The Paradox of Sales
"The more you try to sell, the less your client wants to buy."
Most salespeople will probably cringe at that statement. After all, they usually believe in the ABC of selling - Always Be Closing.
But while this can work for one-time transactional sales, this is often ineffective for long-term deals, which often rely on value creation for your clients to generate repeat sales. The more value your client finds in you and in your product or service, the more likely they will keep buying from you and referring you to people they know.
There are a lot of sales frameworks that can help salespeople drive more sales for their business. One of which that I've found very effective lies in the word SALES itself.
The SALES Framework
The 5 Key Attributes of SALES - Sincerity, Affordability, Leadership, Empathy, Simplicity
- Sincerity is the pillar of sales. Hard selling rarely works. What works for sales is a genuine intention of helping people solve their problems. As Tom Hopkins likes to say, "Help people make decisions that are good for them". A sincere effort to help people solve their problems will help highlight your solution to their problem. Have you ever said no to a potential project or sale because you know the current solution you have isn't the perfect fit at the moment? Would you rather have a one-off deal successfully selling your solution than to build credibility and trust with your client for long-term repeat business? Sincerity builds credibility. Credibility builds trust. Trust builds valuable relationships that are essential for repeat sales.
- Affordability is often a misunderstood word in sales. When salespeople say their product or service is affordable, they tend to focus on the price rather than the value their product or service brings. "Price is only ever an issue in the absence of value." This is usually the case for high-value purchases. Affordability has to do more with the value your product or service brings than the price tag attached to it. Of course, this goes without saying that the value proposition in this context is aligned with the perceived value that your client expects to get for the price they are going to pay. Accurately show how your product or service measures up to its price tag and your clients will likely see it as an affordable investment.
- Leadership has nothing to do with what your position is in the company. That's the beauty of leadership in sales. Leadership in this case is more about your level of expertise in helping clients solve their problem. When a VP of sales sits down with the client, what matters more is not the position of the VP of sales but rather her expertise. It is for this reason that you should always be working to improve your expertise and leadership even if you are currently at the bottom of the totem pole in your sales organization.
- Empathy is often overlooked in the sales process. Most salespeople focus too much on their product or service rather than genuinely understanding the client’s challenges. People usually believe a good salesperson is someone who is a good talker and for the most part, this is true. But the best salespeople are exceptional listeners and at the heart of it all is their ability to empathize with their clients that helps them better position their product or service to help solve their clients’ challenges.
- Simplicity is the very soul of sales. This brings everything full circle. When you are genuinely trying to help clients make decisions that are good for them, you do away with all the mumbo jumbo and focus instead on actively listening to your clients talk about their challenges and showing them how your product or service solves their problem, thereby highlighting the value your product or service brings. Sales is usually a complicated and confusing process. What better way to set yourself head and shoulders above your competitors than by offering a no-nonsense way of helping them solve their problem and with their best interest at heart?
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This post was originally posted on Medium on 10th July, 2017.