Book of the Week: The Sales Bible – The Ultimate Sales Resource

In this weeks edition of the “Book of the Week” I would like to present you “The Sales Bible – The Ultimate Sales Resource” by Jeffrey Gitomer published by John Wiley & Sons © 2003, 342 pages

Take-Aways

  • Be positive — always.
  • Set clear goals and work toward them.
  • Plan your network, and work to develop the network you plan.
  • It’s who you know — so know and be known to the right people.
  • Keep a high profile in your community; volunteer, lead drives and be visible.
  • Help other people achieve their goals and they will help you get to yours.
  • Have a great time all the time! Even cold calls can be fun if you think they are.
  • Keep your eyes open; always scout for opportunities to win by serving others.
  • Think of every relationship as a long-term relationship.
  • It’s all about attitude, confidence and good will — build them ceaselessly.

Relevance

What You Will Learn

  1. Techniques for selling successfully
  2. Many specific tips about selling habits and practices.

Recommendation
This comprehensive catalogue of sales tips, maxims and never-to-be-forgotten rules of thumb should be on every salesperson’s desk. The author’s advice on selling in a down economy is particularly useful. In fact, all that he has to say reduces to three or four core messages, repeated in a variety of modes and keys throughout the book. But these principles bear repeating, and it may be that one formulation will miss, while another will hit the mark. The author’s relentless optimism, boosterism and cheerleading will put some readers off, but those readers probably won’t be salespeople, who need all the encouragement they can get. I recommend this solid and useful book, and welcomes its up-beat attitude.

Abstract

Why Another Book on Sales
Plenty of books on sales are already available. Why another? Simply put, because the market has changed. Old ways of selling won’t work anymore. The new rules of selling require you to know and to master the old ways, but to use them in a different fashion. Styles in selling, like styles in clothing, change. Simply put, the new rules are:

  • Sell what the customer desires or requires, not what you happen to have.
  • Get personal; collect as much information about your customer as possible, and use it.
  • Become a friend, because people will buy from their friends, but don’t trust salespeople.
  • Compete on the basis of strong relationships.
  • Find things that you and the customer have in common — sports, family, golf — and build on these connections.
  • Gain the trust of your customers.
  • Have a great time, and have a great sense of humor.
  • Don’t ever even look like you’re trying to sell.

Tough Times
Practice each of these principles every day. They’re particularly important when times are bad. In fact, when times are really tough, the list expands. In bad economic times, when things are slow, remember these 24.5 principles of success:

  1. Competitors are targeting your customers — so protect them.
  2. Compete on relationship, not on price. Strengthen those relationships!
  3. Train now. Budget for training.
  4. Check your quality, make sure you’re best at what you have to do, cut the rest.
  5. Network like you’ve never networked before.
  6. Get visible in your community — be a leader, volunteer, make a name for yourself.
  7. Give your customers information they need and can’t get anywhere else — not only information about your product or your company, but really valuable intelligence.
  8. Your reputation is you; it’s all people know about you. Buff and burnish it.
  9. Make your decisions with your eye on where you want to be, not on your quota.
  10. People buy, even in recessions. Find ways to solve the problem, don’t just complain.
  11. Read about attitude; give it careful study. Read every day. Read Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.
  12. Invest in yourself. Invest time in building a good attitude, in making appearances that build your reputation and in networking. Never stop investing in yourself.
  13. Make differentiation real; make yourself different, impressive and memorable.
  14. Invest in your Web and Internet presence now. Use these tools!
  15. Practice, study and cultivate creativity.
  16. Learn from rejection. Make more frequent cold calls and practice different ways of handling “no.” Soon you’ll find ways to turn “no” into “yes!”
  17. Early to rise, late to bed — work while the world sleeps.
  18. Be a morning person — your mind will work better, your thoughts will be sharper.
  19. Time off the job is time to spend on a project to improve yourself. Your downtime determines your uptime’s productivity.
  20. Put your goals in front of you, repeat them daily, twice, and focus on them.
  21. Plan a series of simple, small, daily, incremental steps to reach your big goal.
  22. Back yourself with your money and your time; bet on yourself and do whatever you can to increase the odds of a payoff.
  23. Remember, it’s all about your attitude. Always be positive!
  24. Only you can make a difference — your company can’t make the difference.
  25. Actually, 24.5 — Be childish. When did a four-year-old asking for a candy bar ever take no for an answer?

Write down your goals, and put them somewhere you’ll look every day. Get a pad of Post-it notes and stick your goals on the bedroom mirror, on the bathroom mirror, anywhere you’ll see them often. Remind yourself of these goals every day, focus and achieve!

