Now more than ever, the ability to sell your particular products and services is vital to the success of your business.
I recently read an article by Tessa Stowe from Sales Conversation in this very magazine. It was concise and to the point – just the way I like it –and it reminded me that the basic skills for selling technology are just good common sense.
The key to selling technology, I believe, is building relationships and understanding customer needs. Of course, there are communication and presentation skills that sales people must learn to be good at their jobs, but without the right mind set and some old-fashioned common sense, you’re going keep hitting brick walls.
To boil it down to its essence, a customer must first trust you and trust your company. Only when they feel comfortable discussing their business with you will they share their technology problems and you can help them to solve them. As their trust in you grows, you can start demonstrating your knowledge of the products and services that your company sells and eventually you can start working with them on their long-term technology goals. A customer like that is worth much more than customers who will buy from you once and then move on.
It’s common sense. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing, but often the actual execution somehow gets sabotaged by less productive activities. If your role is to sell technology products and services, and you think you could be selling more, read on to see where you might be going wrong.
DistractionWhen sign-offs on sales are coming in at a regular rate, it’s easy for us to become complacent and fill our day with those activities that don’t directly lead to sales generation. Preparing reports, submitting expenses claims, sending emails, all need to be done, but a committed sales person will do them outside their customers’ business hours.
AversionEveryone in sales has some form of sales aversion – a reluctance to call on certain customers, or sell certain products or services. This is definitely an obstacle to achieving higher sales performance.
Self motivationNotice I said self motivation. No one can motivate or de-motivate you more than yourself. A sale early in the day can make the rest of it easier, while a difficult customer can lead to sales aversion for the whole day. The mind can be a powerful thing, so use it to your advantage.
FocusSome of the really good salespeople that I know have a mantra or a personal mission statement that they use to keep them focused. Find one you really believe in and constantly remind yourself of it. My personal favourite is: ‘what are you doing right now to bring you closer to your ultimate goal?’.
Confidence & mindsetThere are several areas of confidence and mindset that can have an impact on sales performance, including confidence about your products and services, the market and in undertaking a new task. Keep preconceived notions about your customers’ needs and wants to a minimum and do what it takes to develop and maintain your overall confidence levels.
Underdeveloped skillsNot all of us are natural sales people; even fewer are skilled sales people. You need to constantly develop your sales skills if you want to increase your customer base and maintain customer service levels for existing customers.
Further readingThere are entire libraries of information on how to harness positive sales energy which you can follow up on, but essentially your success in this area all comes down to you. The right mindset and some common sense, plus industry- specific sales skills and good product knowledge, will take you far.