BY PEJMAN GHADIMI, JUNE 14, 2016 11:00 AM
Do you remember The Wolf of Wall Street scene from the movie where Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) asks his friends to sell him a pen? If not, here’s the epic scene for reference.
While that movie scene epitomizes the culture of sales, the truth remains that not all people really understand the art of sales.
More recently, I watched a contest hosted by Secret Academy teacher Grant Cardone asking people to pitch him a cup as water as a means to engage people in the idea of rethinking their sales skills and if indeed they are ‘good‘ sales people.
As I watch people pitch water or pens to validate their sales expertise, I realize that most people who believe to be great sales people don’t understand the simplest and most important aspect of selling: the idea that you are selling to people.
The concept of selling isn’t just about your product or even its features and benefits, but rather how two people come together with the intention of creating a transaction (even if at the time they meet, that wasn’t their intention).
In some businesses, the sales person is nothing more than a transaction facilitator and has very little selling to do. The majority of companies or industries who do employ sales people do so with the idea that they are an integral part of generating, converting, and closing leads into sales.
After seeing the horrific attempts that people made trying to sell water to Grant, including everything from a guy asking him if he wanted some saltine crackers, to the majority pitching him why their water was the best on earth (without even knowing what brand water it was since it was already poured in a glass), I decided to write this small article that should help you make sense of how to become a better sales person.
Selling to someone means addressing a buyer’s “needs” and turning them into “wants“, while positioning the value of such “want” ahead, so you can charge your “price” that will get the buyer their “wants” and giving you a sale (since you have what they want, and people always pay more for “wants” than “needs“).
Read that paragraph again. Maybe twice actually.
Addressing a need may also require you to educate your buyer by asking the right questions and allowing them to self-discover such a need as it pertains to them, giving them a false sense of free will, so that they don’t feel as though they have been sold on something, but rather have discovered something they want.
If you don’t position ahead of your closing pitch an expectation of value, then you will struggle to get the price you want. People don’t buy price or value, people buy perceived value as value is subjective to perspective.
I want you to re-read that a dozen times if you have to until it really sinks in as it is the core of being a great sales person. I am going to now break down for you how to actually so just that by understanding these three core fundamentals.
Overcoming the Fear of Failure: Confidence, confidence, confidence. You heard it before and I’ll say it again. People who are too confident in themselves have a very hard time being sales people. Partly because you have to overcome the idea of rejection, and partly because no ones likes to buy from people who don’t know what they are selling or may not actually believe in it either.
The reason why this is so important is because the core of why a sale occurs is typically based on the idea that a certain element of trust exists either in the sales person, their product, their knowledge, or all of the above. Without the trust it becomes very hard to close a sale on the spot, not to mention at the desired price.
If you don’t get your client’s trust, you are typically then exposed to obstacles like “I want to shop around” or “I’ll let you know if I have interest at a later time”.
A person may want what you are selling, but either isn’t comfortable buying it from you or doesn’t believe they are getting a worthwhile price based on their perception of what something cost.
Trust is the key to that comfort we must strive to create within our clients during the sales cycle process, which is going to be broken down in my latest book: Sales 101 – A People Centric Approach to Better Selling. You can sign up below to get early bird access.
In the context of selling someone a glass of water, the person has to trust that the information provided about the benefits of water, or that you indeed have better water than others actually be true. This is why when you start a conversation with “This is the best water for you, and your body needs 10 glasses a day” it means absolutely nothing without trust.
Understanding a Need and Converting it to a Want: Everyone has needs, even if they don’t think they do.
For example, everyone needs to exercise, even if they don’t want to, or think they look good enough. When people are forced to pay for things they need like toothpaste, car repair, or other expenses that do not bring them pleasure to spend money on, they tend to want to spend the least amount of money as possible.
This is often why people use coupons to purchase their groceries, not the dress or suit they are going to wear at a wedding. In other words, no one likes to pay more than they have to for their necessities.
This is especially important to remember as any sales person who caters to people’s needs will always be in a price war with competitors and have to justify your price (this is because people don’t see value in paying more for necessities).
It is key to convert people’s needs into wants, making them more comfortable to spend more and as a result, seeking value rather than price.
While you can tell someone they need water, it isn’t going to make them pay for it because they’ll argue they can buy it at the grocery store, or getting free at the faucet.
The way you convert a need into a want is by carefully positioning a set of questions that will allow the buyer to recognize that it is not a need they have, but rather want the product to fulfill that need.
By converting the need into a want, you are able to no longer position your product or service as cheap or low priced, but rather as much a you can position the value you will create.
Here is an example looking at the same water challenge. Grant Cardone is well known to care for two things more than anything else in his life: money and family.
Questions like “What do you care for the most in life? Money? Family? Both?” Followed by “You make money for your family, and for their well-being so that you can spend more time with them, correct? While this glass of water may not seem like it would make you a lot of money on the surface, it actually is the single most important component of allowing you to enjoy the two things you love the most in your life better than ever before.“
The point of this conversation isn’t to make him understand what water is or its benefits, but rather the context of how water plays a role in his life. By accepting this concept, the next step is to position why he wants that specific water in your hand, at that very same moment, because it is no longer a need, but rather a want.
Positioning the Context of Value: I have this saying: “Price is what something costs, but value is what that same thing is worth to the person buying it, therefore value is subjective to perspective.”
People find different things to have different values based on their past experiences and interactions with products and services. Knowing this makes it impossible for any single person to use a generic tagline or to offer the same product in the same way expecting a similar response from different customers.
Understand that, without context, value is subjective to each individuals past experience but with context, we streamline value by making sure it is understood with the same intention no matter what someone has previously experienced.
Let me give you an example of this. Some of you may think that paying $25,000 for someone to build you a website is a lot of money, while others may not based on what they have seen others charge for such a service. The problem is that you all have had different experiences based on different quotes and different types of websites so there is no context in that.
If I give you context and say that the three best firms in the world who make award winning websites and charge up to $100,000 per page they design and create, then paying $25,000 for someone with an equal reputation to build you an 8 page website seems like a bargain.
By providing context, you frame what the value should mean allowing you to get the price you want as the value is determined by your information, not the perception of your buyer.
These are three key elements that must be understood if you plan to master the art of sales. Anyone can sell a client who walks into a business determined to buy your product and whose price is set in stone, but very few people genuinely know how to shift consumer behavior to their advantage in order to a create a sale, not just be given one.
If you are in a sales position and want to convert every single lead, cold call, and or website visit to a sale, then you must understand people which is why I have written a new course focused on selling but from a unique perspective focused on the human element of this art. Its called Sales 101: A People Centric Approach to Better Selling and will be released next month.
Head over to SecretEntourage.com/sales101 to or sign up below to be the first.