The Rules
The rules of successful selling are:

  • Be positive and self-confident.
  • Set goals and plan to achieve them.
  • Learn the basics of selling, and practice them.
  • Know the customer; understand what he or she wants and needs.
  • Sell to serve, don’t sell to earn.
  • Make your relationships long-term.
  • Have faith in your company and your product.
  • Prepare. Look like a pro.
  • Build trust. Be candid. If you always speak truthfully you’ll never have a problem keeping your story straight.
  • Keep any promises you make.
  • Sell to the right person, the one who calls the shots.
  • Make them laugh.
  • Know your product inside out.
  • Sell what the product will do for the customer, not the product itself.
  • Don’t speak negatively about your competitor — if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.
  • Get satisfi ed customers to witness for you.
  • Pay close attention to signals that the prospect is ready to buy.
  • Be ready for the conventional, explicit objections.
  • Understand the tacit, fundamental objection and prepare to meet it.
  • Trust overcomes objections, so build trust.
  • Ask and you’ll get the sale — you have to ask, though.
  • Know when to shut up. Shut up when you should, like after you ask a closing question.
  • If you don’t make the sale by the time you have to leave, be sure to make an appointment to come back — make it before you leave, because it will only get harder to make after you’re gone.
  • Follow up. Do it again. Do it again. If it could take 10 calls, plan to make them, and make them.
  • Remember, rejection isn’t aimed at you, but at the offer you just made.
  • Be flexible. Be ready to change. Learn to change easily.
  • Obey the rules.
  • Go along to get along.
  • Luck is the product of work.
  • Don’t blame other people — take responsibility.
  • Persist, persist, persist.
  • Remember, it’s a numbers game. Figure out how many leads you need to make a sale, how many calls you need to make, how many proposals, how many appointments, how many presentations, how many follow-ups and, when you’ve calculated all of them, play the numbers.
  • Be passionate.
  • Make a strong, positive impression so people will remember you and speak well of you.
  • Have a great time!
  • Remember: attitude + humor + action = success.

Humor
Humor is a powerful asset, but you have to be careful. Remember these simple rules and techniques:

  • Break the ice with humor; you’re ahead if the prospect laughs and relaxes.
  • Don’t tell mean stories about other people. You never know who’s related to whom and how.
  • If you have to have a butt for a joke, make yourself the butt.
  • Remember, some people will never get the joke. Test it around to make sure people laugh before you tell a joke to a prospect, but don’t be discomforted if the prospect turns out to be dull.
  • Don’t tell jokes about ethnic groups unless it’s your own ethnic group.
  • Listen to the prospect and get clues about his or her disposition before you tell a joke.
  • Tell a personal, first-person story instead of a canned joke.
  • Telling an old joke that the prospect has heard will hurt you, not help you. That’s a good reason to tell personal, fi rst person stories.
  • As every comic knows, timing is everything.
  • Keep a file of jokes.
  • Off-color jokes can be dangerous to your sales success. Know your audience.
  • Use humor to turn your prospect’s skeptical questions into a sales opportunity.
  • Don’t be afraid of cold calls. They’re a great opportunity to laugh in the face of fear.

Introductions and Cold Calls
To get to know people, develop a rapid fire personal introduction. Tell the prospect who you are, and what you and your company do. As part of your introductory conversation, include a few questions to help you qualify the prospect and to get a better read on who makes decisions in the prospect’s shop. Cold calling is a basic professional skill, so first of all, think of it as fun. If you think of it as fun, it will be, and if it’s fun, you’ll make those calls and you’ll have a positive attitude, which is the most important thing. If there’s a “no soliciting” sign on the premises, ignore it. Get the name of the person who makes the decisions on the product or service you’re selling. You may have to ask for it several ways. Be creative. When you cold call on the phone, have a smile in your voice, get to the point in the first sentence or two, and use a little humor. Remember that “no” is a learning opportunity. Ask questions that make the prospect think and that give you information about the prospect. Not every cold call will be a sale, but every cold call can be valuable.

Listen and learn. Rapport is almost everything, and trust is the rest. Don’t apologize and don’t make excuses. Avoid these red-fl ag words and phrases: frankly, quite frankly, honestly, and I mean that, are you prepared to order today, how are you doing and can I help you with something.

Objections and Closing
Don’t be put off by objections. They might actually be signals that the prospect has a strong interest in your offer. Brainstorm with your reps and colleagues to identify the top objections, write them down and find ways to deal with each one. Draw up a script. Half the time, a buyer’s apparent objection conceals a real objection that you won’t be able to overcome. The other half of the time, you can overcome the prospect’s objection and sell. No way exists to know in advance which is which. When you get to the point of asking the closing question (e.g. “Would you like this in white or red?”) remember to shut up and let the prospect confirm the sale.

Conclusion
Selling isn’t rocket science, but it does take a lot of character. It takes persistence, fortitude and courage to keep plugging away in the face of rejection. To do your best, always be networking. Always be building rapport. Always be investing in yourself. Always be up. Always be closing!

About the Author
Jeffrey Gitomer is a global authority on sales and customer service. Participants in his meetings and training program have included representatives of IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Hilton Hotels, Inc. magazine, Siemens and Cintas. He writes the syndicated column, “Sales Moves,” which appears in business journals in the U.S. and Europe.


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