Have you ever asked yourself "What am I selling?" As a telephone sales professional, this is the most important question you can ever ask yourself. So just in case it's been awhile since you've asked yourself the question, let me ask you now. "What are you selling?" If you are like the majority of telephone sales reps that I talk to, you probably answered with some variation of the following:
"I'm selling widgets!"
"I'm selling myself!"
"I'm selling a little product/service and a little me!"
"I'm not selling anything, my product/service sells itself!"
Okay, let's take a look at each of the above responses.
I'm selling widgets!
In today's marketplace, you are most likely not the only person selling "widgets." There's probably not a lot of difference between your "widget" and that of your competition. If you utilize this approach, your customer will see you as just another salesperson 'pushing' product, with little or no regard to his or her needs.
I'm selling myself!
Great, but the reality is that your customer receives your product, not you! From your employer's viewpoint, does this mean the customer leaves your company when you do? I've never met a salesperson that could maximize his or her selling opportunities when taking this approach. At the end of the day, you will find that you've wasted a lot of time socializing, and invested very little time selling. Building rapport is very important, but you need more.
I'm selling a little product/service and a little me!
Okay, this is in fact the traditional technique. With this approach we try to build a little rapport, demonstrate the product or service, explain the features and benefits, overcome those forthcoming objections and ask for the order. About the best we can ever hope to be with this approach is to be average. I doubt you really want to go through your sales life being average.
I'm not selling anything, my product/service sells itself!
When you stop and think about it, the problem with this approach becomes obvious. You are not selling anything; you are simply taking orders. To make this approach work, you've got to figure out how to contact only those prospects that meet each of the following criteria:
they need your product
they know they need your product
they do not have a supplier
they have already budgeted the money for the purpose.
As Sytel admits, not even their dialer can do this. May I suggest that you invest in a crystal ball!
Now, to the telephone sales professional, there is one more answer:
I'm selling solutions!
When you understand who your customer is, and what his or her real problems are and begin offering solutions to those problems the magic begins to happen. You stop selling product, and your 'Future Customer' no longer sees you as a salesperson, pushing product. You develop a conviction, that will sell more than all the product knowledge in the world. Your tone and pace will begin to say
"I'm not calling you to sell you, I am calling you to help you"
and your future customer will be glad that you called.
To sell solutions, you've got to care about your future customer. You've got to learn to ask great questions. You've got to learn to eliminate all mutual mystification. You've got to listen, not only to the words but, to the meaning and the feelings behind those words. You've got to know or find out what pain your prospect has. You've got to understand that you are in the pain and rescue business. You have got to ask your prospect: What do you want? Why do you want it? When do you want it? Who is responsible for getting it? How would you feel if I could help you get it? At the end of every call you've got to be know what your prospect is doing, thinking and feeling. If you've got the answers to those questions, you will be well on your way to increasing your sales, and your paycheck. You will deal with a lot less rejection, and have a lot more fun in the process.
I learned the importance of selling solutions when one of my mentors gave me the following little poem. I read it regularly, and I hope you will too.
Tell Me Quick and Tell Me True
Will it save me money or time or work
Or hike up my pay with a welcome jerk?
What drudgery, worry, or loss will it cut?
Can it get me out of a personal rut?
I wonder how much it would do for my health --
Could it show me a way to acquire more wealth --
Better things for myself and the kids and the wife --
Or how to quit work somewhat early in life?
I see that you've spent quite a big wad of dough
To tell me things you think I should know,
How your plant is so big, so fine, so strong --
And your founder has whiskers, so handsomely long.
So he started the business in old ninety-two --
How tremendously interesting that is -- to you.
He built up the thing with the blood of his life --
I'll rush home and tell my wife!
Your machinery is modern and oh so complete --
Your "rep" is so flawless -- your work is so neat.
Your motto is "Quality" -- with a capital "Q" --
No wonder I'm tired of "your" and of "you."
So tell me quick and tell me true --
Or else, my friend, to heck with you --
Less how this product came to be --
More what the darn thing does for me!
If you would like to receive a free copy
of my workbook titled 'A Step by Step Guide to Solution Selling'
, send me an email
and simply include 'Compliments of Sytel' in the subject line and I will e-mail you a copy.