Is your sale process more like a hockey game or more like ballet? Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and I want to talk about 12 intriguing principles around selling.
Client Builder Selling Process
So what do I mean about hockey and ballet? Well, you know in a hockey game, while fundamentals are important and people learn to do all the different moves, the game itself is very random. The puck can go in any second in any different direction. People are always moving, manipulating, trying to trying to get the process under control and make it work for them, and there’s just quick seconds where it works and then it’s over again and they’re trying to regroup. Ballet is a scripted, choreographed, flowing movements organized people. So when your sales process, is it more like a hockey game or is it more like ballet? And we think they it makes more sense to be focused on the ballet version, to be organized with a process where you know and your prospect knows where you are at all times.
The worst thing that happens in the sales process is when the prospect and the sales person are completely out of sync. This mutual mystification where we think it’s pretty much closed and the prospect doesn’t ever want to talk to you again, and this happens time and again. So having a process that you fall back on where you know where you are is very helpful.
So I use the client builder selling process, which is what I teach to my clients, and I don’t want to talk about the individual steps of the process today, but I want to talk about these principles that underlie the process.
Believe in What You Sell
So principle number one is you must believe in what you sell. Your prospects will never be as convinced about your products as you are. You have to really believe that what you sell is a good product and that as a sales person, it’s your duty to the world to bring out these products to be able to help other people.
Keep the Focus on Your Prospects
Principle number two is to keep the focus on your prospects at all times. This is not a show about you and how brilliant you are, and how much interesting information you can deliver in a short period of time. It’s about the prospect. You get there by asking questions and showing genuine interest in who they are as a person and what the concerns are of their business, and the mindset we have is “I’m financially independent and I don’t need the business.” People can sense when you’re desperate and you’re trying to push your stuff on people. Take the other road which is “I’m happy to do business with you if you want me, but I don’t I need the business.” It’s not being arrogant, it’s being thoughtful of who they are and where they’re coming from.
Better Prospecting, Better Selling
Principle number three is the better you are at prospecting, the better you will be at selling. Prospecting is that connection between marketing, which gets people to be interested in your products and know about your products and sales, which is closing the deal and making the business happen.
Prospecting is a connecting piece. So the better you are reaching out to people, understanding people’s needs, analyzing the marketplace, all those factors will make you much better at selling.
Seek to be Trusted, Not Liked
Principle number four is it seek to be trusted and not liked. Often times, you hear people talk about know, like, and trust. Well first I have to get to know you, and then I will like you, and then eventually I’ll trust you, and then we can do business. Well the liking is actually only important for a certain sector of the population, so I use a disk model and those would be the eyes. they really need to like you so they’re extroverted and they’re people people. They need to like you in order to do business. But for the rest of the population, it’s not that important. What’s really important is that they trust you. People will do business with people that they trust, but that they might not want to have them as friends. They might not like them in particular, but they trust them. They know this person gets it done. This company does what they say they’re going to do. This organization follows up. That’s trust and that’s what we need to seek, not just being friends with people.
Collaboration, not Competition
Principle number five is collaboration, not competition is the best mindset. I want to collaborate with my prospects. I want to create a business relationship that works both ways, a win-win. If I’m competing against my client looking for a win/lose. I win, you lose. I get lots of money, you get a little tiny product. That’s not the right mindset for selling. I have to think it’s cooperation. I want to get a win/win. I want you to be very happy with your products, and I want to get paid for that, and we want to work together to get there and not fighting each other for air time.
People Buy Emotionally
Principle number six is people buy emotionally and then they rationalize intellectually. So we make decisions with the center of our brain. It’s the part doesn’t even understand language. We need to be emotionally connected in order to make a decision. And often times, you’ll hear people talk about a gut feeling: “Well I just didn’t really feel good about that.” Well no matter what the numbers say, if we don’t have a mutual feeling of trust, we’re not going to close the deal. You’re not going to buy from me if you don’t you trust me, and that’s not a rational thing, that’s an emotional thing, You have to feel emotionally good about this is where we’re going
People Only Buy When They Have Pain
Principle number seven is very related to that. People only buy when they have pain. People have to have pain or there’s no sale. We as salespeople have to tease out what are those pain points. What are the things they’re really bothering people that our solutions can alleviate.
