At this week’s Propeller Networking, Alistaire Jama from Kennedy Ross Associates enlightened us on his 6 personal steps to selling: Plan, Reach, Obtain, Connect, Elaborate, Secure.
What makes someone good at sales? Some people have a natural flair; they’re confident and like talking to people. However, for a lot of people – especially small business owners – selling can be a necessary evil.
Rather than just doing what everyone else is doing, setting up a sales process that works for you can take a lot of the dread of selling away. According to Alistaire, what you need is a paradigm shift – changing your world-view so that you no longer see selling as a big scary monster.
Paradigm shifts are filled with uncertainty and self doubt, as anyone who has ever tried CBT can account to. In order to come out the other side unscathed and a better person, it can help to follow a structure. Then, proven success can motivate you to reach out further with your sales using the same technique.
The general theme that runs through Alistaire’s structure is congruence. The technique will only work if the words you use, the tone you speak them in and the body language you present with are aligned. There are different styles of selling based on what kind of personality you have, and trying to adapt a style that “isn’t you” can come across as disingenuous, costing you the sale. As a starting point, it’s worth considering if you’re an Actor, Thinker, Friend or Doer. What about your client?
No matter what type of person you’re talking to, make the conversation about them. You don’t want to sell to someone if the product or service is not right for them.
Plan 3 things
The person. Get to know the person you are targeting. A bit of preamble helps to establish common interest and check whether values are aligned. It shows that you care about the customer as a person rather than a ‘£’ sign.
The Business. If you don’t know who they are, where they are, or what they do, you’re going to make a faux pas. Not only will you come across as uninterested, but there’s no quicker way to drive off a sale than to demonstrate poor research.
The Follow up. Don’t leave a conversation without an agreed next step. If the customer needs more time to think about your product, book a slot in your calendar a week or two down the line to give them a follow up call.
Reach out to others
You can’t wait around for people to come to you, as they’re not looking. Make sure you have a presence where your desired customer will be looking and take a step further – reach out through email, cold calling, direct messages on social media. Take the time to look into the person’s profile and identify a problem that you can offer to help with.
Don’t be afraid to ask others to recommend you either. They might not think to do it themselves, but you might be on the tip of their tongue when they meet someone in need.
Obtain more information
You need to ask a lot of questions. You want to establish what pains them and decide whether what you have can fix their problems. As such, you should be listening more than talking during the first meeting. A good way to get started is to ask them if you can ask a question. It’ll make them pause. Be polite.
Whatever their response, the next thing should be, “What do you want to get out of this conversation?”
Being direct effectively transfers ownership of the conversation to the customer and it is then up to you to meet their standards.
Connect on a personal level
This follows directly on from the above. If you decide your product isn’t right for them, why push it? But, what happens if they don’t change anything? If those pains don’t go away? It’s unlikely to be anything positive.
If you know that you can help solve their problems you now need to tell them about your product/service features. Explain how they work and then sell them on the benefits. Will it give them more free time for their family? Can you make the entire supply chain transparent? Will it bring them the new customers they need?
You’ve already explained the product or service but should ensure there is social capital to back up your claims. Look back at previous clients – have any had similar situations to the client you are talking to? How did you help them? What value did they get out of doing business with you? Paint a picture of what life could be like and if possible, provide them with the testimonials to back up your story.
When establishing a model of success, be sure to include details. It’s detail that will make the story more genuine and real. It’s the detail that makes the difference.
Secure the next steps
You’ve just dumped a load of information into your customer’s lap and they haven’t had time to digest. This is where it’s important to understand what type of person you are dealing with. Actors and Doers might take you up on the offer straight away; Thinkers and Friends… not so much.
If the customer needs more time to consider the deal, give it to them – but make sure you are the next person they talk to. Arrange a follow up appointment and ensure you make good on it. Remember, consistency and congruency are key.
So, what do you think of the six steps? There was a lot of lively discussion at the Networking event and what different people have taken away is interesting. Why don’t you put it to the test and let us know how you get on?