Monday, December 19, 2016

Effective Sales People

Sales people are not entrepreneurs, or essentially entrepreneurs depending on the definition.  I don’t know and I don’t care, I just know they are critical to success, and are sui generis, they are not like business people.  Few people are salesfolk, and those entrepreneurs who are not must be good consumers of salesmanship if they wish to reach their goals

To be clear, what follows assumes specialty and business to business, a specific category of selling.

To proceed, the essence of selling is communication.  Everyone mentions the 80 20 rule, sales people need to spend 80% listening, and 20% talking.  The paradox is the best communicators listen most. What makes a good salesperson is they listen  Contrary to what most men think, (women just don’t listen) women are some of the best salesmen.

Salesmen match the need they heard with the solution they represent.  If not, they communicate the “mis-match” (need v offer) back to the supplier (you).

If they make a sale they communicate what they heard that would also sell (in essence a lack as opposed to a miss) back to the supplier they represent.

What makes great salespeople is they immediately qualify a buyer and detach themselves from anyone not ready, willing and able to buy on the spot.  A bartender can talk to anyone else.  Batenders make a sale to people who just want to talk.  Don’t deny a bartender his just compensation by talking to anyone who just wants to talk.

Salespeople hand out one of two things: 

1. The sales offer.  Take it or leave it.  There is no negotiation. A buyer cannot place an order until you say “no” to requests.  The irony is it is best to say no immediately, in order to fatten your order book.  As search engines, Yahoo tried to get you to stick around, Google gets rid of you as soon as it can.  Who won?

A salesperson gets either a sale, or a how come no sale. Now we switch from passion/joy to science. Science is objective knowledge established by a valid and reliable test of a hypothesis.  Your offer is the hypothesis being tested. The “how come no sale” is tabulated, as data.Also gathered are the anecdotes as to what else would sell that come with sales. The approach is to the customers, who represent a sample of the population being surveyed.  At some point you get a valid and reliable samples size from the population in which one draws the responses.  The responses need ot be valid and reliable.  The responses are data.  Now it gets tricky.
In summary, nominal variables are used to “name,” or label a series of values. Ordinal scales provide good information about the order of choices, such as in a customer satisfaction survey. Interval scales give us the order of values + the ability to quantify the difference between each one.
The entrepreneurs job is to be in essence a clerk, to collect and distribute information between all of the acrors that make commerce happen.  You are compensated in the measure you effectively assess information, collect and distribute, and effect change in the form of creating customers through problems solved.  All products and services are solutions to problems.  There are no solutions that cannot be improved upon.

Now it gets trickier. Assuming you got the science right, then your job is to examine the feedback, and it’s source, and match the least change necessary indicated in the data with the least amount of expense to effect the most customer acquisition.  The feedback is the warrant people need to work with you.  You've got it, you share it.  Hegelian dialectic kicks in.  You propose a thesis based on the information.  Someone proposes an antithesis. Between the two of you, or someone else, develops a synthesis, better all around, often.  The joy part of the passion joy is atmospheric.  Steve Jobs blurted out "insanely great" during these data-application/product-development sessions.

Never try for the big score; progress is in infitismal increments.This is in essence fail fast, fail cheap.  You don’t go after the massive game-changer, that's not manageable and it will be taken away from you.  

Recall there was a second thing salesfolk hand out?

2. A pre-composed article touting your offer.  These include a $50 bill, with a promise of another $50 if the article is legit industry press.  You have about 12 versions of this, to hand out to reporters.  In this way they can just edit slightly the article to make it sound like they wrote it, and put their byline on it, and turn it in as though they are working hard while on assignment.

The $1200 at risk is the cheapest and most effective advertising in the universe, assuming a couple of elements.

The elements of an effective PR release we’ll deal with at another time.

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.


Anonymous said...

Hi John,
Is Hong Kong the major global trade show center that entrepreneurs should focus on? Are there other cities that host comparable trade shows, like Berlin or London?

John Wiley Spiers said...

For every industry, there is a premier show. Sometimes that show is in Hong Kong. And the Canton Fair, a biggy, is in Guangzhou, might as well be Hong Kong. Now say the premier jewelry show in the world is in New york City (I have no idea), then that is where you ought to visit. But the jewelry show in Hong Kong may be a better bet, since it will have a wider group of people AND more entrepreneurs, people starting out. Where will you get the most inspiration and information? I'd bet on Hong Kong.