I’m not sure whether Bob was asking me for my sales tips — or FC Now readers in general — but I’m going to give this more thought: What have I learned about sales?
For now, I’m going to take a page — or two — from Gray Matters and move on with my daily reading. In chapter 9, the authors address the concept of qualifying, or identifying your most likely buyers. The subheads say a lot:
- All prospects are not equal. Some are more likely to buy than others.
- The best way to identify buyers is to ask questions.
- The better you understand what your customer wants, the better able you will be to give it to him or her — or to know that you can’t.
- Win-win sales are the strongest sales.
The copy’n clip Qualifying Funnel on p. 127 is one way to approach this. Rick moves along a trajectory from all companies that will ever buy a gadget to customers that accept his company’s pricing and terms. Macro to micro.
But I think it’s chapter 13 that gets to the heart of things. That section opens with the quote, “People don’t buy products or services. They buy other people.” I think that’s largely true, but I also think that that works in more than one way.
The traditional way to think about that idea is to focus on your salespeople. Customers buy your salespeople, who happen to sell products and services. But a more interesting way to consider that is to think about how much your products and services actually reflect the ideas, ideals, and insights of your employees and leaders.
Does your company’s activities reflect a personality — the personalities of the people building the company? Or is your organization’s offerings largely personality free? Do you sell Ivory soap — or Blue Q‘s Dirty Girl bath wash? (Another interesting way to consider that question is: Do you buy the products and services your company provides? And what does that mean?)