While you may see yourself as distinct from those you compete against, it’s important to appreciate where the customer, who hasn’t met you or your company, is starting from when you first attempt to meet with them.
To better appreciate your customer’s view of your industry, look in your local business directory for a product type you have little knowledge of. For example, roof restoration, window double-glazing, or insect pest control suppliers.
You’ll see advertisements and listings for many suppliers, whichever category you select.
On face value, most suppliers will look the same to you. It’s valid to suggest that you are indifferent in your preference because they appear that way.
The reality may be that out of ten suppliers you look at:
• Some will be very reliable, with good quality products
• Some will offer products of barely acceptable quality
• Some will take your business for granted and be difficult to deal with
• Some will provide poor quality products and service
• Some may not be totally honest, even unethical
Your initial perception and the reality for each supplier are often vastly different.
This lack of appreciation of the reality is also the starting point for your customers.
They see you in the same way as you see the “double glazing” list of suppliers. The customer may not have knowledge of your industry, so the starting point of their decision-making process is that all suppliers look the same.
Remind yourself of this reality as you craft your sales stories around the competitive advantages you offer.
You have to earn the right for the customer to see you as a knowledgeable industry professional.
It’s also common for customers to think they know more about your product and industry than you do, despite the fact that you do this every day!
Try to respect the fact that they have no choice but to be indifferent to you and your product – at least until they get to know you – given the many options available to them.
From time to time it’s easy to become overwhelmed, even distracted by your volume of work, or simply lost amidst all the available opportunity.
These counterproductive periods usually translate to poor sales performance. So what do you do?
You may not need to go to the extent of assessing your sales statistics and sales ratios, i.e. your conversion and activity statistics of cold calls, appointments, demonstrations and sales orders won and lost.
It may just be a matter of keeping things simple. Never underestimate the power of common sense!
To restore your confidence, temporarily set aside many of the performance enhancement sales techniques and sales theories you may lose yourself in.
You need to clear your head and concentrate on what matters – do nothing other than getting yourself out into the sales field.
Do this and this only.
Forget rehearsing your presentation, improving your sales arguments, enhancing your written proposals – forget it all!
Simply get back to basics and build from there.
By concentrating on what matters, what really matters, this will simplify things for you.
In sales, talking to people who don’t currently buy from you is something that needs to be done above everything else. Concentrate on doing this and only this.
Then, when you’re back on track, start to build your sales skills again.
Take the pressure off yourself. Remind yourself that you don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to be the best salesperson in the world.
When two people are running from a hungry lion in the jungle they don’t need to run at record-breaking speed to be safe; they only need to out-run the guy next to them!
In sales it’s no different. Understand your sales role for what it is – don’t complicate it.