It makes me uneasy when I say I have been is sales for 40 years. But I have. 42 to be exact. I was very lucky to meet some great folks early on that became lifelong friends. I also was lucky to meet some folks that I never saw again but I was able to take something of value from them.
The Great Gratz taught me a few things. Never cross the street unless there is a reason to do so. The difference between leaders and assholes. Think big and move mountains! So what exactly does the latter mean?
It means think BIG. Dream BIG. Do BIG things. Don't think small.
So let's start at the most basic. Sales is overcoming objections of the would-be buyer. No objection, no sale.
Problem is most people who are supposed to be in sales go off the deep-end when you raise objections and questions and challenges. See their job is to answer them not be upset by them. Not be surprised by them. But actually welcome them. yes welcome objections. The more the better. See the "Objection" is at the heart of every sale. An objection means you are interested not the other way around but MOST salespeople get ANGRY or frustrated when they should be calmly answering the question at hand like you actually know what you are talking about and not being defensive but being confident. That is the foundation of it all.
Now you can't even get to an objection unless there is need, want desire. Because at that point, they don't give a shit about what you are saying because there is no interest on their part and you as a sales person have done nothing to spark their interest. Then the really bad sales folks start talking about price. Not value. Price. Well why would you talk about price when we already established they don't give a shit about what you are selling?
So I can spot a sale a mile away and I can spot things that will never lead to a sale from an even further distance.
When they walked in the door of that mattress store I worked at when I was 19, they already made it clear they had a need a want and a desire. We were some schlock house and they already went to Sears and Penny's and Macy's and they were still looking. You know what that meant? They were ready to make their purchase and go home. Wish I would have realized that back then But I did not. The owner did. He closed every single customer that he waited on in the entire time I worked there. Every single one and he explained why. So simple. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Now that I look back, I understand it. Customers walking in his door had need, want and desire and what was probably missing was Value. So they were shopping price and comfort and benefits and when it could get delivered and they just wanted to go home.
Sales is a universal art. Some sales are hard-hitting. Some are a slow smooth mild pitch. Some sales involve no selling at all but just showing overwhelming value. Sales is an art and a science. I can spot a real sales pro in minutes and a faker in seconds. It is nothing more than a series of questions and answers and building a confident relationship. The questions are objections and objections are the path to a sale. But MOST get frustrated with questions. Mainly because they have no answer and when you have no answer, you LOSE! You lose because you are not prepared and you lose because you did not go out of your way to find the answer. You may have even been bothered by the question.
Now on the other hand there are questions that say I am serious and questions that say I am just going to waste your time. They are easy to spot. But you have to know human nature. You have to be able to interpret something. For example, when somebody says it is not about the money, they are generally not being truthful. It is always about the money. Always. 99.9%. The more you argue the point, the less I will even listen. There are some truths you just learn over time. It's always about the money.
So as long as you are getting pertinent questions, you are on the road to a sale. And as long as you answer them completely and confidently, you will be making that sale. And you may even have to ask for it. However if you do it really well, they will tell you they are ready.
As a consumer I have choice. You have choice. We all have choice. That is why sales is key. It is the subtle difference between eating and starving.
We are all in sales. All of us. We start out as kids and we whine until we get what we want. That is sales!
I love when I meet a CEO and he tells me he is not into sales. Wow! That's like a runner that does not like running. It is part of the job description whether you like it or not and if you are no good at it you are going to have a rough road.
Sales is a combination of human nature and all the other things I have mentioned. Sometimes one of the parties even get pissed. It's okay. Don't take it too seriously. It is all part of the human show. Just laugh it off. Think of a good comeback. Touche.
Sales is a thought process. It is a challenge and many times you don't make the sale. Or you may not make it right then. But if you did your job well, that sale may still come. You got to know when to back off and when to go for the sale itself. That old thing TIMING once again. If you go out on a date and you expect something too quickly you will probably end up with nothing. But if you go with the flow and don't push or rush it, much more likely to unfold the way you want. Same thing in sales. You are romancing. romancing a vision or a product or an idea or a service or whatever it is you are trying to sell. And if you are a good romancer, you can CREATE, Need, want and desire. You can illustrate value and benefits. But to do all that, you need to overcome all the objections. You can't ignore them. Once you ignore the objection, you lose. You may be able to skirt the issue once, but if it comes up again and you have no answer, Go home. You lose. No sale!
I know when we talk sales the first thing most think about is a Used Car Salesman because they are the worst and the lowest on the food chain. Most have had their job for days and not years. It costs nothing to hire them and most get fired within 6 weeks. That is not the sales I am talking about today. I am talking about a much more sophisticated type of sale where there is a common goal and the sales person can be your guide to get what you Need, want and desire. Like a concierge for example. They are in sales, but it is a soft sell. Time shares are a hard sell.
Sometimes you only get one shot at making a sale so you have to go for the fences pretty quickly. Other sales take months or even years. That is a very sophisticated sale with lots of time invested.
Sales is an art. Sales is a science. Sales is your ticket to eating for as long as you live. Sales is nothing more than a meeting of the minds with a reward.