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The 7 Pearls of Selling Wisdom

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Jeff Kline – Enjoy!

HonestyThe concept of “selling” is different these days.  And that’s because customers are different.

Today’s customers are more educated and informed than ever. Much of this is a result of the Internet, which expedites word of mouth and provides consumers with easy access to thousands of product reviews. For this reason, old school “Slippery Sam” sales techniques are no longer effective. Customers today see right through gimmicky sales tactics, preferring instead to buy from individuals and companies they trust.

Emerging ideas about selling – what I like to call “Selling Wisdom” – focus on building trusting customer relationships. Selling Wisdom abandons coercion and embraces integrity. It’s about understanding your customers’ needs, tailoring high-quality solutions, and providing honest, educational information about your product.

Most importantly, Selling Wisdom dictates that you always treat your customers with the highest level of respect.

THE 7 PEARLS OF “SELLING WISDOM”

1) Infuse sales into your company’s DNA.
Don’t think of Sales as a single department or tactic. Instead, establish a totally sales-driven organization in which everyone sells. Every individual in your company should be expected to participate in selling – whether it’s the way the receptionist answers the phone or the message the marketing team communicates in a brochure.

Oprah2) Get to know your customers, Oprah style.
Conduct your initial meetings with customers with the same level of interest Oprah uses when she interviews her guests. Listen twice as much as you speak, and wait two seconds before responding to a comment – this will allow your customers to finish their thoughts.
Use a predefined qualification form to determine your customers’ needs.  And make sure you understand your customer’s decision-making process. Don’t be reluctant to ask the hard questions:
• Could you explain how your decision making process will unfold?
• When do you plan to make your final decision?
• Do you have an established budget?

3) Educate your customers.
Customers are most likely to trust the company that provides them with educational content about their products and services. Your company’s blog, ebooks, whitepapers, product demonstration videos and free trials are all effective tools for informing your customers and drawing them closer to a sale.

If you’re interested in learning more, I write frequently about content and its role in sales on my blog.

4) Apply the “De Niro effect” to presentations.
When Robert De Niro is playing a role in a film, the way he delivers his lines is so authentic and natural that it’s impossible to detect that he is following a script.
At Accrinet, we always use the same scripted presentation, but we apply what we call the “De Niro effect.” This means we encourage our sales people to inject their own passion and personality into to their delivery. The presentation never feels scripted, allowing us to use the same presentation over and over again.

5) Create a sense of urgency.
Today’s customers are experts in comparison-shopping and might spend weeks looking for a better deal. For that reason, it’s important to instill a legitimate sense of urgency on a proposed transaction. For example, you might say:
• “We have limited availability of the product that you are interested in and I want to make sure that it is available when you are ready.”
• “In order to complete your project by your proposed date, we would need to receive the proposal within the next five business days.”
Remember to be truthful.

6) Give to Get
Never make a concession without asking for a fair trade in return. If a customer asks for an early delivery, let them know it can be done only if they have the approved paperwork to you by the end of the week.

7) Don’t force the close.
Closing the sale should be as natural as the setting of the sun. There is no need for clever closing tactics or manipulative antics. If you’ve won your customer’s trust, you’ve earned the sale.

Selling Wisdom = Success
What makes these pearls of Selling Wisdom effective is that, no matter what, you are always treating your customers with the highest level of respect. Gain a full understanding of their needs, be honest about your products, and make fair negotiations. Treat your customers like kings.

And remember this: You are not doing your customers a favor; they are doing you a favor by allowing you to serve them.

Jeff KlineJeff Kline started his sales career with the Fortune 100 Company Burroughs Corporation, where he was quickly promoted to branch and regional sales manager. A serial entrepreneur, Jeff founded his first company Adcom Corporation in 1986, overseeing the sales of office technology for ten years. Jeff has since owned three other companies, all in the technology field. His most recent endeavors are Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporations. Jeff writes weekly about internet marketing at blog.accrinet.com@Jeff_A_Kline

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