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HomemibusinessReframing the Role of the Salesperson

Reframing the Role of the Salesperson

In his second article, Frank Romano writes about reframing the role of the sales person – from one who simply “sells and closes deals” to one who believes in the product or service being sold, and furthermore, adds value for the customer.

When we talk about reframing a sales person’s role, we’re not talking about giving them a new pair of spectacles. Rather, we’re talking about changing the sales person’s perspective on the way they go about their job… getting them to step back from what they say and do every day, to consider their role through a new frame or “lens”.

For example, when an eye care professional says to a customer, “lets look at this problem another way” they are changing the “lens” they were using so they can analyse the problem presented from a different perspective. In many cases the problem now becomes an opportunity.

But reframing the role of the salesperson can achieve even more than new solutions for your customers – it can give your practice a competitive advantage, which in turn, can generate greater results.

Precision selling involves influencing customers by helping them understand the advantages that the product or service you’re offering will add value to their world

It all comes down to Precision Selling, which, as I wrote in the March edition of mivision, reframes the role of the salesperson from one who simply “sells and closes deals” to one who believes strongly in the product or service they represent.

What is selling?

Having reframed the role of the salesperson, let’s explore another frame of reference.

Selling is simply defined as “an exchange of values”. You, the salesperson, has a product or service that you hopefully perceive to be of value, and you wish to exchange that product or service for something that your customer has of value… which is generally money.

Yet very few sales people understand this, and when asked “what is selling?”, they generally respond with behaviour related answers. “Selling is listening”… or “selling is convincing the customer”. In other words sales people often confuse their behaviors when selling with the process of selling.

Additionally, there is a common misunderstanding surrounding what salespeople actually do. Most people believe sales people “build relationships”, “discover needs”, “communicate benefits”, and “close sales”. While I agree that during the sales process a salesperson may do all of this, there’s much more to it.

Because regardless of the product or service being sold, and regardless of the country, culture and context of the sale – that is whether the selling is conducted face to face or by telemarketing, whether the customer is new or existing – there is a common thread that runs among all top sales people.

Effective Influence

That common thread is influence. Precision selling involves influencing customers by helping them understand the advantages that the product or service you’re offering will add value to their world.

Think about it, every time a salesperson makes contact with a customer, physically or by any other means, whether they are an outstanding salesperson, an average salesperson or a product flogging nerd, that salesperson is having a direct influence on that customer.

Why? Because simply put, you cannot not influence.

Armed with this dramatic and obvious realisation, the question every salesperson must ask is, what kind of influence do you want to have over your customers?

Positive or negative, effective or not effective, useful or not useful? The difference that separates the outstandingly successful sales professional from the average product flogging nerd is that the professional has the ability to not just influence, but to effectively influence customers. They do this by helping and facilitating their customer to perceive value in the message they deliver.

Your ability to effectively influence people will not only have a direct impact on your successes as a salesperson. Because the power of influence is so significant, that your success in life will be in direct proportion to your ability to effectively influence people and help them perceive value in the message you are delivering!

So, if selling really is about effectively influencing, and your success really is based on how well you can do this, then it’s time to consider the skills you need to develop so that you can become a master of influence.

Eight skills for top selling
The sales profession is arguably one of the most challenging of all professions. In fact when you think about it, and compare selling to other professions, there are few that place so many simultaneous, yet diverse demands on a person’s skill-set.

Here are eight skills that I’ve found to be inherent in top sales professionals:

1. Relationship building
Top sales people have the ability to relate to other people at all levels and in context… the ability to cause people to feel comfortable with them, respect them, trust them, like them and believe them… the ability to establish and maintain rapport with whoever they choose, whenever they choose… and the ability to manage conflict and disagreement, in an agreeable manner.

2. Communication skills
Top sales people possess the ability to verbalise effectively and communicate in all contexts and situations… to hold quality conversations that are engaging, effective and efficient. Additionally, they’ve mastered non-verbal communication skills. In fact, they’re adept at conversing in every situation – whether it’s face to face, via written correspondence, digital communication or over the phone.

3. A positive and useful attitude
Successful sales professionals have developed the ability to manage their state of mind and attitude. They influence themselves to approach every day with a positive and useful state of mind, and they maintain that state throughout the day, which helps them deal with ongoing human interaction – the disappointments, the ups-and-downs, and the challenges
of dealing with customers, both external and internal.

4. Presentation skills
Whether presenting to one person or 100, top sales people represent their company’s products and services in a way that engages their audience’s imagination and enables them to realise the value in the product or service on offer.

5. Personal packaging
Top sales people know the importance of making a favorable first impression. Understanding that customers will form an opinion of them within the first seven seconds, they pay attention to their personal style, dress standards, grooming, manners, courtesy, knowledge and general presentation.

6. Understand non-verbal cues
Top sales people understand that customers are constantly communicating with them through both verbal and non-verbal cues. They have developed the ability to elicit and detect what these messages mean at a conscious and subconscious level. In doing so, they easily uncover their customers’ values, beliefs, motivations, their relationship expectations, decision criteria and their neurological buying strategies.

7. Negotiation skills
Integral to the art of selling is a sales person’s ability to be a great negotiator.
A customer may want to buy the product or service on offer, but they will more than likely want to negotiate the terms and conditions related to the purchase. This is where negotiation skills come into play.
A top sales person is a skilled negotiator with the ability to negotiate an arrangement that is acceptable to both parties.

8. Professional knowledge and expertise
Product knowledge, industry knowledge, customer knowledge, market knowledge, competitor knowledge, time management, territory management, technical, competency and all other competencies relevant to the products and services that you sell… these are all essential to precision selling, and to becoming a top sales person.

Be Sure to Add Value

Many sales people focus their learnings on the products or services they sell – they study the facts, features and benefits of their products or services – and they regurgitate them to every customer who walks into the practice. What they fail to do, is to learn how to emotionally connect with their customers. And that’s the only way you can begin to add value and effectively influence their buying decisions.

It’s time to take your skill set to a whole new level and embrace precision selling. But it’s important to understand, there are no shortcuts, only a whole new level of learning to be achieved – new learnings about becoming a master communicator and a master in the art of influence.

Once you have achieved this, there will be no need to focus your attention on closing the sale. Your customers will naturally want to engage in a professional relationship with you and buy the value you have to offer. And that, we believe, is the hallmark of a top sales professional.