January 17, 2008
News & Opinion: Excerpt from God is a Salesman
The following excerpt is from God is a Salesman: Learn from the Master by Mark Stevens.
In God is a Salesman, Stevens presents his beliefs about how to translate powerful lessons from God into tools that will help readers achieve success through better relationships, and new dimensions in life.
From pages 19-23:
It is time to reinvent the traditional view of selling. Now!
Think of the conventional wisdom about selling as The Myths of Willy Loman:
Myth: A good salesperson has the gift of gab.
Reality: Gab? Does anyone want gab? How fast do you run from that? A good salesperson acquires the gift of identifying what customers and prospects really want and finds a way to satisfy that. His talk is not of gab, but of substance and demonstrable value.
Myth: The salesperson is the hunter and the prospect is the prey.
Reality: What a shortsighted way to view the process of building and nurturing lifelong relationships. A hunt or a battle? That's not selling: It is war and great salespeople never, ever want to engage in war with their customers. Those who do may make their quotas, but they will never earn the trust, respect, and loyalty that drives exceptional relationships and, in turn, extraordinary careers. The real winners align themselves with their customers as opposed to pitting themselves against them.
Myth: Selling is just another component of the business process.
Reality: Every successful enterprise has the key building blocks of (a) product/service development, (b) distribution, and (c) sales. All are vital, but sales is in a class by itself. When practiced by The Master's standards, sales is the connection that fuses an enterprise to people, helps to shape the company's offerings to meet customers' evolving needs, and nurtures its growth over time.
There is no lifeblood in a business that manufactures blankets, packages and ships them to Wal-Mart, but has no real contact with consumers. And no future. Yes, management may pocket the checks, but others will start talking to consumers, understanding that they now want blankets with designer names imprinted on them, and advising Wal-Mart that they need to shift their strategy and their suppliers. Disciplined and flexible as it is, Wal-Mart will make this shift. It does so every day and salespeople make it happen.
Specifically, those salespeople who act as professionals, as advisors, and as drivers of change and growth.
Which brings us to a key question: What is a customer? The traditional view of a customer is someone the business serves or sells to. The time has come to reinvent this perspective and adopt a 360-degree model that is simple in its focus and powerful in its impact.
The 360-Degree Customer Experience
The customer is someone we build our business around.
To the extent that they are no longer customers. They are members of the family.
Building your business around members of the family, instead of the standard transactional view of serving customers, requires that you make the following transitions in your viewpoint and your actions:
Traditional Way vs. Master's Way
Meet Customer Expectations vs Exceed Their Expectations
Satisfy Customers vs Thrill Them
Give Customers Everything They Expect vs Surprise Them with Gestures of Thoughtfulness
Give Customers Access to Products/Services vs Wrap Them in a Cocoon of Care
Be Satisfied if Customers Like Your Product/Service/Company vs Make Certain They Fall in Love with Your Product/Service/Company
Close a Sale vs Offer Customers a Lifetime of Unique Experiences and Values
Be Willing to Take Customers' Next Orders vs Commit to Them
As you can see, especially when compared to traditional selling, the 360-Degree family member experience is:
Nothing is more powerful than this.
WHY MOST SALESPEOPLE CAN'T SELL
- They have nothing interesting to say.
- They cannot present their products and services in a compelling fashion--in other words, as more than just products and services.
- They believe they have done their job if they get prospects to like what they are offering. The fact is, they have to fall in love with it.
- They fail to develop a Power offer that makes what they are selling impossible to refuse.
- They don't bother to read the prospect. They're too preoccupied with the commissions they WON'T earn precisely because all of the focus is on themselves.
Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Stevens. God is a Salesman: Learn from the Master
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.