I can teach you seventeen ways to close a sale.
I know a great technique for answering objections. Several, in fact. But guess what? All of those wonderful sales techniques will have little to do with whether you’ll find real success in sales. In fact, many of them may actually hurt your sales effectiveness.
Take closing. It’s a skill featured in most sales training programs. But strong closing techniques may cost you more sales than they create. And yet lines like “Close early and close often” and “ABC . . . Always be closing” are still so frequently used you’d think they are essential. To me, they describe selling that’s seen as winning, as getting the customer’s money. I hate that kind of selling. That kind of selling doesn’t work. It absolutely won’t bring you any real job satisfaction. And yet we still see people trying those approaches all the time. It’s sad.
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Let’s face it. There are lots of negative perceptions about salespeople. Most are caused by people who were being “sold” bysalespeople who believed all that “stuff.” How many of us have had an experience with a “close early and close often” salesperson who made us feel like we needed a shower afterward? I can think of hundreds as I write this, and I am sure you can as well.
The simple truth? Much of what we sales trainers have taught for years simply doesn’t work. Or better put, it has limited impact in today’s sales environment. What does work? That’s what you’ll discover in the pages of this book.
Make no mistake. This is a sales book. It’s a book about achieving greater success and, yes, making more money in sales. It’s not an accident that the first word in the title of this book is “selling.” This is a book about selling. But it is about selling in a very different way.
For the last thirty years, I have been given an incredible gift. I have had the privilege of training and working with thousands of salespeople. I am guessing over twenty thousand salespeople have come through the training programs our company presents. I led most of those programs.
These folks were supposed to learn from me. But as it turned out, I was the student. The real stars I’ve met became my teachers. What I have discovered is that these superstars come from a different place than most. Yes, they had drive. Huge amounts of drive. But their drive wasn’t to just make a sale. Their drive was to make a difference in the lives of their customers. And they were totally convinced that when they did make a difference, they would be rewarded with huge success.
I came to believe that the drive to make a difference changed them. It led them to do business in ways that were not at all like most other salespeople. They had a way of working with customers that created massive amounts of differentiation. And yet, differentiation wasn’t really their goal. But did it have impact. The biggest benefit? A huge percentage of repeat business that meant they didn’t have to start over every quarter. These sellers developed lots of base business that stayed with them month after month and year after year.
When I started working on this book, I wanted to expand my research beyond the media industry in which I had spent most of my career. To do that, I’ve spent much of this last year interviewing some very successful salespeople in dozens of different industries. And guess what? These successful sellers have that same commitment to customers as the superstars in the media business. That commitment is way beyond being “customer focused.” As one of these sellers told me, “I work for them. I want them to see me as someone who is a member of their team.” They are putting the customer’s needs in front of their own needs.
It works! It works so well that the success of some of the people you will meet in this book seems staggering. Consider these sellers:
• An RV salesperson who probably does more dollar volume per year than anyone in the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure he personally sells more in dollar volume than 90 percent of the RV dealerships in America.
• A mortgage broker is considered a top performer if they do five to six closed mortgages per month. You’ll meet someone who does six hundred each year. Ten times the volume of the top 5 percent producer.
• A management consultant who routinely sold six- and seven-figure consulting deals to major companies when she was still in her twenties.
And so many more.
I have been inspired by the salespeople I have met putting together this book.
They are my newest teachers. I took what I learned from these teachers and combined that with the lessons from my own sales journey. They give us a road map. A road map with specific things you can do to serve your customers more effectively and have your customers quickly notice the difference. The ten lessons in this book turn what I have learned from these smart teachers into things you can immediately do to become more successful.
My goal as I write this book is to have you come to believe that trusting your instincts to serve can produce massive results and that, as you change your selling approach to embrace that desire to serve, you’ll find huge success. I call this way of selling “Selling with a Servant Heart.” And when you sell like these teachers do, you will find more success than you could ever imagine.
And your sales job will bring you a lot more joy.