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Understanding Selling & Salespeople
Selling to ‘Scary’ Larry n Brandon is a salesperson for Agri King who is about to call on Larry, a prospective customer. Larry has had some negative experiences with a previous salesperson. What advice do you have for Brandon in order to get at least some of Larry’s business?
Amateur vs Professional n Helen is about to begin her career as a sales representative for Market Tech. Her supervisor as stressed to her the importance of being ‘a professional’. What does this mean to Helen? What is (or should be) Helen’s main job goal?
Sales Quiz Q. What percent of all salespeople are classified as ‘professional’ in typical customer surveys? a. 75% b. 66% c. 50% d. 25% e. 5% Source: Non-Manipulative Selling (Prentice Hall, 1987, p. 221)
Common ‘negative’ experiences with salespeople: n Telemarketer n Door-to-door salesperson n Used car dealer
‘Negative’ Sales Quotes Salesmanship: The art of selling someone something that they don’t want, don’t need, and certainly can’t afford. (Bob Sagett, America’s Funniest Home Videos, March 14, 1993) Question: How can you tell if a salesperson is lying? Answer: His/her lips are moving.
Examples of ‘negative’ descriptions of salespeople: Annoying Arm twister Arrogant ‘BS’er Condescending Dishonest Fake Fast talker Greedy Intimidating Long-winded Manipulative Narrow-minded Never give up Phony Pushy Relentless Show off Smooth talker Sneaky Telemarketer Tricky Unthoughtful Won’t take ‘no’
Negative perceptions about salespeople are often perpetrated by cartoons, jokes, stories, etc. that criticize or make fun of salespeople. Because of negative perceptions some people have about salespeople, whether true or not, some companies have opted to develop job titles for salespeople that don’t use the word ‘sales’. n Examples include: n n n CPS = crop production specialist LPS = livestock production specialist Agronomist Rep Account executive Customer relations specialist Territory manager Consultant Technical assistant District manager Marketing specialist
Preparing to become a successful, professional salesperson starts with an understanding of: n What selling is. n What a salesperson does. n What it means to have a strong commitment to being a caring person, consultant, and problem solver.
Definitions of a “Professional” 1. 2. (noun) a person practicing a profession or engaged in a specified occupation for pay (e. g professional writer, professional golfer) (adjective) associated with the high standards, quality, or status of a profession
Personal (‘Professional’) Selling defined n “The process of: Developing customer relationships, Discovering customer needs, Matching appropriate products with these needs, and communicating benefits. ” Manning and Reece Selling Today
Selling Philosophy of ‘Good’ Salespeople: n n n Selling is problem solving Selling is a helping, caring activity A customer is a person to be served, not a prospect to be sold Treat people as human beings, not $ signs Unique products, relationships, cultures are important Be customer driven, not product driven Focus on customer needs The customer is the reason a salesperson exists Long-term success depends on pleasing others Selling is a ‘win-win’ activity A commitment to self improvement and life-long learning essential for long-term success Adherence to a strict code of ethics emphasizing, among other things, mutual trust, respect, and honesty is essential
Professional salespeople view themselves and their jobs in a positive way, opposite of ‘consmanship’. Some examples of ‘positive’ descriptions of ‘good’ salespeople include: Ambitious Articulate Benefits Calm Charismatic Clean cut Commitment Communicator Compassionate Confident Courteous Creative Customer service Dedicated Detail oriented Determined Easy going Energetic Enthusiastic Excited Friendly Genuine Helpful Honest Integrity Intelligent Knowledgeable Likeable Listener Motivated Nice Open-minded Optimistic Organized Outgoing People oriented Persuasive Planner Polite Positive Prepared Problem solver Professional Quick on feet Sensitive Smart Self improvement Self motivated Service Smooth Tactful Technical Trustworthy Understanding Upbeat Well dressed Well trained
“What Makes a Good Salesperson? ” 1. 2. Empathy = the ability to sense what the customer is feeling. Drive = the personal need and want to make a sale (not merely for the money); = a proper ego that is enhanced by success while somewhat weakened yet motivated and not shattered by failure. Harvard Business Review July-August, 1964
Selling is a ‘process’ that: n n n Facilitates the transfer of goods & services Persuades prospects to buy Occurs over various lengths of time Involves multiple steps (preparing, opening, presenting, closing, servicing), although maybe not all on every call Is part of ‘marketing’ (promotion) Is customer (vs. product) driven Bridges the final 3 feet between the company and the customer Aims to develop long-term, win-win relationships Strives for repeat business Is technically oriented Emphasizes service and value
Selling is ‘helping’ people: n Solve problems n Make more $ n Buy n Meet their needs/goals
Selling is a ‘profession’ based on: Scientific skills, even though it is not an ‘exact’ science n Knowledge about selling principles/theories n A code of ethics n Psychological & sociological aspects of human behavior n
n What do salespeople do?
