buy-sell encounter:
In the first, or Win-win scenario, both you and the buyer ‘win’. That is, you both come out of the sale feeling satisfied, knowing that neither of you has taken advantage of the other and that both of you have profited personally and professionally from the transaction.
In the second, or Win-Lose scenario you win at the buyer’s expense. You feel good about the sale, but he or she is already looking for revenge or at least how to avoid you and your company in the future.
In the third, or Lose Win scenario you allow the buyer to win at your expense by buying the business. You provide a special discount or free time or other services in hope of a return favour in the future. Often, it never comes.
In the final, or Lose-Lose scenario both you and the buyer lose. Even though you get the order, neither of you feels good about the sale.
Of these scenarios only one brings you the long term success that you want. That is the Win-Win partnership scenario. But you cannot achieve that scenario just with good intentions. Unless they’re actively managed into a Win-Win outcome, both Win-Lose and Lose-Win ultimately and inevitably degenerates into lose-lose.
To be able to manage all of your sales into the Win-Win scenario, you have to go beyond the conventional wisdom about why people buy. Many sales training programmes act on the premise that the people buy when you demonstrate to them that you can meet their immediate business needs. Such programmes are product oriented. The trainers who use them pack sales representatives heads full of data about the features and benefits of the product, and then send them out to collect orders from people who can’t help but be impressed with the product’s advantages.
Of course you need sound product knowledge, but to a sales professional that’s not enough because the reason that people really buy is only indirectly related to product or service performance. For that reason we don’t focus on the product. Instead, we show you how to use your product knowledge to hook up to your buying influences personal reasons for buying. You can’t just meet their business needs. You have to serve their individual subjective needs as well. You do that by giving them what we call win-results.
A result as we define it, is the impact that your product or service can have on the buyer’s business processes. The product oriented salesperson sells results alone.
A win is a less widely recognized but equally important, factor in buying psychology. It’s a personal gain that satisfies an individual buyer’s perceived self-interest.
A win- result, finally is a result that gives one of your individual buying influences a win. Win-results are the real reason that people buy. I show you how to determine them, how to draft a win-result statement for each buying influence, and why delivering win results consistently is fundamental to your success.
Every sales representative you know, no matter how successful, has up to 35 per cent poor prospects working at any given moment – prospects that will be impossible to close or, if they’re closed, will eventually become liabilities. That may seem like a surprisingly high percentage but just think of how many times since you began selling you’ve heard someone say, I wish I’d never closed that order. Think of how many times you’ve said it to yourself.
Salesperson end up regretting orders for a simple reason. Somewhere during the sales cycle, they allowed themselves to be seduced by the old adage. Any sale is good sale, They allowed themselves to believe that it’s quantity, not quality, that counts and so they ended up selling to a customer with a poor or non-existent match to their product or service.