In sales and selling, no technique or approach will work every time, all the time. Selling is numbers oriented. The more you employ an effective sales technique, the more likely success will follow. One of my 8,412 philosophical thoughts is, “Repetition is the key to success!” Don’t confuse this with the definition of insanity, which refers to doing something wrong, repeatedly, and expecting different results (sorry Mr. Einstein). Repeating effective selling techniques will inevitably result in a successful outcome. It’s noteworthy to mention that I used the phrase, “successful outcome” and not a successful sale. The reason for the distinction is that selling is usually a multi-step process. A “successful outcome” might be making an appointment or handling an objection.
The most effective sales technique is preparation! That’s it! The Holy Grail!! You now have the magic formula for success in sales and life in general. Take the rest of the day off!! Sure, it sounds relatively basic and simple, but that’s my training and coaching philosophy – the“S.E.E” method. Simple. Easy. Effective. Sales people are recognized for results, not how complicated they can make the process. There are many definitions of a sale but my favorite is, “When preparation meets opportunity.” Preparation is not always as easy as it appears. Your preparation must be refined to a science with little, if any, deviation from one similar situation to the next. Preparation should be used for all conceivable opportunities (encounters) to communicate your precise message. Preparation is not quick and simple. Each objective should have it’s own preparation. Making an appointment, obtaining customer information, communicating your product knowledge, handling objections or any other encounter requires separate preparation.
To prepare effectively you will need to view your presentation in written format. Seeing your presentation makes it easy to practice it repeatedly. Put your thoughts in your computer, netbook, tablet, PDA, smart phone or any other electronic device that you’re comfortable with. Whatever medium you use be certain you have the ability to print what you’ve written. Be disciplined, read and review what you’ve written. The most important aspect of preparation is the habit of seeing your thoughts on paper. Sit with a pencil (yes, they still make them) and a large piece of paper (larger than a napkin). Now you’re ready to review and make changes until you’re satisfied with the end result. Keep what you like and change what you don’t. Have you covered the necessary points and highlights? Will the prospect benefit? Have you anticipated possible questions and do you have the ability to answer them effectively? Have you determined exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your presentation? Will you know when you’ve accomplished your objective?
A lot of this might sound remedial. That’s because it is. Monitor, repeatedly, the results of your specific presentation to measure it’s effectiveness. Preparation is only beneficial if it’s effective. If you’re serious about selling you need to be serious about preparing for selling opportunities – planned and spontaneous.
The most effective sales technique is preparation. Practice and subscribe to this concept and watch your effectiveness in sales – and life – reach new levels of success.
Stephen - good first post. Preparation is so key. In fact I not only agree with points you shared, but take it a step further and often even utilize creative visualization techniques. Being prepared and seeing how the plan will unfold often have allow me to achieve success and push to new heights. I also feel that there is such a thing as being too prepared, so important to not try to cram everything in before the big moment (whatever that might be), but to prepare by also taking a moment to yourself to let everything sink in.
Exactly. What's also noteworthy is that too often "presenters" feel they have to go through their entire presentation for it to be effective. Every presentation a sales person prepares should have various stopping points to elicit comments and/or try to close the transaction before going through your entire prepared presentation.