1) They Sell: Products/services n Solutions n Information n Ideas n Service n Their company n Themselves n
Why Do Salespeople Sell? 1. 2. Old fashion, Non Professional, ‘Negative’ Reason = to increase sales volume to increase company profits or personal sales commissions regardless of customer benefits Modern, Professional, ‘Positive’ Reason = to meet customer needs, solve customer problems, and increase customer satisfaction
2) They work with people: n n n Solve problems Represent the company Communicate (benefits? ) with customers Develop relationships, partnerships, alliances Discover needs Gather information Educate customers Catalyze change Help people buy Serve customers Treat people with respect
3) They Manage: n Their time n Their territory n Their records n Their stress
“Seed Selling Is More Than Taking Orders” n 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Examples: Recommend seeds that fit a farmer’s operation. Plant and manage test plots. Collect and share information with customers on fertility, planting depth and rates, chemicals, crop diseases, cultivation, and yields. Soil testing. Financial consulting. Provide ‘service’ to customers. Joyce Vogelman, Iowa Farmer Today April 8, 1995, p. 3 -4
Rewards of being a professional salesperson: n n n n Freedom (own boss) Job variety Challenge Tangible accomplishments Recognition/awards Financial compensation Opportunities for advancement On ‘cutting’ edge Personal relationships Satisfaction from helping others Job security Entertaining customers Travel
Negative aspects of being a professional salesperson: Long hours (physically exhausting) n Isolation (often work alone) n Mentally depressing n Rejections n Complaints n n Stress
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction The foundation of good selling is the desire to help people. Professional agricultural salespeople typically view themselves as problem solvers and selling as problem solving. People tend to respond better to being treated as human beings than as dollar signs. (Sales Upbeat, Feb. , 2, 1995) The high-pressure salesperson is as outmoded today as the horse and buggy. To be a top seller, today’s sales representative must have genuine character, sincerity of purpose, honesty, straightforwardness, and a desire to be of service. (Sales Upbeat, Dec. 8, 1994) Selling is not an ‘exact’ science.
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction Selling is more than taking orders. (Iowa Farmer Today, April 8, 1995) Forget about the sales you hope to make and concentrate on the service you want to render. The moment people’s attention is centered on service to others, they become more dynamic, more forceful and harder to resist. How can you resist someone who is trying to help you solve a problem? . . . Start out each morning with the thought, ‘I want to help as many people as possible today, ’ instead of ‘I want to make as many sales as possible today. . . ‘ (Harry Bullis, former Chairman of the Board, General Mills) The object of a salesperson is not to make sales, but to make customers.
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction A salesperson is no longer a vendor out to sell a product, but rather a consultant out to help their customer’s business. (adapted from Consultative Selling by Mack Hanan) There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell’, there is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell’. (Charles Brower, American Advertising) Selling should be a friendly act. It is something we do WITH and FOR people, not TO them. (Jim Cathcart, ‘Relationship Selling’, 1990) People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. (Jim Cathcart, ‘Relationship Selling’, 1990)
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction Natural talent, intelligence, a wonderful education – none of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and the willingness to give it to them. Worldly success depends on pleasing others. No one is going to win fame, recognition, or advancement just because he or she thinks it’s deserved. Someone else has to think so too. (John Luther) No matter what you ultimately do in life, the sales tools you acquire along the way will help you achieve your goals. (Andrew Carnegie) Everyone lives by selling something. (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction Selling involves a person helping another person. The salesperson often works with prospects or customers to examine their needs, provide information, suggest a product to meet their needs, and provide after-the-sale service to ensure long-term satisfaction. (Charles Futurell, ABC’s of Relationship Selling, 1997) You are involved in selling when you want someone to do something. (Charles Futrell, ABC’s of Relationship Selling, 1997) In today’s competitive environment, where good interpersonal skills are so valued, the lack of selling capability can put anyone at a disadvantage. (Charles Futrell, ABC’s of Relationship Selling, 1997)
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction Our most important policy is caring. (Farm Bureau Financial Services, 1999) If nobody sells, a terrible thing happens – NOTHING! “An amateur keeps trying to get it right. A professional keeps working so as to never be wrong. ” (TV ad, MNF, 9/11/06) “We don’t push products, we push solutions. ” Rob Meade, GROWMARK
Sales Quotes: Course Introduction “Life is pretty much a selling job. Whether we succeed or fail is largely a matter of how well we motivate the human beings with whom we deal to buy us and what we have to offer. ” Ziglar, Top Performance