Monday, April 03, 2006

Secrets of Successful Sales

Being fascinated by success stories, I cherished a classical book that was reprinted recently. It is an autobiography by Frank Bettger who was one of the highest paid salesmen in the U.S. the book is titled: How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

Bettger tells about his field experience in sales, the secrets of his strength, and how he turned failure into unparalleled success, customers’ respect, and fame. His proven success formula is based on his keen insights on:

· The power of enthusiasm in sales and how it boosts any salesman’s salesmanship skills and convinces the clients of how much the salesperson ‘believes’ in the products he is selling.
· Conquering fear and building up self-confidence through product knowledge and rehearsing the sales initial presentation.
· Preparing for the sales interviews through advance meticulous research on the client and his needs.
· Selling the sales interview which precedes the actual product’s sale. It is the sale before the sale’ and unless you do it right the first time there is no way you can proceed and eventually close the sale.

Applying Bettger’s views on effective sales behavior, invites an in-depth examination of five areas that any good salesperson should totally master in their related knowledge. In my opinion they are all vital to the success of any salesperson, or what I call the ‘Six Ks’ areas. These are:

1. Knowing yourself which has to do with the individual’s personal qualities. Each person should be sincere in acknowledging his weakness and draw plans to overcome them, while knowing his strengths and consistently building on them.
2. Knowing your company. It is important to feel proud of the company you represent when selling. Knowing your company’s history, achievements, and track record, would help you sell its image first. Consequently, selling its products becomes a lot easier.
3. Knowing your product. Knowledge of your product is essential as the clients would always expect a salesperson to tell them how the product is going to satisfy their needs and how it is different from the competition. They would even respect the product’s limitations if they were candidly told about them.
4. Knowing your competition. Awareness of the competitors and their range of products and their qualities, is a wealth of knowledge that would guarantee your clients respect for you when your objectively compare your product and their within the context of ‘value for money.’
5. Knowing your customers. Constant contact, vigilance, and research to define your customers would save both time and cost before launching your product. This will also help you focus your activities as far as customer service requirements are concerned.
6. Knowing your global opportunities. Businesses of today are becoming more and more global rather than local. With the revolution of the communication technology, crossing regional borders to reach other markets is now becoming easier and more accessible. E-commerce is rapidly escalating and developing into a lifestyle, and the process of ordering goods and services and paying for them is becoming faster and more efficient.

However, the platinum rule of successful sales, regardless of what you are selling, will remain ‘excelling customer expectations’. Bettger sums it up in one sentence that eloquently says it all: ‘Sell the people the way they like to be sold.’

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