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Finding new customers is much harder than selling to existing customers. Look at any successful company and the chances are that a major proportion of their sales will come from existing customers. They may not necessarily be selling the same thing all the time but they are still selling more to the same customers.
Imagine you are making a major purchase and you have to choose between three potential suppliers who have similar offerings. One supplier is a major brand. The second is not a major brand but you have already worked with them and you have been very happy with their work. The third supplier is also not a major and you have only discovered them recently following a cold call and subsequent meeting.
If you had an unresolved problem for which you wanted a solution, would you rather speak to someone who is a specialist in solving such problems or a generalist? All things being equal, even if we had a great relationship with an existing generalist supplier, we might prefer to talk to a specialist.
There are two ways of looking at what you sell. You can focus on the individual products and services or you can focus on the problems you solve. The most common approach is to have a product centric focus. There is no doubt that a product centric approach can produce sales – especially where there is an established market with educated buyers. What happens, though, is that the person selling will often miss out on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Selling solutions sounds the harder option but is actually easier to do and it normally leads to larger sales.
There is nothing more natural than stories. From a very early age we are exposed to stories. When we talk to friends and family we share stories. It may surprise you to discover that one of the secrets of top sales people is storytelling. We are not talking fairy stories but anecdotes of experiences with customers.
You have an important decision to make. You have to choose between three suppliers. Each have similar offerings. One came from a cold call, another you discovered by searching the internet, and the last was recommended by someone you trust.
Most people could sell a house but what if you had to sell a house every single day? What if you had several sales people who each needed to sell a house every day?
So many businesses approach sales in an unstructured way. They may get away with it where its just the owner doing the selling, but as they take on sales people the lack of a sales process means that they are not delegating sales – they are abdicating it!
Over the many years I have been helping the owners of small businesses to turn their sales fortunes around, it never ceases to amaze me how many already knew, deep down, what the answer was.
They are too busy following their head to listen to their gut. When I come along and tell them what they already know deep down, they have the confidence to act. I recognise this behaviour because I have been there many times before I learnt to trust my gut instincts.
Most of us get stressed from time to time – especially when our sales activity is not going as planned. Ivor Murray from MeditationsUK has provided some tips to help us not only manage stress but kick it into touch…..
Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.
There is a coaching model that is very effective for coaching others but can actually be used to coach yourself if you are stuck with your sales and looking for a way forward. It’s called the GROW model and within the corporate environment it is often used to teach managers the basics of coaching.
The GROW model was developed in the UK by Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore. I was actually trained by Sir John Whitmore in the GROW model back in 1993. He demonstrated by coaching someone to improve their golf swing even though he was not a golf player himself.