7 Habits of Salesmasters. Growing up in the “wrong” part of Chicago, Victor Antonio , noted author, business consultant and motivational speaker, crafted a career that led him not only to lead large B2B sales teams and his own high-tech business, but now sees him share his insights with Fortune 500 sales teams and groups of hundreds or thousands at a time. Mr. Antonio is one of those great stories reminding us that professional sales skills depend less on what you were born with than who it is you decide to be.
In a recent post, Mr. Antonio shared what he calls the “7 Habits of Salesmasters”. They fit so well with what we have been sharing in this column, that his particular way of discussing these habits may well be helpful for our readers. Here they are:
- “Master the Product.You MUST know everything about the product. Use it! Demo it! Know it!” Simply put, you cannot sell what you do not know. If this is missing from your skill set, there is no sense in reading further until you know what you are selling. In our opinion, product is more than items on an invoice. It is the value you bring, the relationship that supports customer objectives, and how value is created, communicated, and delivered. It is the sum of all you have to offer. Without a thorough background and understanding of all of this, you are a vendor, not a business development partner.
- “Profile Your Client.Know your ideal client and what they expect from you, your product and your company. Don’t waste time on clients that don’t fit. Prospect wisely!” A couple of months ago, we wrote a post on how to identify your best customer. We have written about finding prospective customers whose Why aligns with yours. We have written that 80% of your time in sales is wasted if you don’t know how to lead in defining customer solutions. Most prospecting and selling time is wasted chasing business you will never get. Understand your client and invest your time wisely.
- “Process Matters.Study after study has shown that using a customized sales process will help you sell more…consistently!” Too many B2B businesses do not have a documented sales process. Of those that do, too many do not adhere to them. Few have a continually-improving robust sales process the sales team is disciplined to use. The numbers we have shared over the past months are compelling. Process matters. Process is a management responsibility, and a management issue. Without it, your rate of success is low, morale is low, and team turnover is high. All of these things cost money – they are literally profits going out the door. Process matters. It is the reason “Method” begins our name.
- “Perfect the Pitch.Learn to deliver a persuasive presentation that leads the client to the obvious conclusion that you are the right choice!” It is both convenient and easy to believe we are talking about a canned presentation on your services or products. The pitch may include your products or services, but should always be focused on solving the customer’s problem in a way that brings them more value than any other alternative. THAT is the perfect pitch, because it has the most meaning for those receiving it. They don’t care that much about you, how long your company has been in business, or all of the boring stuff that is little more than chest-beating. The perfect pitch demonstrates the common goals of your organizations and how you can help your customer achieve theirs.
- “Advance the Sale.Clients will always come up with reasons to delay or defer buying and stall the sale. The best of the best always keep the sale moving forward and ASK for the Order!” We have written about the common misconception that agreement from one person means an order is imminent. The average number of people involved in making a buying decision is four, and often seven. Advancing the sale means advancing each participant at a somewhat even pace to reach a common positive decision. Advancing the sale means activity is always taking place to inform prospects on why working with you is the best decision, even if it is done through content. A buyer at rest is a decision lost. And, ask for the order!
- “Position Value, Not Price.Salespeople are the new differentiators in the sales equation. Knowing how to highlight and quantify value is the new skill set in selling!” Related to habit #1, positioning is always through the lens of the buyer, and not the seller. Positioning should be organic, focused on shared values, common goals, and an earned willingness to explore cooperation and coordination with your business. Price is not an objection, but an indicator that value has not been quantified or communicated correctly. When it is, then price is just a part of the discussion, not the stumbling block.
- “Self-Regulation.Manage your time and your mindset.” A person in control of themselves is a person others migrate towards. Success migrates towards them. Professional B2B sales people are mostly independent creatures who have built networks of relationships based on common values and goals in order that all might succeed. A professional who can manage both their time and mindset builds with the long term in mind while succeeding in the day-to-day steps that move in that direction.