You Need a System for Prospecting and Selling
And principle number 8 is we need to use a system for selling and prospecting. You can’t just randomly walk in and change it each time. How can you ever get better if you don’t have a process? We need a process, we need a system, we need to have something that we’re following we can also share with out prospects so that we stay on the same page at the same time.
You Can’t Convince Anyone of Anything
And principle number nine is we can’t convince anybody of anything. People have to convince themselves your solutions are the right ones for them. When we force people to do stuff against their sort of better judgment and we tricked them into some sale, it’s not a lasting relationship. Sure, maybe you’ll close one deal, but you’re not going to build a pipeline of valuable customers and prospects if that’s your mindset. So they have to convince themselves. They have to know “yes, this is the right thing. Let me buy your product.”
Sales is a Process of Disqualification
Principle number 10 goes very much along with that, which is sales is a process of disqualification. We start with a wide set of potential prospects, suspects, people that might be interested and we narrow it and narrow it and narrow it. We need to constantly be looking for ways to make the list smaller so that we can focus a lot of our energy on the high quality leads. We shouldn’t worry when people are not immediately interested in buying because we can’t sell everybody. We have to narrow the focus, so we can do a really good job with ones that really need our products.
Give Prospects the Freedom to Say “No”
And along with that, principle number 11 is “give your prospects the freedom to say ‘no.’” Show them the exit doors. Don’t force them to stay in. That’s what they want to hear. Prospects are often afraid but the salesperson won’t give up. They’re going to have rehearsed stalls and objections, and they’re going to know what to say. When I say this, they’ll say that. When I go here, they’ll go there and try to force me into a corner, so that’s why they often say “oh, I have to think it over.” No, I don’t like to end and a discussion with “we have to think things over.” I want clear plans. If it’s a ‘no,’ tell me right now in my face. I can handle it. Don’t give me that “no, I need to think this over” when really you mean “I never want to do business with you ever again.” That’s fine. Tell me so we don’t let this stumble along and we’re talking around each other. We need to be on the same page
Give Yourself Permission to Fail
And finally principal 12 is give yourself permission to fail. You’ll make mistakes. It’s fine. We learn from our mistakes and we move forward. Maybe you’ll say some of the wrong things in and you’ll lose a sale. Well that happens in life. We don’t close every single thing we start, so give yourself permission to fail so you’re giving yourself permission to experiment and try new things. And I encourage you to try on these 12 principles of selling.
About Bernhard Heine
Bernhard Heine is a business and executive coach at Professional Business Coaches, Inc. (PBC, Inc.), a company he founded to help business owners and leaders create and achieve their vision. Bernhard has more than 25 years of experience working collaboratively with business partners in all phases of business management, restructuring and transformation, particularly in: strategic planning, marketing and sales, organizational design, engineering consulting, project management, coaching and facilitation.
Bernhard holds a BS in marine engineering from the US Merchant Marine Academy in NY. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a licensed business coach with Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA), and an Authorized Client Builder Sales Trainer.
He was Executive Director for Strategy and Business Development at Textron Inc., strategy leader at Coca-Cola in Germany, and management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Early in his career, he worked globally as a marine engineer.
Bernhard has also achieved the “Master Coach” designation from the PBCA in Sales, Coaching, Leadership, Marketing, Personal Effectiveness, and Exit Planning.
“I help my clients become more self-aware of why their issues continue to occur and why their prior efforts have not led to success. Through regular sessions, holding them accountable for their actions, they make gradual improvements and over time achieve the success they are looking for.” – Bernhard Heine
Certifications: Professional Business Master Coach, Legal Practice Coach, Extended DISC Trainer, Everything DiSC Trainer, Client Builder Sales Trainer, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Trainer.