What makes sales success
The wolf is fed by the legs, and the seller – communication
What determines success in sales? The question is very ambiguous. If you take into account one thing, you will surely miss the other. While noting certain points, we do not say that others are less important.
However, I would like to highlight three factors that affect sales success:
- Product knowledge.
- Compliance with the sequence of sales stages.
- The third factor, the most important, is the ability to communicate.
As for product knowledge, everything is clear: without product knowledge it is impossible to sell, since the subject of communication disappears. Breaking the sequence of sales steps is a separate big topic. Let me remind you of the main five steps of sales: finding a client, establishing contact, clarifying the need, presentation and completion of the transaction. Inside the completion of the transaction is the stage of "settlement of objections". Missed or poorly executed sales steps reduce sales effectiveness. But the most important factor in sales is communication with the client.
For example, let’s consider two sellers. One of them is a big specialist in the product. For example, he sells plastic windows and knows the technology of their production very well. Now the question is: can it be that this seller, with excellent knowledge of the product, does not sell very well? Of course yes. And this happens quite often: the seller is well versed in the product itself, but at the same time is not able to sell it in the proper volume.
Now let’s look at a salesperson who doesn’t know too much about a product, but somehow manages to sell it, and even very well. This situation is taken from life, and if you consider it, you can understand what success in sales depends on first of all. Real practice shows that not always the seller who knows his product best of all sells it best. Although the truth is that the product must be well known in order to successfully sell.
The bottom line is that sales success is more about communication than product knowledge.
Such a statement may seem bold to some, but it is true. Answer the question: what is more difficult to teach – knowledge of the product or the ability to communicate? Of course, the right communication. Many books, articles, seminars are devoted to this topic, but how many of the tips that we find in them are applicable then in practice?
What is communication? Talking a lot does not mean good communication. Each of us has met a “radio man". The radio talks a lot, but if you try to communicate with it, you are unlikely to succeed. It can be said that there are people who are like the radio – they talk a lot, but they do not care at all about whether they are listened to and understood. Accordingly, talking a lot does not mean communicating well. If a person is very well-read, does this mean that he will be a great conversationalist and will communicate well? Also not a fact. Competent speech, erudition, pleasant timbre of voice – all these components affect good communication, but are not the main ones. First of all, the quality of communication is influenced by two such components as confidence and feedback support., that is, a two-way flow. Communication is essentially an exchange. The exchange of some ideas, whether with the help of words, letters, gestures, SMS – anything that can convey your ideas to another person. And whatever the form of communication, it is always a two-way flow. Why can’t radio be called a good conversationalist? Because it communicates in "one way".
Returning to sales, if we look at a successful salesperson or negotiator, we will always find that he has excellent communication skills. Knowledge of the product certainly affects the confidence of the seller, but the essence of the selling process is the ability to really communicate.. Pay attention to eastern sellers, for example, in Egypt, Turkey or Asian markets – the ability to communicate correctly is “embedded” in their sales culture. You won’t have time to blink an eye, as you are already in his shop and you definitely won’t leave without a purchase. Moreover, the easier and more unobtrusive this communication is, the more comfortable and effective it is. They simply invite, are simply interested and at the same time talk about their goods or services in such a way that they want to buy. The key is what you really want. Of course, there can be overkill here, because anything can be taken to an extreme. It’s not about doing the exact same thing. The bottom line is that communication should be such that the client is comfortablecommunicate with the seller within the framework of their culture, which has its own foundations and rules. A salesperson who is shy or afraid to communicate with a customer is like a doctor who is shy about his patients. It’s like a delicate boxer or a very shy toastmaster, which in itself is absurd. Each profession has its own requirements for personal qualities and abilities, without which any activity is basically impossible, and in sales it is the ability to communicate correctly.
Communication is the common denominator of success not only in sales but in life. If you think about it, you will notice that people intuitively try to communicate only with those with whom they are comfortable. This is the law. And there is nothing wrong with that. But in relation to the field of sales, this can greatly interfere. It is not always comfortable to communicate with a new client. People are very different. We like some of them right away, with others, friendships or partnerships arise only after we have talked with them and got to know them more. Any experienced seller can recall different cases when at first a client did not like it, but after a few minutes of communication, the attitude towards him changed for the better.
The ability to communicate does not mean flashing intelligence or being distinguished by erudition, and it is not chattering about everything without a break.
The ability to communicate is the ability to keep up a conversation on various topics, it is the ability to both speak and listen, but the main goal of communication is to achieve understanding in something.
The result of communication is when a person has an understanding of the idea that you convey to him. If this happens, then it can be said that you communicate well.
For example, let’s recall a few presentations of salespeople from life, especially if it does not concern essential goods. For example, in computer stores, and even in ordinary beauty salons, listening to managers, you feel hopelessly behind the times – so much incomprehensible terminology is used in their presentations of goods and services. It is clear that new technologies have penetrated into all spheres of life. But is it clear enough for customers what sellers are talking about? Do they convey the essence of your products? Do they make sure customers understand what they are being told?
