Every top professional knows that success is built on executing the fundamentals. But the more you know, the easier it is to overlook the basics.
So take a few minutes to freshen up on these iron laws of selling – principles we all learned back in Selling 101 but that are easily forgotten as our careers progress:
1. Thou shalt not take the competition’s name in vain. You’re immediately suspect when you speak badly about them. More to the point, what’s to gain from talking about the competition any more than you absolutely have to?
There are only a few times when you should focus on competitors:
- when customers ask
- when you’re trying to win a competitor’s customer away, or
- when you have a compelling – and unanswerable – advantage (especially if the competition is a market leader).
Even then, return the focus to you and what you offer, not what the other seller lacks.
2. Thou shalt not put all thy eggs in one basket. Whenever you depend on a specific piece of business coming through, it probably won’t. Another way of stating the case: Pursue all qualified prospects with vigor. You never know which ones will come through.
3. Thou shalt not procrastinate. The funny thing about opportunity is how fleeting it is. While you’re thinking about what needs to happen, circumstances are occurring that could undermine your plans. Act early, while you still can.
4. Thou shalt prospect during good times. When you’re flush, it’s easy to tell yourself you’re just too busy to prospect. Don’t kid yourself. You’re not too busy; you’d just rather not do it. And if you are too busy, let the low-priority stuff slide. Prospecting is what’s going to pay your bills next year.
5. Thou shalt build trust. It’s nice to be liked by your customers. But that’s not why they buy from you. They buy because they trust you. In fact, if they trust you, they don’t even have to like you all that much. Bring your prospects to the point where they believe in you and the sale is pretty much done. And remember the old adage – reputations made over a lifetime can be lost in an instant.
6. Thou shalt not think only of today. Remember, Noah built the ark before it was raining. Planning, planning, planning. No one should expect, once they get it right, that it will stay that way. Change is an overriding constant we face. Devote regular monthly or quarterly time to thinking about tomorrow. Know with certainty that you will have to modify, adapt and change to meet a different challenge tomorrow.
Also, see the 4th commandment.
7. Thou shalt not talk too much. You were given two ears and one mouth as a reminder to listen twice as much as you talk. When buyers are talking, you’re learning how you can serve them better. You’re finding opportunities you didn’t know existed. You’re showing the buyer that you really are committed to understanding them. When you’re talking, you’re learning nothing (unless you’re asking a question designed to get buyers talking some more.)
8. Thou shalt not depend on luck to be successful. Sales is hard work. For a multitude of reasons you don’t want to rely on luck being a lady. Often the luckiest people in the business turn out to be the hardest working.
9. Thou shalt not accept excuses from procrastinating buyers. You don’t have to be rude, but do not stop asking the difficult questions to move the business forward. Time is everything in sales. Timing for each party must be made to come together in your favor. Always remember that time is costing you money, and may kill the sale.
10. Thou shalt not blame others for thine own lack of results. We are the owners of our own successes and failures. Don’t blame others.
Source: DEC International, a prospecting and leads firm based in Marietta, GA. It specializes in lead generation in the construction industry.
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