Want to know that the Three R’s of Selling are?
I am sure you have heard the saying: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That’s all well and good, but what if we turned that on its head slightly. “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!”
In the majority of my writing, I have reminded you all of the importance of business relationships. The reasons why we must remember that the person we are selling to, is in fact a human being just like us with their own emotions and their own problems waiting for us to solve. I have also given you simple ideas on how to develop these relationships and earn that trust early on in the sales cycle. But one thing is still missing; it’s all well and good having plenty of friends and being the most likeable in a prospects address book, but that’s not going to help you hit your sales targets, is it?
Closing the sale is the ultimate end game for all of us. Our jobs really are to open a prospect up, tease them with a solution to a problem, and then go on to encourage that prospect to turn into a fully-fledged customer. There is no point in going into detail on the best ways to close a deal, we all have our own ways to do so and in my eyes, these techniques will vary from business to business. However, it is key to point out that you must never forget this part of your job! I have worked with many people whom have been excellent relationship builders and will work tirelessly at discovering everything they possibly can from a prospect and yet will never have the nerve to close the deal, or as some will say, to ask for the sale. I can guarantee that you will not get too far in your career without being bold enough to close the sale and I am sure right now there is someone you can think of whom is like this; a great listener, but nervous when it comes to getting the signature on the dotted line.
The issue with closing a sale is that many people then forget to maintain the relationship thereafter and will not utilise the relationship to unleash the “Three R’s Of Selling.”
What are the “Three R’s Of Selling” I hear you ask? Well, these three ‘R’s’ are three key elements to the sales process which many people often overlook, and without them your pipeline can dry up fast enough for your sales manager to notice.
Enough teasing; I am talking about Referrals, Recommendations and Repeat business. You knew that really! These three elements of selling will keep you at the top of your game. Your sales will go through the roof, you will be noticed for your recent surge in revenue and most importantly your customers will be satisfied.
When was the last time you closed a sale and asked your customer for a referral? Your customer will have a network close to them full of similar people whom could quite easily use your product or service so you certainly have to think ahead and ask for a referral. It is so easy to do so and yet many people in our profession either forget to ask, or are too shy to ask. What I will say to you is this – asking for a referral is in no way scarier than asking for a sale. What’s the worst that can happen? A rejection? You have handled thousands of those in your career so don’t fear that. But what about the best case scenario; a customer handing you their whole phone book and telling you to call as many people as you like and to tell them that Mr Smith referred you? There’s no better endorsement than that. A referral can open up so many doors for you and your business, so make sure you put it at the very top of your to do list following the sale.
I know, I know, to some degree a recommendation is very similar to a referral but for my “Three R’s of Selling” to work, I needed another word beginning with R. Having said that, to me there is a distinct difference – just hear me out. A referral to me is an on the spot endorsement. It is quite raw, a referral is a customer pointing you in the direction of one of their contacts and allowing you to use their name as a foot in the door. A recommendation can occur weeks, months and potentially years after the sale is made. A recommendation is a customer talking to one of their network, listening to the problems they are hoping to resolve in either their business or personal life, and your customer recommending you as the person to solve that problem. This is why you must remain on top of your relationships and stay in the forefront of your customer’s minds. If you just sell and dash, will your customer recommend you to others?
The Holy Grail of sales is repeat business. A one off sale will make you a quick bit of money, but it is returning customers whom will make you successful. The business leaders that surround us are those that develop business links and business relationships and continue to grow sales in the existing channels. It is much more profitable for any company to grow their existing accounts than it is to go out and find more. By closing a sale and remaining in close contact with your customer you are more than likely going to see repeat business. Once a sale is closed, a trust is developed. I am nervous every time I try out a new hairdresser. Will this new salon cut my hair as good as my last? As soon as the first cut has been applied, and I am left with a haircut even David Beckham would be proud of? Will I be so nervous to go to that same salon for a second cut? Of course not! The same applies to your customer. If they have bought from you before, they will be more than likely to try another product or service you also offer.
In our ever changing industry, one thing has always remained consistent. Our industry is full of terms such as Business to Business, Gatekeepers, Pipelines, Leads and so on and so forth. But we would be foolish to forget what we got into this industry for – our customers. The relationship we hold with our customers is the key ingredient to ensuring our customer gets the very best service from us at all times and being a member of the ISM, I know this is close to your heart.
I would love to know your thoughts. Am I talking sense, or am I missing something?
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