One of the things we have learned over the course of more than 20 years in this field is that you are not born a salesman but you can become one by studying and applying yourself. Certainly some “talents” such as the ability to show empathy, interest and curiosity for other human beings, the capacity of listening and familiarity in communicating, can help; yet, if these aptitudes are not trained and supported by precise skills, they won’t be sufficient to face modern markets successfully. So how do you start working on your sales training? By analyzing the negotiations in which you have been involved, especially those which haven’t been particularly brilliant. If it’s true that “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”, then there is no better lesson than the one which comes from your own mistakes! Here are some tips for “learning from yourselves”.
Method as a compass
In our book “Sales Ethics” we describe a sales method based on some fundamental pillars such as:
- the building of trust by overcoming all levels of the Circle of Trust
- the creation of shared value
- the reciprocity of the relationship
- and the idea that customer satisfaction is achieved by responding not only to clients’ material needs but also to their motivations which are linked to values, beliefs and psychological needs.
Not everyone likes to follow a method, because it seems to limit the spontaneity and creativity of those who feel “born to sell”. But be careful not to confuse this approach with standard rules to be followed on every occasion.
While rules can actually “stiffen” the relationship with the client, a method aims at suggesting a right sequence of actions which must adapt to the circumstance, style and needs of the people involved in the negotiation.
Adopting a method also offers many advantages, including that of being able to “re-read” the negotiation in order to understand what could have been done better, possibly giving the chance to go back and try again.
A step-by-step analysis of the negotiation
Those who are familiar with the Sales Ethics method know that it defines 6 stages in the customer-seller relationship, each of which is characterized by “tests of trust” and challenges that can be dealt with through a mix of skills and abilities. Analyzing the negotiation means retracing these six steps, which are summarized below.
- Building a personal relationship – It’s the very first phase of the negotiation, corresponding to the initial meetings with the client. The goal is to overcome the distrust of those in front of you. To do this, you will have to set aside the roles, find topics of common interest and act authentically. To learn more click here
- Analyzing customer needs – This is the time when you have to leave space for your clients to open up and tell you what they really need. By asking questions and listening to their answers, you will lead them to express not only their material needs but also the deep motivations that drive their choices. To learn more click here
- Submitting the offer – Only after truly understanding can you identify, and then submit, an offer to your customer. Therefore, we are not talking only about a product or service but rather of a “system” of tangible and intangible solutions designed for those who are listening to us. To learn more click here
- Handling objections – It is unlikely that, at the end of your presentation, someone will immediately say “yes, I’ll buy it”; on the other hand it is fair to expect some questions, comments or real objections. All, especially those relating to the price, must be considered as a test that helps the customer verify how confident we are of what we are proposing. To learn more click here
- Closing the deal – Once you have overcome the objections, everything seems to proceed downhill; yet, many sellers are unable to understand when to guide the customer towards their final choice, or how to do it ethically. That’s why some sales never come to a conclusion! To learn more click here
- The after sales service – Leaving the scene after “getting the customer to sign on the dotted line” is a mistake. Sellers must become part of the process that will lead the company to keep the promise made to the customers, by supporting them directly or by helping colleagues manage every stage after the purchase. To learn more click here.
The analysis test for you
You are now ready to analyze a negotiation.
- By entering the “Premium Contents” area in My Passodue and logging in if you are already registered (or by registering if you aren’t yet a member) you will have access to many self-training materials including the “Sales Ethics self-analysis Test”.
- By downloading it you will find a series of questions for each of the 6 stages described above.
- Answer honestly: don’t think about “what would be the right thing to do” but focus on what you actually do with your customers.
- Then calculate your score and, for each area in which you have achieved a low score, start a personal training programme.
In this blog you can find several topics to start thinking about each stage of the negotiation: just type the keyword in the search menu, which is marked by the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the page, or follow the links we have included at the end of the description of each of the 6 steps in the previous paragraph. Alternatively, you can always buy our book “Sales Ethics” and contribute to spreading its message and good practices 😉
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