10 commandments of selling by mark matteson
"I am typing this on my brand new MacBook Air laptop (it weighs only 2#!)
on a flight to Houston, TX. I went to the Apple store to get information
about backing up my information on the Cloud, sort out an email issue and
learn more about i-tunes. I left with a brand new computer!? You see, the
good folks at Apple are brilliant in how they sell. It’s selling without selling.
I never have an appointment, yet rarely do I wait more than ten minutes to
have some bright young person help me. First they serve you with a smile
and solve your sticky and frustrating problems with great service, education
and a positive attitude. All the while, they build relationships one-to-one.
They are always glad to see you. They out-care the competition. Oh yes,
and they have really cool stuff! Let’s be honest, Apple products are sexy,
fast, and unique. She offered me a choice. When she asked for my credit card
to swipe her i-phone, like a kid giving his money to the popsicle truck guy,
without missing a beat, I reached in wallet and mechanically handed over
my credit card. I was suddenly $1,500 poorer and happy about it. I never
knew what hit me. Steve Jobs was a genius. Trust, Relationship, Competence
and Timing. Like four legs of a chair, all four must be in place to
close the business.
I have been teaching other people how to sell for quite a while now, over 25
years. Few things are more rewarding than when a seminar attendee
emails or calls me to say that they applied the principles I shared and they
closed 11 out of the last 13 proposals. It happens a lot. The credit goes to
the person who takes the information and runs with it. I lay out a buffet,
they have to eat. Here are ten of my favorite dishes. Good eating. Let’s
call them “The 10 Commandments of Selling”. Submitted for your approval.
1. The Hour Of Power
Since about 1988, I have been devouring sales books, hundreds of authors
and experts. I start my day reading a book in alignment with my #1 Goal.
It gives me inspiration, education and ideas to get more business. Like a
pond with a stream of fresh water, ideas flow in. Our Hour of Power needs
to start with a book. Read 20-minutes first thing in the morning in sales.
Next, write our sales goal at the top of a piece of paper or our journal.
“How much by when?” List five reasons we want that goal. Think. Percolate.
Ponder. Mull. Conceive. Feel. Visualize. Imagine. The last 20 minutes
is invested in asking: “What are the six most vital actions we must take today
to move us toward our goal?” 30-days of The Hour of Power will transform
our professional effectiveness and sales results. 90-days will change
our lives forever! If we improve 1% a day for 90-days, we will become
twice as effective.
2. Set Small, Achievable Goals Each Day
How many phone calls, emails, letters? Pick a number. I spoke to 400
sales professionals from AFLAC in Wisconsin. I asked the number one
producer the secret of his success. He paused for a moment and replied: “I
make 40 calls a day, quack loudly every day and offer my prospects a
choice of yeses.” Activity, Pride, Options. If our boss tells us to make five
calls a day, we make ten! That’s 50 a week, 200 a month, 2400 in a year.
All that activity must pay off. The discipline and consistency is the key.
Sales is both an Art and Science. Activity is the Science part of the equation.
3. Ask Delighted Clients for Two Names
The best source of new business are delighted past clients. Word of
mouth. Referrals. Follow up with new clients 3-6 months into the relationship.
Ask: “Just calling to see if we met or exceeded your expectations.” if
the answer is no, right the wrong. If the answer is yes, ask for two names.
“Who are your best buddies in your industry?” “Who are your favorite
peers?” “Would you be so kind as to introduce me to them?” A personal
introduction face to face is best. Next best is a phone call, after that, an
email intro. We are piggy backing on the credibility and relationship. It’s a
warm call. If they are happy with our product or service, I have found three
out of four people will be happy to make the introduction. We must ask!
“Unassertive sales people have skinny kids!”
4. Qualify, Qualify, Qualify
It does not matter what industry we are in, real estate, contracting, wireless
communications, distribution, manufacturing, software, how well we qualify
our prospects (and DIS-Qualify) will determine our success in selling.
“Spend time with people who can and will buy!” was the advice I received
from a top producer 25 years ago. It was quite simply the best advice I ever
received in sales. Are we dealing with the person who can sign the check?
Are they the economic buyer? The harder they are to see, the easier they
are to sell. Why? Because if the person you are dealing with has skin in
the game, they usually have the budget as well. The question to ask at the
end of our meeting is: “If I could, would you?” “If I could cut your turnover
in half in the next six months, would you authorize an agreement this
week?” Qualifying is a feeling, its visceral. I always knew whether I made
a sale in that first visit. It’s body language, tone of voice, interest in you,
your product or service and the kinds of buying questions they ask. We
need to plan our questions in advance, memorize the sequence. Start with
“How did you get started in this business?” and dominate the listening.
