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!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sample chapters from Romancing The Sale: Customer Seduction

Below I have pasted an excerpt from my book Romancing The Sale: Customer Seduction.

For many, sales is seen as a unethical, distrustful profession - it doesn't need to be that way!
The book compares dating and sales and shows how to build lasting successful relationships with sales techniques that are honest and ethical.
The book is aimed at novice sales professionals as well as more experienced sales professionals that have lost their way or picked some STD (Selling Technique Disasters) along the way !

If you like it, it's available on Amazon Kindle: Romancing The Sale. You don't need a Kindle as there are readers available iPhone, Android and even PC.


PREFACE

Death to Bad Selling

Most selling sucks. Like you I've bought lots of things in my life and I've been on the receiving end of many hundreds, if not thousands of sales people selling me things.

I can smell almost instantly when someone is selling something to me. More often than not, my barriers go up. Occasionally however I have that encounter with that special sales person. They stand out and I remember them afterwards with a smile. I know they are selling to me but rather than wanting to escape, I want to stay and play. I've even had sales meetings where it didn't feel like I was being sold to - it was more like building a lasting friendship. How come? What were they doing that countless others didn't do?

I love it when I'm treated special by a sales person. They flirt with me. They seduce me. It's fun. It's a two way game arousing desire and lust.

Contrast that with. I've got this – I want your cash. Hardly romantic. It's almost prostitution. The sales technique doesn't turn-me-on, arouse me, titillate me or even make me feel good.

So do you want your selling techniques to be romantic too? Romancing the Sale explores the art of selling romantically and shows you how to be romantic with your prospects.

I can't promise reading this book will get you more sales but I can promise you:

1/ It will make sales fun
2/ Your sales will be for the right reasons – love

Welcome to Romantic Sales and the art of Romancing the Sale.


CHAPTER 1
Introduction
What is a business without any sales? Trick question. It's not really a business - it is already failed or dead.
Without selling in business – nothing happens. Until somebody sells something, there is no need for anybody in the organisation – the business simply doesn’t have a purpose if there are no customers for its products.

Sales is one of the most important roles in a company yet amazingly in the UK, sales used to be looked down upon as a low status profession. However the good news is that sales' reputation is changing. Sales is a fun, rewarding and important career.

The goal of this book is to teach you how to make your customers fall in love with you, enabling you to be successful in sales.

This book will teach you how to sell by comparing the steps you will have taken when dating and apply these principles to the act of selling. When you sell, you are taking a journey with your prospect from stranger to customer which is remarkably similar to the journey from stranger to lover. Not all sales require human contact however complex sales usually are based on strength of relationships and it is these kinds of sales that this book focuses on. Complex sales are a type of sale which are characterised by the buyer needing to trust the seller either because of the scale of the deal or because there is an ongoing relationship between the seller and the buyer, once the deal is consummated. Complex sales are a lot like marriage.

Before we delve into the world of selling lets first lets look at sex. Yes sex. The need for human contact is at the very core of human emotions. Yet we've built a set of rules in society that need to be followed to get to that highly desirable sex.

Dating.
Marriage.

Mating rituals allow the human race to continue and selling yourself to a prospective mate can be a daunting task yet it is something we feel compelled to do.

Now imagine a world where men and women failed to sell themselves to each other – we wouldn't have births and marriages and presumably death wouldn't happen either. The existence of the human race depends on selling ourselves as good sexual partners. Without sex – nothing happens – the human race ceases to exist.

If you are a virgin sales person you may feel much like you did when you first asked someone out on a date. Butterflies in your stomach. Lacking in confidence to make the first move. Basically your fear of getting it wrong is stopping you getting out there and selling. There are rituals which need to be followed in sales too and you are about to embark on a journey that will help you figure out what rules you need to follow in order to win the heart of your customer.

You might be thinking “I'm useless at pulling the chicks so I'll be useless at sales” – if that's the case you're in luck. This book will improve your love life as well as your sales!

Most people fear selling, so you are not an oddball. Most people are terrified of selling themselves, ideas or products. In the top 10 of fears, fear of dying comes third whilst fear of public speaking comes first. Your fear stems from the fact that you are making yourself vulnerable to attack, whether real or imagined. This fear is irrational. How many sales people have you heard of that have been killed whilst selling to a prospect? What's the worst that can happen?

