"Just remember the script and smile when you talk, a monkey could sale this crap." Those were the first words of advice given to me when I first embarked upon the adventurous world of sales. More than 13 years later I now wonder how I ever was able to sale anything believing in that poorly assembled ridiculously sad manifesto. In today's world it takes more than well written scripts and smiling faces to sale consumers. Thanks largely in part to social media, the wide availability of information from the web and the rising power of millennials, customers are smarter, harder to impress and refused to be seduced by even the most advanced sale strategies or advertisements.
"The rise of smart customers is already undercutting loyalty: People download price-comparison apps to find the lowest price. It threatens to dissolve–perhaps in months–the advantages your business may have gained over years of investing millions in bricks-and-mortar (think Borders and Best Buy), as these same customers shop online and buy from a lower-priced competitor while standing in your store....In short, smart customers abandon companies that they believe behave stupidly" - Michael Hinshaw ,CMO Magazine
So how does a sales professional in today's market guarantee he can make it rain? Sales are the lifeblood of any successful business and if they can't be generated or sustained, then your business is dead. I thought about this heavily a few years ago when I first started my consultancy in 2011. I began thinking back to my first sales job in my youth. Trying to figure out how someone with few skills could successfully sale the same product to the same customer, as a sales veteran with years of experiences under their belt. It was then that I stumbled upon a universal revelation! Like Siddhartha when he first discovered the four noble truths, I had discovered the four hidden attributes that are omnipresent in any successful sales transaction!
The Four Attributes That Drive Continues Sales Growth
A good number of people believe sales is more of an art than a science. However if sales were a science, I believe the following four attributes would act as the basis for their periodic table.
1st Attribute: Knowledge
In 1597 an intellectual named Sir Francis Bacon gave life to the popular phrase, “Knowledge is power”. I don't believe there is anyone in today's social media driven share economy who would disagree. In order for anyone to successful sell anything they must have knowledge of four things, strong knowledge of the product, strong knowledge of the customer, strong knowledge of the competition and uniquely strong knowledge about their self. Its not enough to know everything about your product and its market. Every professional engaging in sales should know what their great at, least great at and what they need to be great at to win the sale.
2nd Attribute: Communication
One of the hallmarks of a great sales transaction is the seller being able to understand and communicate with the customer effectively. Interpersonal communication is perhaps the most misunderstood and underutilized skill in sales today. In order for a successful sales transaction to occur the sales professional must be able to communicate to the customer that they have:
(1) Empathy for the customer's problem or need.
(2) Listened to custom's self analysis of the problem.
(3) Understood why the problem is important to the customer.
(4) A valuable solution to solve the customer's problem.
3rd Attribute: Confidence
The third attribute that is necessary for a successful sales transaction is confidence. This is commonly understood by everyone who’s successful in business today. No one wants to buy anything from someone who is unsure about their product, their company or their self. Today's consumers look at their purchases more like investments than actual purchases. And like investors they want to be assured that they are making the best decision that will give them a great return on their money (whatever that return may be). To guarantee a successful sales transaction occurs one must possess and exude confidence in their self and their product. Authenticity sells, everything else fails.
4th Attribute: Determination
The sales legend Zig Ziglar once said, "Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission". In my short time here on earth I have never met any successful person in sales (or in anything) that did not possess an unrelenting sense of determination. Back when I was doing sales we had a saying, "A no is a slow yes". Very few ball players hit a homerun the first time at bat. Its the same in sales. For a successful sales transaction to occur the sale professional must remain resolute and be prepared to overcome the "maybes" and "No's" with awesome rebuttals and value.
Embracing The Four Attributes
Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, engineer or consultant I would bet my years earnings you have sold something in your life. Selling is as natural as breathing and we do it just as often, we just don’t realize it. The path to becoming the ultimate rainmaker for your organization has already been paved, you just have to walk it. The Four Attributes are qualities and characteristics we all have buried within us. Those who chose to unearth them and utilize their power are the same people you see on the cover of Time and Businessweek. Their the same people you see everyday that you envy and lookup to. You can be them! Ditch the scripts, the insincere sales pitch and the phony smile. Use the Four Attributes to access your full sales potential within yourself and your organization. When in doubt remember, “A monkey could sale this crap!”.