Philosophy of the Salesperson

The philosophy of the salesperson is my unbound collection of all the people I have known in sales.

Use and share any part of it and don’t attribute it to me, it is common property. I have extracted only the maxims that I think are the most luring to put in the store windows.

Let me start with a recap of where we have already been:

  • The best salespeople are selling a small bit of themselves. Make sure you are being compensated well for that exchange. Sales commission is a form of profit distribution so make sure you’re selling the best for more. I wrote about my experience being top of the pack and the ‘salesperson’s annuity’, investing. Salesman Sell Something
  • The perfect alignment of stars is Right Person, Right Place, Right Time, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it requires enduring a company slump or waiting out the attrition and then gaining from what they lost I wrote about it here. Right Person. Right Place. Right Time
  • SDR’s are a million dollar solution to a one dollar problem. Cold calling is the shortest distance between two points. I extended this thought here: Cold Call or Starve. Choose Wisely
  • There is no shortcut or good books about sales. You have to write it yourself. The books that are about sales are in fact about selling books about selling books. I wrote this vent here: Why I Don’t Recommend Books About Sales

The new stuff:

  • Cold calling is easier than waiting for an SDR to bullshit you into a mediocre and mildly warm lead
  • From the first hello, assume the close. The first words puts the prospect onto a conveyor belt. If they don’t close that is okay. Former prospects have a residual value
  • Sales people must be confrontational. A salesperson has to be willing to argue, to be unliked
  • They are never your friend until the deal closes
  • Always send the prospect an agenda in advance of every call or meeting. The agenda should also indicate that they should feel free to add or subtract from the list. If information is required let them know what it is ahead of the call/meet so that it can be prepared. A sale has to be a mechanized process. The agenda is essential to keeping the prospect moving quickly forward on the assembly line.
  • Prospects need to be pushed along into the close at a pace uncomfortable for them. If they have made a philosophical decision to use a service or product, they aren’t looking for any deeper truths, they need to be relieved of the burdens of choice. They are in a movie theater with too many seating choices
  • Just as a salesperson is selling a small bit of themselves, the client must give value in that exchange also. They must understand that all those extra minutes devoted to them was taken away from other opportunities. Referrals are their currency. make  sure they are spending it. Clients appreciate the ask, everybody likes the hustle.
  • Post sale ask clients why they decided to buy from you, why they chose your company from the competition. It is uncomfortable at first to expose yourself to a client because you give up a small measure of authority, but you gain a huge amount of big and little insight
  • The biggest differences to you are imperceptible to them. Whatever it is that  you think distinguishes your product from the others is wrong
  • If you’re talking about widgets, you’ve already lost the sale
  • Discretionary effort and quick responses win deals
  • To win against the market leader, fail safe solution, you must gently but firmly pull apart their mythology. The market leader is rarely the best, but they are ‘safer’. The compromise for that safety is higher price, more reliance on technology and lower intimacy in the caretaking of the account. Exploit those levers against them. Market leaders win more frequently because those companies spend more resources finding the best prospects and indoctrinating them. They recover this cost by charging more
  • Don’t overcomplicate an (almost) closed sale. Most of the time a prospect has already been persuaded by the company, now they need to be assured by the sales rep. Don’t mess it up. Don’t answer questions that they havent asked. If there is some vital information that has been neglected, include it in the agenda for your next conversation
  • Make the sale a mechanical process, everything a template and optimized so that you can move on to the next prospect quickly
  • Salespeople use charm and persuasion to sell to external clients and also their internal clients, the CEO, head of marketing, underwriting, etc., Never get careless and be bad to the internals. It’s a short path to other side of the front door
  • Charging more has little to do with increase in value. Charging more is about giving a generous premium to the intangibles

The end?