Selling Myths and Realities

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I attended one of the first Sales 2.0 conferences that Gerhard Gschwandtner of Selling Power Magazine held about ten years ago and had the pleasure of sitting with and meeting Michael Nick. Michael is the author of four great books on selling called: “Why Johnny Can’t Sell, ROI Selling, The Key to the C-Suite” and his new eBook, Why Johnny STILL can’t Sell. Michael also runs a successful software and consulting practice called ROI4Sales. Michael and I have become friends over the years and I happen to be on his Newsletter list. I was impressed with his August 30th newsletter content and asked Michael if I might copy and use it in my current Blog post and with his permission; here it is for your reading pleasure and enlightenment.

 Myth: “I don’t need to use a consultative selling methodology”

Actually you do. Statistically more sales professionals achieve quota when they follow a formal consultative sales methodology. Aside from the stats, in today’s economy the buyer expects much more from the seller. You are now required to understand their market, products, goals, and economic impact of your product on their business. Most methodologies will teach you how to stay informed, engaged and on track to closing more profitable sales, thus achieving your quota and increasing your revenue.

Myth: I don’t need to understand the language of the C-Suite, they get what I am saying.”

Once again, you are so wrong. It isn’t so much about them understanding you as it is about your being able to communicate with them in their own language. For example: If you are trying to sell Unix / Linux security to a CSIO and didn’t understand the vernacular of the sale, you would in no way be able to close a deal. The same is true in the C-Suite. It is critical to be able to articulate your value in terms the C-Suite can relate to. In my book, The Key to the C-Suite we lay out how to do this in great detail. Begin by understanding your value inventory and then linking each item to a C-Suite metric (i.e. Net Profit, Operating Cost, DSO’s, etc.). This will enable you to articulate your value in terms of metric savings, not feature and benefit savings. (Order your copy of The Key to the C-Suite here) – Kindle version available here.

Myth: Companies don’t care about value, they want the cheapest solution”

People however love value and most are willing to pay for it. The bigger issue here is you likely don’t prove your value. However, let me back up. It is critical to first help your prospect understand the problem they have and the magnitude of the problem. Buyers who don’t understand the current and on-going cost of a problem will likely do nothing or look for the cheapest solution to a perceived issue. Next it is crucial for a prospect to realize their threshold for pain or tipping point. What this means is prospects really need to buy into the fact that when the pain gets to a certain point they are going to find a way to relieve themself of the on-going cost. Once you have accomplished these tasks, price plays a very small part in the decision making process. (See our recent article on Threshold for pain)

Myth: I only hire sales professionals that were very successful in the past, that way it ensures they will be successful here too.”

Not so true. The in the book Conversations on Customer Service and Sales my good friend Ken Edmundson tells us, “Mathematically we have a 52% chance of hiring the right person if we just flip a coin, and studies reveal that we only increase that a whopping 8% by using our wonderful interview skills. So what does this tell us?

Why don’t we just hire anyone off the street? What Ken goes on to say, is that there are certain traits great sales people possess. They include Passion, Determination, Self-Discipline, Attitude, High Self Esteem, Belief System, and Communication skills. However, note Ken does not consider a history of success as criteria for a great sales person. In my new ebook Why Johnny STILL Can’t Sell, Johnny’s success in the past doesn’t really matter going forward. There are many tools in the marketplace to evaluate sales talent. We suggest you employ one or more of these techniques to increase your odds of hiring the right person for the job. (Download Why Johnny STILL Can’t sell) from the ROI4Sales eStore.

Myth: We need to pay top dollar to our sales force or they will leave
I hate to break it to you but it is a buyers’ market. There are hundreds of thousands of sales professionals in the market. Look for skills that matter (see above) and create a compensation plan that is realistic, fair and without limits. Remember commission plans will drive behaviors. The other thing to think about is your sales support / enablement and structure. There is a major trend to breaking up compensation by salary, partial commission from a sale and the balance on the corporation reaching its goals. You need to revisit comp plans annually.

I want to thank Michael again for allowing me to reproduce these nuggets of knowledge and for contributing to my post. Don’t forget to take advantage of the ebook of Why Johnny Still Can’t Sell and you can visit Michael’s website at  As always, I encourage comments and responses to this post.

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