“Don’t sell a functional product or just a number of hours. Sell value, sell hope, sell a better future. In other words, sell based on emotions.” – Mark Schenkius in today’s Tip 1157
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Mark Schenkius. Mark is the founder of ROI 10 where he helps sales professionals get better at dealing with buyers. He’s also the author of “The Other Side of Sales,” where he shares his perspective after many years in procurement. Here he is:
Mark Schenkius: I have been working in buying or procurement for over 17 years and about 4 years ago I set up my own company providing strategy and negotiation training to sales professionals.
This meant that from one day to the other, I had to look after sales myself as well. Having always sat on the other side of the table, one could assume I have some interesting insights.
And I do. Here they are:
First, when I got started, I assumed selling would be easy. After all, I knew I had a great service to sell so the customers would be lining up to work with me. Boy, was I wrong?
Fact is that sales is hard work, but most of all, it’s all about being consistent and persistent. Nobody buys from a person they don’t know, like, or trust. It takes time to build a relationship; it takes time to build trust. Don’t be demotivated, keep ongoing. If not now, then perhaps later. For some of my customers, it took years to start a cooperation. And you know what, that’s fine. They are ready when they are ready. Not sooner. Remember that it’s not business-to-business, it’s always human-to-human.
Secondly, I found out I hate cold sales. I just find it extremely uncomfortable. After reflecting on it, I decided there are 3 options here: either I learn how to do it, I could outsource it, or I could stop doing it. I tried option 2, however, reverted back to option 3 eventually. I decided to put my energy into my warm and semi-warm relationship-building skills. I made an active decision to postpone learning more about the art of cold calling.
Thirdly, I always think from a buyer’s perspective when dealing with my customers. When I meet with a potential client, I rarely have a prepared slide-deck. As a buyer, I know how annoying that was, because these slides always focused on them and never on me as a buyer.
Instead, I listen and ask questions. That’s because I first need to identify what problem they have. Secondly, I’ll show them what potential solution I have for them. This also means I sometimes say ‘no’ to potential customers, because I know they are better off working with somebody else. But I also know that I can truly help the customers I am working with. The tip here is to first think what’s in it for them? And secondly to think what’s in it for me.
So, rather than selling my services, I try to position myself into the shoes of the buyer. In some cases, this led to interesting discussions. I participated in an RFP process for 2 trainings. At one point, I was invited for a 30 min call with the team, and I challenged one of the 2 trainings, asking them why they actually needed that. After a series of questions and answers it turned out they didn’t and they appreciated the candid conversation. I will be running the first virtual training with them shortly.
The final tip is that it’s never about the cost, but always about the value you bring. The famous marketeer Freddy Heineken used to say: “I don’t sell beer, I sell parties”. That’s exactly what you should do too. Don’t sell a functional product or just a number of hours. Sell value, sell hope, sell a better future. In other words, sell based on emotions.
That’s it for now. Happy negotiations everyone!
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