Three words – Ack! Oy! Dohhh!
When I graduated college, I got a job selling long-distance telephone service to companies. Every day, I had to pick a building in my territory, take the elevator to the top floor, then start knocking on doors, saying, “Hi, I’m just stopping by to talk to the president about your telecommunications needs.”
By the end of the day, I’d been shown a sign that read, “Every 4th salesperson will be shot, the 3rd just left,” no less than a dozen times. Cute. Made me want to throw up, give up and go home.
To say I sucked at that job would be an understatement.
I didn’t last that long, but still, I think everyone should have to spend even a smallish bit of time in the rough and tumble world of outside sales. Because it forces you to remember there’s another human being on the other end of every conversation.
And, to realize sales is about listening and solving, not speaking and forcing.
Since then, I’ve learned a smidge more about selling ideas, services and products, both to individuals and companies. And, I’ve also become more than a little obsessed with the psychology of influence and persuasion.
That, in fact, is what underlies my obsession with marketing and copywriting. I’m fascinated by what it takes to move someone from cold prospect to happy and sold.
There’s a lot written on the dynamics of personal persuasion and sales. But when you’re selling to someone who works in a larger organization, there’s an extra layer of subtext you need to understand to be able to operate successfully.
So, I thought I’d share 7 corporate sales triggers that, acted upon, will immediately elevate your ability to close sales on a larger, entity-level faster and while having a lot more fun along the way.
The biggest thing to realize is that, even though you’re looking to solve the problem of an entity…
Businesses don’t decide, people do.
Think in terms of not only the benefit to the entity, but to the individual who has the ability to say yes. And realize they are as much motivated by personal concern as they are business benefit…even though they’ll rarely ever own up to that.
So, during your conversation, you’ve got to be able to slam-dunk answers to…
7 sales corporate sales triggers, all of which are being asked by your potential buyer:
- Will this make me look good to my supervisors and their supervisors?
- Will this not make me look like a total idiot if it goes bad?
- Will this make my day, my job and my life easier?
- Will this make my supervisors’ lives easier…because if their lives are easier, they’ll be in a better mood, and they may even credit me with the good decision, which means I’ll be in a better mood.
- Will it put money in my pocket?, directly or indirectly?
- Will this make my reports’ lives easier?
- How will this help the company?
Challenge is, more than half the questions will never actually be asked out loud, they’ll only be wondered.
And, those same questions most often cannot be answered overtly without being crass or disrespectful.
Still, they must be answered.
You’ll just need to be more subtle in demonstrating answers to these questions through examples, metaphors, stories and data.
In the end, remember these three corporate sales credos:
- Solve, don’t sell.
- Understand the personal subtext and triggers of the person with the ability to say yes and speak to them
- Be honest and respectful
So, anyone else have any fun sales stories?
Or, any tools or triggers to add?
Share away in the comments below?
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