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7 Ways to Stop "Selling" and Start Building Relationships

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Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients.

I was inspired to write this article after a few coaching sessions with a client named Michael, who sells a technology solution. Michael had been struggling with a mental block about how to detach from the traditional sales thinking he had learned from old-school sales "gurus".

You know who they are. You may even have some of their books or tapes. And you know their sales messages too: "Always be closing," "Think positive, and you'll overcome all your cold calling fears," "All you need to boost your sales is a few new sales techniques."

But all these outdated sales messages fail to address the core issue of how we think about selling. And unless we get to that core, and change it once and for all, we'll go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales behaviors. We'll go on experiencing the same difficulties and frustrations. And we'll continue to believe that we're always just one new sales technique away from the breakthrough we're looking for.

New Thinking = New Results

Maybe it's time to take a different approach. Maybe we need to seriously analyze our sales thinking so we can identify why we're not making more sales. Take a look at the table below and thinkabout your current selling mindset. How would your selling behaviors change if you changed your sales thinking?

Traditional Sales Mindset: Always deliver a strong sales pitch.
New Sales Mindset: Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.

Traditional Sales Mindset: Your central objective is always to close the sale.
New Sales Mindset: Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.

Traditional Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually at the end of the sales process.
New Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the beginning of the sales process.

Traditional Sales Mindset: Rejection is a normal part of selling.
New Sales Mindset: Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never happen.

Traditional Sales Mindset: Keep chasing every potential client until you get a yes or a no.
New Sales Mindset: Never chase a potential client -- you'll only trigger more sales pressure.

Traditional Sales Mindset: When a prospect offers objections,challenge and/or counter them.
New Sales Mindset: When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.

Traditional Sales Mindset: If a potential client challenges the value of your product or service, you must defend yourself and explain the value.
New Sales Mindset: Never defend yourself or what you have to offer -- it only creates more sales pressure.

Let's take a closer look at these central Unlock The GameT concepts so you can begin to open up your current sales thinking and become more effective in your selling activities:

  • Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.

    When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. If you don't know what this is, ask your current customers why they purchased your solution. One example of an opening phrase might be, "I'm just calling to see if you'd be open to some different ideas related to lowering the risk of any computer downtime you may be having in your company?" Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase.

  • Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.

    Let go of trying to "close the sale" or "get the appointment"-- and you will discover that you don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward. If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don't jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will find that potential clients will actually bring you into their buying process.

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