Let's Talk Sales
We all start businesses for different reasons, but the catalyst for me was making myself redundant from a job where I was an owner in the business. It sounds strange, I know. Normally when you are an owner, your position as an employee is secure. But when you truly believe that businesses are there to meet the needs of their clients then there is a higher priority at play - and that priority is how to best serve your customers.
So, I suppose you are wondering how I found myself in that position … well let me tell you the story.
People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
This is one of those sayings that everyone knows and uses … and we all agree it's true ... but do you know how to apply it to your business? Just saying it isn't enough. In order to use this valuable tool, we have to action it. It has to be what your current and potential clients experience.
Building trust in your business goes far deeper and wider than understanding what people want and having some social proof. Trust is built over time and through consistent interactions that are clearly targeted to meet your client’s logical and emotional needs.
In 1997 Steve Jobs was back at Apple. He went back to basics with what Apple stood for, what they believed in, and where they fitted in the world.
Here is what Steve Jobs said:
- It’s not to talk about speed and fees.
- It’s not to talk about bits and megahertz.
- It’s not to talk about why we are better.
"Our customers want to know who is Apple and what do we stand for? Where do we fit in this world?"
"Apple at its core: We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."
Brand … not product!
Retaining and attracting loyal customers has never been so important, with the coronavirus outbreak and responses really testing the sustainability, agility and adaptability of many companies.
It is not simply for now, our post-COVID reality is one where customer loyalty will be of prime importance. The American Express’ Shop Small campaign and survey found that 2/3 of businesses listed returning customers as key to their recovery.
So how do we do this?
We often ‘think’ that we know the value we provide to our clients. Inevitably this becomes a list of things that we ‘think’ that we offer, of the products and services, of our interpretation of the features and benefits. I want to tell you why this misses the mark and what to do about it.
There are two key problems with this:
- It is from our perspective, and we (as the expert) understand so much more about the work that goes into this delivery and what people ‘should’ appreciate
- It uses our words and understanding
Let's look at how to fix that.
We see businesses fail, and there are always lessons, but the failure of PurpleBricks in Australia has me intrigued! I am interested to know how a business that has been so successful in other markets can get it so wrong here. There s some great commentary from others in the property arena, but I wanted to take a broader look at what went wrong, and what established businesses and start-ups alike can learn from this.
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard people blame commissions for bad sales practices, well, I’d be living in the south of France right now. I have worked as a sales professional for most of my adult life and I can tell you one truth as a salesperson, sales manager, and business owner: the salespeople who focus on commissions never win.
Yes, they make sales, in the short term. But in the long term, they get caught out.
They get caught with their hand in the cookie jar because they don’t show enough care for their clients and the businesses they are working with. This style of sales is slowly dying out. Why? Because it doesn’t work.
The Banking Royal Commission has brought into highlight the evil side of greed, both institutional and personal. The report stated that “Providing a service to customers was relegated to second place. Sales became all important. "
Sales is important. But only when the sale truly reflects a good decision for your customer. This has been proven in all successful small to medium businesses where the question of profit versus serving your customer's best interest is a constant. This proves that the right culture and leadership can and does overcome this obstacle.
This week I was able to comment on this on ABC Radio Melbourne with Raphael Epstein on the Drive Program.
Storytelling is a great way to get people to understand and engage with your business. It works because as well as telling the listener about your business, stories convey a deeper meaning about why you are in business and how you operate and treat your clients.
Find out why sales storytelling is so important and why they work.