Want to join The Sales Club?
You'll need to learn the by-laws first
By Jeffrey Gitomer
Can't get the appointment? Cold calls failing? Getting excuses you have a hard time getting past? Feeling rejected? Frustrated? Welcome to the club - "The Rejected and It's Your Own Fault Club."
This club is full of a bunch of ordinary salespeople selling the same old way - following by-laws established in the '50s, '60s and '70s. They still work, but not very often. Their motto is "Sales is a numbers game."
Contrast that with "The Sales Club," where members sell with daring and creativity. Their motto is "Sales is a SMART numbers game." Relationships and referrals abound.
Which club are you in?
OK, so what are the by-laws of The Sales Club? Here they are - Jeffrey Gitomer's 7.5 rules to sell or fail by. Hot, cold or lukewarm, the same rules always apply. But please, whatever you do, don't just read them. Self-assess each one by the "How good am I at that?" standard.
#1 - Get interesting. "Jeffrey, too many prospects tell me they're not interested." Boo, hoo. Real easy remedy - get interesting. Stop the same old drivel about who you are and what you do, and that you want a few minutes of their time to ... CLICK. Instead of getting "hung-uped" or "door-slammed" or "not-interesteded," why not take a more creative approach? Walk in or call up with a question, a survey or something to test their present use or value.
Example: A copier salesman walks into an office with 10 sheets of paper, spreads them out and tells the receptionist that if she can guess which ones are the copies and which are the originals she gets a miniature bottle of perfume. Soon the whole office will be playing! Then give them the five originals and tell them to copy the same five originals and see if they can tell the difference. Now have them take the entire package to the boss and offer $100 if the boss can tell the difference - then show him his own copies. Then ask how much his image is worth. The result will be interested (and involved) people.
#2 - Say it in terms of them. So often the start of a sales presentation or call is: "We do this, we offer that, we've been in business since, we are the greatest - we ... we ..." This is what's known as a we-we (spoken very quickly) presentation. Sales truth: No one wants to hear about, much less care about, you.
#3 - Tell prospects how they can succeed. Which do you think your prospect wants - a copy of your brochure, or things and ideas to help build their business? If the answer is obvious, why are you still giving out your brochure? Answer: No homework done before the sales call.
Example: Tell the prospect things about use of product or service. Tell them about the three things others overlook that can boost productivity or reduce costs. Bring in a new idea or something you saw working elsewhere in a similar business. One thing about them will be 1,000 times more interesting to them than 100 things about you.
#4 - Take a risk. All of life is a risk. Sales is just part of life. You've heard the old saying, "No risk, no reward." I say, "No risk, no nothing." If you're getting rejected, it's probably because no one can perceive a difference. If that's true, the customer will stay with their present supplier, or outright reject you, or fight your price, or worse - jerk you around without an answer.
A risk is: A daring or humorous voice mail to someone who won't return your phone call. A high-powered question to begin your talk. A try for a higher authority on the first call (it's where the decision is made anyway - may as well start there).
#5 - Study creativity. If creativity is important to the sale, why have you never read a book on it? Run to the bookstore and order Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko - a landmark book on creativity that's easily transferable to sales.
Consider this: When's the last time you had a new objection? There has only been one new one in the past 25 years: I can get it faster and cheaper online. If you hear that objection, this information can't help you - and I would strongly consider jumping to that competitor. Companies without a Web strategy are either kidding themselves, are fools or both; ask Barnes & Noble - they thought Amazon.com was a joke. Visit both Web sites and see if the joke is more apparent now.
Creative action must permeate every sales action you take. Let this be the year to take apart every aspect of your sales process and rebuild it more creatively: cold calls, information delivery, presentations, proposals, voice mails, follow-ups, closing strategies, customer order procedures and customer service are at the heart of your loyalty factor and your referral quotient. And, oh yes - your ability to differentiate yourself from the competition with something other than price. Creativity is a learned science. Read, learn and apply.
#6 - Figure out who's really hot. Realize that just because prospects are important to you doesn't mean that you are important to them. Prospects and customers are busy with their agendas, not yours. Many salespeople prepare weekly "Hot Prospect" lists. Hot to whom? Want to take a cold shower? Put a checkmark by each customer on your list who is hot for you. Uh, oh. Different list.
Your cold call is an interruption to prospects - for the most part, a negative one. You can't just be hot to sell them (based on your quotas, sales goals and commissions); they've got to be hot to buy (based on their need, value and trust). And you have to be timely in your approaches. It's a huge mistake to only look at the "Hot Prospect" list from your point of view.
#7 - Sell one thing at a time. Most basketball games are won with lay-ups - two-foot shots or dunks. Just go through the fundamental steps of the sales cycle. No behind-the-back passes. No full-court passes. When you're in the first call, stick to your objective. Get to the next step. When you're on a cold appointment telemarketing call, just sell the appointment. Save your trump (best information) for the last trick. Complete the cycle one step (one two-foot shot) at a time.
#7.5 - You gotta believe. The first sale that's made is the salesperson. If the prospect does not buy you, they'll never buy your stuff.
To make a sale: You gotta believe you work for the greatest company in the world, you have the greatest products and services in the world, and you're the greatest salesperson in the world. The three key words - You gotta believe!
Idea for 2000: Form separate groups inside and outside your company to update your by-laws and make The Sales Club this year. I hope you do.
Free by e-mail: Success Beyond Your Dreams by Building Belief, a form to help identify and structure your sales belief system. E-mail your name, mailing address and fax number, and the words "Build Belief" to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeffrey Gitomer is president of Buy Gitomer in Charlotte, N.C. He is the author of The Sales Bible and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Jeffrey gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service.