From the author:
Procurement is never "objective"
When I ask why salespeople have too few customer appointments or generate too little sales, I always hear the same stories. In essence, it is always about the fact that sales managers do not yet feel sufficiently “prepared” or “competent” and still want to research or learn something before they “really” get started.
These salespeople are mistakenly convinced that sales success depends above all on their expertise. They firmly believe that customers place their order with the company that will do the job best - just as if placing the order were an objective-rational test procedure in which the one who wins the race is who in the end is technically the most professional Got points. We all know this is not how it works.
Charisma and reputation win over ability
The problems usually lie elsewhere: There are companies that have to serve every single customer in order to make ends meet. And there are companies that work with waiting lists in order to cope with the influx of customers. These types of companies differ in two main ways: in the way they are presented and in the professionalism of sales and marketing.
Customers place orders based on reputation and the persuasiveness of the seller. The first factor explains why high-priced branded products generate high sales even when product tests show in many cases that no-name products are just as good, and in some cases even better. The higher your reputation, the more money you can charge for your work.
Whoever wants to be successful needs a good reputation
If you want to be successful as a company, you have to do everything to increase your reputation. Good work is important, but good work alone is not enough. Your reputation is not derived from what you can do, but from what people say about you. That is why it is so crucial to be known and visible as possible. Visibility increases the presumption of benefit: The more often one reads or hears something about you, the sooner one will come to the conclusion that you must be the best, or at least a very good provider.
You can achieve more visibility through the full spectrum of press work, social media marketing, cooperation with multipliers and so on. In particular, very few entrepreneurs understand the subject of PR in their own right. This is precisely why it is easy to achieve success here within a very short time. These pay for themselves quickly because they bring you customers and recommendations straight away.
The job is always given to the one who sells better
Good salespeople are self-confident: they believe in themselves, in their sales talent and in their product. Self-confident salespeople know what they are talking about, but they also know that they must not overwhelm the customer with technical details, but rather convince them with their personal appearance. There are people who, on principle, do not want to deal with the topics of sales and marketing: It is too abstract for them. In the worst case, they even consider such considerations unchecked to be questionable and manipulative. The reason: people with a high level of professional competence are often used to working with facts, which are precisely what sales are not primarily asked for.
Sales is the art of establishing relationships with people, using body language in a targeted manner, convincing arguments again and again and, in the end, demanding commitment. Success can also be measured in sales and facts checked in the form of completion rates. What is behind this remains unclear in many companies. However, in order to systematically increase sales, it is extremely important to be sales-oriented Success Factors to be recognized and used in a targeted manner.
Nonetheless, people with a high level of professional competence often refuse to be active in sales. They reject sales know-how, block themselves against customer lists and cold calls, discussion guidelines, routine object handling and proven closing techniques. Often enough, they have had to experience that they have lost orders to competitors who have sold better, but fulfilled worse. This is exactly where the challenge lies:
If you offer a superior product, a high quality service, then it is your moral obligation to do everything possible to win the customer's order - in the customer's interest! The customer cannot (yet) know that you can do the job better. He has to rely on your performance in the conversation. And whoever performs better, always wins the order.
Learn to sell professionally with the art of staging
It is therefore wrong to stubbornly oppose a sales claim. Learn to sell professionally to protect customers from bad investments. Each of us has at some point acquired things that did not meet our expectations. And everyone who is not your customer runs the risk of having this experience with your competitor. It is your job to prevent that from happening. So work on your personal appearance: Even in times of digitization, people still buy from people.
Learn the art of staging. This is not about dazzling, but about the ability to make the added value of your products and services visible (tangible) for customers. The formula is relatively simple: create curiosity, create closeness, clarify benefits. All of this requires communicative competence and can be trained.
Create curiosity, create closeness, clarify benefits
If the customer cannot tell the difference between you and the competition, then they only have the price to make a decision. In extreme cases, this can mean that you are forced to offer your service very cheaply. For some companies, that's death in installments. The price is not the preferred decision criterion for people - it is the emergency criterion.
If it were all about price, there would be only one provider for each product in the long term. But in fact there are a variety of companies all over the world serving different price categories. So learn to think bigger, to present your company better and to position yourself more professionally, so that you don't have to chase after your customers, but instead they “apply” to you and are willing to pay reasonable prices.
Marketing and sales are not twins
Sales and marketing aren't twins, they're not even siblings. Marketing is about creating reach, building visibility, arousing interest, generating attention and building and maintaining a certain (brand) image. Selling is all about converting prospects into customers.
Marketing is about a captivating show for as many as possible, while sales are about the precise and targeted conviction of individuals. For each of the two areas there are strategies that give you a competitive edge and which are not that difficult to implement. But a brilliant marketing specialist is almost never a gifted salesman at the same time - and vice versa. The two angles are just too different. You will therefore only achieve your maximum potential if you entrust these two tasks to experts, each of whom is top in his own field, without having to cover the other too.
Targeted growth instead of stagnation
Many companies do not systematically do sales or marketing. In these companies, the focus is often on technical competence and the entrepreneur himself gets involved in day-to-day business. He is the expert in important areas such as technology and product development. Such companies often don't really grow.
Of course they generate sales, but these are not generated by sales, but managed by "order acceptance assistants". These are employees who take calls and process orders that have been pre-formulated by customers. These companies are making profits, but are stagnating.
Open up additional business potential through active sales work
It is only through active sales work that entrepreneurs can tap additional business potential and thus significantly increase sales and profits. This is the only way you can build up an attractive customer base in a targeted manner. And this is the only way to free your success from chance. Those who can sell always have money, always have room for maneuver, always have reserves. Those who can sell never have their backs to the wall, even in times of crisis. And those who have not yet mastered sales can learn it.
If he works in an industry in which only a few actively sell, he has the best chance of achieving relatively short-term success with a few simple strategies. Do not lose these opportunities. Take advantage of the opportunities to set up your sales professionally. And if you are already professionally positioned, make sure that you do not lose this lead. Be open to new impulses, regularly question what you are doing, optimize what already exists and maintain a corporate culture in which people remain mentally flexible!
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German edition: ISBN 9783965965553
English version: ISBN 9783965965256 (Translation notice)
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