What are the top answers to the top questions?

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Published: December 12,2005

I did an interview the other day and luckily, I recorded it.

The questions applied to everyone. The answers will apply to you. All you have to do, is apply them yourself.

What are the top three complaints that you always hear from salespeople? And what are your suggestions to make them “all-better?”

1. “My product is becoming a commodity.” REALITY: The reason salespeople say this is because of their own inability to differentiate themselves from their competition. MY SUGGESTION: Stop talking price. Start talking value.

Eliminate the word “commodity” from your lexicon. Instead of saying, “my product is becoming a commodity,” scream, “MY PRODUCT IS THE GREATEST!” The first sale is the one you make to yourself.

2. “My customers are all taking bids, doing reverse auctions, or only taking the lowest price.” REALITY: You’re dealing with the wrong customer. Or, you’re dealing with the wrong person at your customer’s location. MY SUGGESTION: Low-level people buy price, and try to save money. High-level people buy value, and try to make a profit. Deal with high-level people — and you’ll make high-level sales. CEOs want to make a profit, not save a few dollars.

3. “I can’t get to the decision maker.” REALITY: There’s a good reason you can’t get to the decision maker. The decision maker sees no reason to meet with you. MY SUGGESTION: If there were a VALUABLE reason for them, beyond buying your product or service, they would be eager to meet with you. HINT: Profit, productivity, loyalty, morale.

What are the key elements to establish an inviting context to buy?

Think about yourself as a customer. What do you like? What do you expect? How do you want to be treated? Do you ever go to a store to be “sold?” NO, you go to “buy.” The simple answer is: Do it the way you would want it done to you.

What do you do to keep the momentum of a winning sales team?
Senior management sets goals in favor of themselves and the company. But rarely, if ever, are goals set in the favor of the salesperson. Typically, salespeople are expected to “perform,” or be replaced. Little or no time is spent on supporting the salesperson’s success, and even less time and money is invested in maintaining and building relationships with existing customers. “Marketing” dollars are typically spent fishing for new customers — ignoring the most valuable asset in the company — existing customers. It is at this point where the salesperson becomes frustrated, even angered, and eventually will leave. Senior management has a primary responsibility: maintain existing customers, and increase the amount of profitable sales. And the only way to do this is by supporting the sales team in every way. The key is the word “encouragement.” The flash-point (the point at which leaving becomes a viable option) is the word “threat.” Set achievable goals in terms of the salesperson. Encourage salespeople to succeed by supporting and training them. And invest an equal amount of dollars in keeping your existing customers as you do in attracting new ones. And as if by magic — you will have a loyal, productive, profitable, happy sales force.

If there’s only one thing that you want salespeople to always remember, what would that be? If you love what you do, your sales days will never be workdays — they’ll be holidays.

If you love what you do, the belief system that you have in your product will deepen. If you love what you do, the passion of the message that you carry to your customer will be transferable, and they will catch your enthusiasm. If you love what you do, you don’t have to sell people — they will buy from you.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
salesman@gitomer.com.

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