Everyone is in sales. Why? Because from the time we wake up until our heads hit the pillow at night, we are continually: communicating, negotiating, persuading, influencing and selling ideas.
Do you want to nail the sale? The tool I use is called the Mackay Sales Scalpel. It's my sure-fire way to sharpen and pinpoint every sales situation.
As I see it, expert selling demands five essentials:
- Fire – the drive to strive.
- Formulate – the art of planning.
- Fascinate – the gift of sizzle.
- Follow-up – the discipline to control.
- Finalize – opening the door to maximum opportunity.
Let's start with Fire. You have to have fire. You have to love the fight. You have to know how to ignite it and to keep it lit.
When you love what you do, you will never have to work another day in your life. In fact, the subtitle to one of my books reads: “Do what you love. Love what you do. Deliver more than you promise.” That's the spirit of the salesperson's creed.
When times are tough, it may not be your fault for being down. But it is always your fault for not getting up. You have to be a believer to be an achiever. Only a fired-up, high-energy workplace ignites tomorrow's ideas. The job of sales management? It's to keep the fire roaring.
But no amount of fire will take you anywhere without a plan. People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan. That brings us to ingredient #2 of the Mackay Sales Scalpel: Formulate. You need to formulate a plan.
Central to your plan: Figure out how you'll demonstrate the
product. A salesperson tells, a good salesperson explains, and a great salesperson demonstrates.
Dawn Dishwashing liquid came up with a brilliant product demonstration. Remember the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010? Dawn went to work sprucing up oil-caked wild ducks and made them spanking clean using their product. What could be more convincing? Great salespeople are always on the lookout for potent proof of product effectiveness. Dawn seized an unforgettable moment.
Statistics are at the heart of formulating your plan, starting with where you get the bulk of your business. Can you identify the top 20 percent of your customers? Most sales people are familiar with the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Well, this trend is headed strongly for 90/10. That gives you a great idea of how to prioritize your time.
The third essential of the Mackay Sales Scalpel is Fascinate. Advertising pioneer David Ogilvy said no one ever sold anyone anything by boring them to death. There's not a lot of difference between showmanship and salesmanship. Mostly, you have to be likable, pleasant and listen well. In our cold and unfriendly world, it can be fascinating to meet up with a genuine, honest and attentive person. I have never known anyone to buy from someone they don’t like.
Want to fascinate people? Start by smiling and listening. Oh yes, there's one other thing to keep in mind, but you probably know that already: The sweetest sound in the English language is the sound of your name on someone else’s lips.
That brings us to the fourth element of the Mackay Sales Scalpel: Follow-through.
Why is follow-through so important? Selling is easy, but only if you work hard at it. You have to do the details – relentlessly.
Few things drive repeat sales more than expert customer service. No customer service, and pretty soon, no business.
In customer service, nothing counts like honoring commitments and meeting deadlines. In sales, you have to nail the exact practices beforehand with manufacturing, IT, distribution, finance and other pertinent departments.
The key is to latch onto your customers and hold them fast. Don't just meet their needs. Anticipate them. Don't wait for them to tell you there's a problem. Go out and ask them if there is a problem.
Now we come to Finalize—the fifth and final edge of the Mackay Sales Scalpel. It’s all about closing.
The close is only the very last stage of the process. You'll never close effectively without mastering the whole process of negotiating first. Find ways for both sides to legitimately win. At any close, the super salesperson is already thinking about the service needed to support the deal or the referrals that a satisfied customer is bound to deliver.
Mackay’s Moral: The sale begins when the customer says yes.
By Harvey Mackay