If you haven’t read Al Ries & Jack Trout’s ’22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ do your 2016 a favour and do so. It pinpoints the art and science of marketing better than any other book I’ve read.
So if marketing needs 22 laws to sum up its undoubted power, how about the other side of the commercial coin? How many laws does it take to encapsulate selling?
Of course there’s no shortage of books, courses and websites devoted to answering that question. In fact, I’d wager that there are probably 10 times more resources focused on selling than there are on marketing.
When I first decided to add sales to my marketing bow I read, watched and listened to many of them and then implemented a good deal of what they suggested.
I actually made a cold phone call to a prospect once after listening to a sales course and opened by saying “If there were a way for you to achieve greater…..” No “hello, my name is..”.
Not surprisingly, the prospect cut me off by curtly saying “What are you selling?” Needless to say, I didn’t close that sale.
What I’ve learned is that sales is a darned sight simpler than marketing. Not easier mind you.
Selling is both the hardest job and the easiest job in any organisation. Hardest in that you’re often given a desk, a PC and a phone and then the rest is up to you. Easiest in that when you’ve made the sale, all the others who can’t or won’t sell have to deliver what you’ve promised.
Of course, that’s a simplification and there are many variables that can change the picture to some degree. But overall, that’s pretty much it.
So what are the key learnings? Sales scripts suck; you’re not fooling anyone, we know you’re reading!! Closing techniques have no place in professional services business development. And not believing in what you’re selling is always futile.
So what is the one immutable rule of selling? In my experience it’s all about taking consistent action. Picking up the phone, going to networking functions, sending emails and LinkedIn InMails to prospects and being active on social media. Make things happen, push through rejection because there’s always a lot of it and work consistently to politely and professionally get in front of people who need what you’re selling. Do that and you will succeed. Do anything else and you won’t.
I realise that this is not particularly insightful or new. After all the courses and the books I devoured, the same thought occurred to me. It is, however a simple to implement success formula for anyone who wants to promote a product or service no matter what their background.
Some may disagree with this bare bones summation of sales success but I think it’s pretty hard to argue with the overall sentiment: consistently do lots of things that are relevant to your target market.
I loved a piece of graffiti from Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ that used to be daubed on a wall near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sums up what I’m suggesting: Action is Eloquence.