5. Dominate the Listening
I am astonished in the sales seminars I have conducted over the last twenty-
five years how few truly great active listeners exist. Listening is like
math. Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Trig....there are different levels of skill.
Most sales people never get past Geometry. Listen actively, pause 3-5
seconds, question to clarify and paraphrase what you hear. Simple, not
easy. Can we get people to talk for 20-30 minutes without them knowing
they are doing all the talking? Are we hanging on their every word or simply
and transparently waiting to talk or tell our story. That’s the test of our
listening skills. It’s not about you! It’s about the prospect, their issues, their
challenges, their frustrations. We need to learn how to start a conversation.
Study any detective from Sherlock Holmes to Robert Gorin (Law and
Order-Criminal Intent). As they ask open-ended questions, they are ever
studying their suspect. Looking for clues. We are all detectives. Ask and
Listen. A good friend of mine is fond of saying, “I never miss an opportunity
to shut up!” Know when to stop talking. It’s easy to talk too long. Why?
Ego, pride, fear. Think twice, speak once (or not at all). Leave them wanting
more. Less is more. Find out what they need and then help them get it!
6. Remember the Platinum Rule
The Golden Rule says: “Treat (or communicate) others the way YOU want
to be treated.” My Platinum Rule says: “Treat (and communicate) with
people the way THEY like to treated.” My son’s college basketball coach
has become a good friend. He is text guy. I don’t think I have ever called
him on the phone and had him answer. When I text him, I get a text back in
30-seconds. Auditory, Kinesthetic and Visual. Auditories like phone calls,
Kinesthetics like texting, Visuals like Skype and Go To Meetings. Surrender
to the way THEY like to talk, not the way you like to. It matters. It’s
about being OTHER-Centered vs. SELF-Centered.
7. Gain an Advance
An advance is “the next step” in the selling process. It could mean a second
visit, this time with the board, a tour of their facility, a survey, some indication
that we are moving forward. Sometimes the prospect must tell us
what is next. “Where do we go from here?” we might ask; or “What is the
next step for us?” Again, their body language, tone of voice, level of involvement
will tell us their degree of readiness. Say what you see. “I get a
sense you are excited as I am about the possibility of working together.”
They will agree and guide you to the advance, the next step in the sales
8. Put Together a Solid Proposal
An agreement is a summary, not an exploration. It’s a paraphrase of what
the prospect said to us, our conversation’s main points. It’s what we discussed
and determined. It’s the objectives that matter most to the economic
buyer and why they want them; moreover, it’s what it will mean to the
buyer and/or the organization. Methodologies, Approaches, Timelines, and
a Choice of Yeses. I prefer three options. At the end, insert relevant attributable
quotes from previous clients where it makes sense, even a list of
clients. When someone else blows your horn, it travels twice as far.
9. Ask for the Sale
Go through the agreement, making certain all the decision makers are in
the room, on the line or in your Skype/Go To Meeting. Trial Closes are always
fun. “Did you want us to do this in the morning or afternoon?” “Will
you be using a credit card or is a check better?” Say it with confidence.
Expect a yes. If we have done everything we have discussed, we are in a
great position to close this new business. I teach my clients to use “The
Silent Pen” close. We simply put the agreement in front of our prospect,
turn to the signatory page, slide a pen across the desk, smile, lean back
and remain silent. The first one to talk...loses. But in reality, we both win.
Try it. It’s fun. Moreover, it works!
10. Go the Extra-VALUE Mile
I reserve the right to add more time and value. I recently conducted a one
hour keynote for one of the fastest growing wireless communication companies
(think pink), an amazing group of superstar business to business
sales professionals. I was scheduled to speak at 2:50 pm to 4:00 pm. I
showed up at 0730, to listen to their internal speakers, observed their
breakout sessions, enjoy fireside chat with the CEO (John Legere), breakfast,
lunch and dinner. Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by
watching!” It allowed me to truly tailor my talk to their culture, language,
areas of expected growth. The frosting on the cake was, I surprised the
audience by handing out 200 copies of my first book, “Freedom From
Fear”. I never tire of standing ovations, they are good for the soul. I signed
books for an hour afterward. I was invited to bowling and cocktails. At dinner
the CEO said to me, “You did a great job. There are some other areas I
think we can use your services. Your talk was spot on. Great job. I am going
to read your book tonight and send you an email on my thoughts.
Thanks again.” The VP that hired me was beaming. It was the Extra-VALUE
Mile Smile. What can you do to add value? What can you offer none
of your competitors do? How can you delight your customers with more
than they expected?
I love this new Mac. It weighs two pounds, is lightening fast and cool.
Thanks Steve Jobs, may you rest in peace.
It really is true, we can have everything we want in life, if we only help
enough other people get what they want, first. Make it a great day…unless
you have other plans!
Mark Matteson - Author