Conducted a survey of different owners about what a real seller should be. One bank owner replied: “The most important thing is that the salesman can communicate well.” He was asked if there were any other requirements besides this, and the banker said that "this is quite enough, this is the most important thing and this is a deep idea." And he’s right. Success in sales directly depends on the extent to which the seller through communication is able to create understanding among customers regarding the product that he sells. If he sells cooperation, then in relation to his company and partnership with it. Because it is understanding that helps the client make a positive decision, and misunderstanding, on the contrary, repels customers from your product.
The best salespeople are people who can communicate their ideas to the client both over the phone and in person.
Now let’s see what needs to be done to develop the ability to communicate. I will note a few points: one of them is to communicate not only with those with whom it is comfortable.
What does this mean for the seller?
Approaching clients who do not cause a desire to communicate, calling those who do not want to, in a word, “push” yourself out of the so-called “comfort box”.
What is a comfort zone?
These are circumstances, situations, some habits and patterns in life that we are used to and with which we are comfortable living. For example, a person is used to not starting communication first, and for him comfortable communication is possible provided that someone else starts the conversation. Pushing yourself out of the “comfort box” means discovering this habit of “not being the first to communicate” and bypassing it (ignoring it): being the first to make contact, start a conversation, say hello, ask questions, etc.
The good news is that the feeling of discomfort will not be permanent, and eventually the person will get used to the new way of doing things. He, as it were, changes his “settings”, in which the “start communication first” function was previously turned off. One way to train yourself or others to communicate is to do things that are outside the comfort box. Over time, by communicating more often with not the most pleasant customers, the seller will find that nothing bad is happening, such customers also cooperate and buy. The seller begins to realize that the expected negative is exaggerated, his comfort zone is gradually expanding, and his confidence in communication is growing. And, best of all, the more the seller is ready for such communication, the less he attracts "difficult" customers.
So, a successful seller is able to communicate with anyone, support any topic with different clients.
Q: Has he always been like this?
Of course not. If you pay attention to how children communicate, you will notice that they have open and easy communication. A child can make contact with almost any person and be the first to start communication. But over the years, this ability is lost. And this is one of the biggest problems for sellers. See what customers are usually upset about? Sometimes about the quality of the product, non-fulfillment of some obligations, but, as a rule, most of all about the attitude of sellers towards them. The seller did not say hello, did not answer the question, did not call in time, did not warn, was not interested, did not advise, or, worse, was rude. All these disorders are connected in one way or another with communication. Mistakes in customer service happen in any company, but how they are handled and corrected is a more important issue.
According to a survey of customers who have stopped working with a company, about 70% are people who complain about the lack of communication, care and attention from sellers. The remaining 30% are people who have found the best conditions, price, moved, changed activities, etc. That is, most of the customers, and therefore money, are lost precisely because of insufficient attention and communication from those employees who are engaged in servicing and sales.
In fact, each of us, as a client, is ready to forgive the seller’s minor mistakes, but only if the seller communicates adequately with us, he will offer some kind of compensation, even intangible, because the principle itself is important. Philosopher Ron Hubbard said very precisely about this:
“Communication is the universal problem solver.”
The way it is. The problem is not solved where there is no communication. For example, if the delivery time is delayed, the seller, instead of warning the client in advance, waits "until the last". If the deadlines are broken (even for objective reasons), the client starts calling himself, and only then the seller begins to clarify the situation and settle it, but now it is much more difficult to do this, since the client is already dissatisfied.
The problem most often occurs before you find it. And if the seller were more confident in communication, he could call the client in advance and warn him about the delivery delay. This does not mean that the client will be happy in this case, but it will definitely upset him less. Agree, it’s one thing when you, as a client, are informed in advance about the delay in completing the order, and another when you find out about it after you should have received the order. One way or another, but all problems lead to one thing – to the inability to communicate at the proper level. Even if the seller’s instructions say that you need to notify customers in advance of any delays and problems related to the execution of the order, the seller will find 100 reasons why he did not:
“I didn’t get through”, “I didn’t know myself”, “I forgot”, “Until the last I hoped that I would be in time”, etc.
Each salesperson has 5-10 customers who should have been called a long time ago. It makes sense to apply the data of this article in practice and conduct training in communication. The ability to communicate must be constantly trained, the same principle applies here as in sports – good physical shape must be maintained at all times. It is clear that without preparation it will be very difficult to run the cross-country. The same is true in communication. It is important to develop this ability – to train the “muscle of communication”. By pushing ourselves out of the “comfort box”, we expand it. If we expand it, we have more opportunities and more freedom to negotiate. And whoever communicates better attracts customers, and hence money.