Is Selling a Talent, A Skill, or a Process?By: Robert Middleton
Sales is all of the above. And if you're going to be successful in your small business you've got to first understand sales and then master it.
First of all, there are many misconceptions about sales. Sales is about deception. Sales means being pushy. Sales is manipulation. And if you believe these you're going to have a very hard time.
How about a change of belief? Sales is about honesty. Sales is about listening. Sales is about helping. If you start to think of sales in this way it will be a lot easier for you. After all, don't you want to be an honest, listening, helping salesperson for your services? The good news is that excellent salespeople are exactly this way!
So lets take the ideas in the title one at a time... Sales as a Talent. You are actually a born salesperson who lost the talent as you matured. It used to be easy to ask for things and to "make your case." But you got "professional" and stopped doing what was natural. So don't worry about talent. Just learn the skills and the process.
Learn some basic Sales Skills and all the talent will come back to you naturally. The key sales skills? Simple. Listening for what people want and need. Asking questions to find out more. Presenting what you have in terms of both features and benefits. Answering objections and questions with logical arguments...
And finally, simply asking your prospect to take action. Yes, it takes time and practice to master these basic skills, but the truth is, they are at the heart of all selling.
How about Sales as a Process? To me this is the most interesting part of selling and often the most important. Selling, especially for high-end products and services is a multi-step process that can take quite a long time. It is not a one call proposition.
So for your particular situation you need to map out the process from A to Z before anything else. For instance, here's my sales process for selling marketing consulting services to a larger client.
This guiding of the sales process is NOT manipulation in the traditional sense, but it IS control. And believe it or not, prospects like to work with someone who is in control, who knows where they're going, who knows what do do next.
So yes, sales is a Talent, a Skill and a Process. But perhaps understanding the process is the most important. If you do, you are likely to close a great many more sales.
© Copyright 2000, Robert Middleton
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