My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

The 7i's of selling

You may have heard the cliché “There are no Problems only Opportunities”.  This isn't just a cliché, it is a mindset from which you can form the foundation of successful sales.   You can successfully sell solutions to problems  if you  Identify an Irritation which you can turn into a Issue which has Implications. You need to be Interested in their Issue and learn about it by Inquiry so you can Identify the Impact it has on them. By quantifying the Impact you raise the Importance and Illuminate the Issue. Do not raise the Importance of an Issue you cannot solve otherwise you will look like an Idiot. By raising the Importance, you can create an Intention to solve the Issue which you can Improve.

It took me at least 5 minutes to dream up lots of words beginning with the letter 'I' so this will now be known worldwide as the 7 I's approach to sales . I chose the letter 'I' because it's the thing you don't want to hear coming from your mouth but you do want hear from your customers.  If it's coming from your mouth it means you are talking about yourself which the customer has no interest in whereas if it's coming from their mouth they are talking about themselves which you are very interested in.

Identify → Irritation → Issue → Implications → Impact →  Importance →  Intention →  Improve

This is a good approach to build up the need for action from the buyer but the problem with implication questions is they are negative. You can make the customer feel suicidal as you expose the scale of issues that they were blissfully unaware of before you turned up.  OK you can  make them feel better by turning the situation around which your beacon of hope of a solution but being with you can feel like an emotional roller coaster.

There is another side of  “There are no Problems only Opportunities” which is rarely covered in sales books. It is preserve of the sales dream weavers. Dream weavers don't just identify issues, they appeal to the right side of the brain with Imagery and Identify the emotions such as greed, lust and power to motivate the buyer. They are selling a dream. It is a selling style which is usually only appropriate for something that is a game changer/ revolutionary.  The compact disk is an example. People didn't realise they had a problem with records or cassettes until it came along.  It will probably not surprise you that Apple use this style of selling in their advertising.

First you need to Identify an Irritation. It's likely the customer doesn’t consider the Irritation an Issue. You could go down the path of making the Irritation an Issue but instead you plan the seed of alternatives – breed discontent with the status-quo and appeal to the inner demons of greed, power, lust, Importance to get the customer hooked.  It might be to appeal to a CEO that they can dominate the competition or sell to a middle manager that this will lead to a massive promotion.  The products or services you are selling are unlikely to be taken up by the leaders in the field. It's the ambitious upstarts who want to be on the map – it's a high risk,  high reward sale.

The selling process creates Imagery about the Irritation and shows an alternative – you're planting the seeds on an Idea of an alternative future. The Inception of an idea which you are Inseminating.  You directly appeal to the right side of the brain with Imagery where they Imagine the alternative and the benefits (to them) that it can bring.  I invented a new word Inpower for this.  You are appealing to their Inner power and emotions such as Power, Greed, Lust, Importance and the feeling of being Invincible.  The outcome of this is that they are Inspired and Infused with energy. You have Ignited their desire. This can lead to Infatuation with the Idea creating an Impetus for Immediate action.

Identify → Irritation → Idea → Imagine → Inspire → Infatuation → Impetus

The positive of this approach is that it doesn't dwell on the negatives much. It is a positive, enthusiastic, forward looking approach and means you're seen as a fun enthusiastic person rather than the harbinger of doom that is always exposing internal problems.

There you have it. Two lots of 7i's to achieve sales success.

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