Sales Person Or Sales Professional?

What is your sales philosophy?  I was talking with Ken, a friend and business associate, yesterday and we had a conversation about the difference between a sales person and a sales professional.  On the surface you may think there is no difference, but the difference is in their philosophy.

A philosophy is a system of beliefs, values, and tenets.  Everyone has a belief system even if you have not taken the time to think about what it is for you.  When it comes to selling, the sales professional’s approach to the marketplace is to assist their prospects to buy versus to sell them something.

What does it mean to assist to buy?  Pretty much everyone has heard the old saying “people hate to be sold, but they love to buy.”  When we think of someone being “sold” something our first thought is they were manipulated or conned into doing something they did not want to do.

A sales professional never cons someone into buying something they don’t need or that  is not in their best interest.   The sales professional does not make a recommendation because it pays the highest commission or helps them win the sales contest.

Conversely, the sales professional provides solutions to their prospects and provides value that helps their prospects achieve the goals that are important to them.  In so doing, the sales professional creates an opportunity to not only service the one prospect, but to obtain referrals to other prospects as well.

The sales professional understands that the long term benefit is in creating value for their prospects.   Having the mindset of putting the prospect’s needs first establishes a foundation for a long term, mutually beneficial relationship that will yield a huge return.

It could be easy to be shortsighted and try to manipulate someone into buying something.   But, in the long run you actually make it harder on yourself when you do that.

The personal benefits of having the sales professional philosophy versus the sales person philosophy are huge.  When I was talking with Ken he mentioned that the sales professional is creating a lifestyle while the sales person is just making money.  The ironic thing is the sales professional out earns the sales person while creating this lifestyle.

The question now for you is: what about your sales philosophy?  Why not write down what your beliefs and values are about the way you sell.  If you are a business owner or sales manager, what is your company’s sales philosophy?  Take the time to examine your sales philosophy and see if it is leading you in the direction you want to go.  Are you a sales person or a sales professional?

Happy Selling

What it Means to Win The Sales Game

Last week I talked about the mindset it takes to win the sales game.   I said that the mindset you need to have is one that places your prospect’s needs first.  It occurred to me that some might think there is a contradiction if you “win” the sales game and place your prospect’s needs first.  Let’s look at what “Winning The Sales Game” really is.

When you look at selling it appears that there are two sides: the seller and the buyer.  In reality the seller and the buyer are on the same side.  If you place your prospect’s needs first, you are on the buyer’s side helping them get the best solution to their problem.  The problem (could be literally or figuratively) is what you are trying to solve with the buyer.  You are positioning yourself as a trusted advisor for your buyer.  So, there is only one side.

There can however be winners and losers.  There are four entities that can win or lose in each sale.  The four entities are: the selling organization, the buying organization, the buyer, and the sales person.  In order to win the sales game, all four entities have to win.

First, let’s look at the selling organization.  This is the company you represent.  A win for the selling organization means a profitable sale where the organization can deliver what is promised.  This means the deal fits the parameters the organization has set out for a good customer or client.  A “lose” for the selling organization will ultimately result in a “lose” for the buying organization because they will eventually have to change something to make it a win.

A win for the buying organization is when they have the best solution for their problem for the investment they can make.  If they buying organization loses, it will ultimately be a “lose” for the selling organization.

A win for the buyer is when the buyer gets what they need personally out of the sale.  For example, if your product or service allows the buyer to reach his/her targets and they get a bonus.  That’s a win for the buyer.

Lastly, the sales person has to win.  The sales person wins when they get credit or the commission for the sale.  If they make a sale that is below the threshold to get a commission it is a “lose” for them.  Or, if the sale doesn’t count towards their quota, it could be a “lose.”

In order to “Win The Sales Game” everyone has to win.  There really is no contradiction with putting your prospect’s needs first and “Winning The Sales Game.”  While putting the prospect’s needs first the sales person has to take into account all the other needs too.  It is the sales professional’s responsibility to ensure everybody wins.

The Right Mindset About Selling

Most people have a negative viewpoint of selling.  There is even the popular expression that no one likes to be sold.  This negative viewpoint of selling is actually based on the negative belief that a sales person is someone who gets someone else to buy something they don’t want or need.  And, they do it by fast talking, hypnotic trance inducing, mind controlling behaviors.

Actually nothing could be farther from the truth.  Selling is not conning someone into doing something they don’t want or need to do.  To the contrary selling is understanding the needs and wants of your prospect and then showing in a compelling way how the product or service you have satisfies those needs.

Therefore, if you truly want to be successful in selling you have to develop the skill of discovering the needs of your clients.  This involves the skill of building relationships to a degree that your prospect will allow you to ask the questions that will uncover the true needs of your prospect.

In order to do be able to do this, you have to have the mindset of putting your prospect’s needs first.  What does that mean?

First let me tell you what it does not mean.  It does not mean that you sell to your prospect what you have regardless of whether it is the best thing for them.  It does not mean that you put together the package based solely on the fact that it will give you the highest commission or allow you to win the sales contest.

What it does mean is you are there to solve your prospect’s challenges and problems based on the products and services you have.  It means that you have no other concern but that your prospect will get the best value for their investment.  It means that your only reason for being there is to assist your prospect to get what is best for them.

When you have this mindset, your prospect will sense that you have their best interest in mind.  Your prospect will be more willing to give you information about the challenges they face and what they are looking for in a solution.

By the way if you don’t have their best interest in mind, your prospect will pick up on that too.

If you really want to be successful in selling develop the right mindset about what selling really is.  Since no one wants to be sold, you are there to assist your prospect to buy.  This means it is not a “you/them” type of thing, but really an “us” looking for the best solution to a problem or challenge.

Happy Selling