Dating is the same - asking someone out on a date is one of the scariest things we've probably done – it is the fear of rejection that makes it so scary. There can be a lot of rejection in sales and I'm going to show you how to cope with these fears and handle rejection. And when you find that dream prospect that you think, “this could be the one” you'll know how to romance them and whisk them off their feet so they fall in love with you.

People buy from people and all things being equal people will buy from people they like. All things not being equal they still buy from people they like.

So a bit about this book. Firstly I've written the book from a male perspective since (i) I'm a man (ii) generally men do the chasing in dating (iii) in sales the seller usually has to do the chasing.

Some readers might be thinking I'm being chauvinistic. Well ask yourself “Is a sale male or female?”.

The French seem to know the answer. “Sale” in French is “la vente” - female. There is no doubt in my mind that a sale is a feminine thing. Just like a woman, the sale needs to be romanced to win it over. Women control dating, in fact I would be so bold to say that the groom doesn't know he is going to get married until the bride implants the idea in his head. Women certainly know whether their guy is going to get lucky. On the big night she will be in her best sexy underwear whereas he will probably wearing socks with holes in them and some threadbare boxer shorts.

Customer's control the sale – the sale isn't going to happen unless the customer wants to get hitched.

My final proof that a sale is female is the phrase “the customer is always right”. It shouldn't therefore be a surprise when you consider women are always right too.

This book is designed for two types of reader. Newcomers to sales that want to develop their own selling style that they feel comfortable with and those with some sales experience that are struggling to find selling natural. The selling style I cover here is more relevant for complex sales – those that are selling high value products and services however the techniques can be used on any sale where there is a lasting relationship. If your business is all about one night stands then this book is probably not for you.

By the end of the book you should be confident about going out there and engaging in lots of fun, unprotected sales.

Sales is some of the most fun you can have and make money from it ! Selling needs to be fun. Consider this. Who would you rather be sold to by? (a) someone dry and boring (b) someone fun and energetic.

CHAPTER 2

The Beginning of Sales

According to the bible somewhere near the beginning there was Adam and Eve. There wasn’t much need for selling in the garden of Eden. However along came some pesky snake and changed the balance of power and from then on, the need for sales arose.

Over the course of time, sales has grown to have a bad reputation. In fact the phrase a slippery salesman has emerged. I don’t know if this is a reference back to the serpent in the garden of Eden but if it is, it's wrong. Snakes are not slippery – they are smooth.

Sales is sometimes viewed as a sleazy, pushy profession. In many ways this doesn't sound any different to rape. If you have a perception that sales is forcing you to compromise your values then stop worrying. You won't be learning a rapist selling style here. You will be learning how to romance your customers to build a lasting relationship. Your goal is happy sales. Sales that both you and your customer are happy with.

Before we jump in, it's worth covering the basics. Sometimes the basics are not as basic as you might think. Now picture a sale in progress. There you are facing your customer. You're having a really fun time so you're smiling. Your customer is enjoying the sale and is smiling too. Now take a look at that customer. Look closer. What do you see?

They are a person just like you. They are not some scary monster. Lets zoom in a little further. Take a look at their head. Look closer. You'll find they have a brain just like yours. It's full of random thoughts, desires and emotions just like yours. Your customer is not a monster so you don’t need to be scared of them. They are not an object – they are human just like you.

It is very easy to start viewing people as objects in the sales process and when that happens, sales start to become very transactional. Customers are not a barrier or obstacle-course to a big pile of cash which you want to get at. Sure you want to earn money from selling but that is a side effect. If you get the sale right, your customer will want to give you their big pile of cash because you are giving them something that they value as much as, or maybe more than, the pile of cash.

The moment you forget your customer is a person with these needs and wants, you're straying into rapist territory. Selling is about satisfying your prospect's needs and not selfishly forcing your needs upon them.

Brain Power

Now you know that you'll be selling to a person and they have a brain just like you, it's worth taking a look under the hood. Knowing how your brain works will help you tremendously in sales and knowing how your customer's brain works will help you even more to be a success.

Brains are pretty complex and amazing things. Your brain is in fact three brains: left half, right half and the oldest brain - a small reptilian brain at the top of your spinal cord. You've probably heard about the left and right half of your brain.

The left side handles speech, time, logic, details, facts, problem solving, order and sequential information. The right brain recognizes pictures, faces, symbols, past and future, risk and spatial concepts. As a generalisation the left brain handles more logical, practical male tasks and the right side handles more emotional and creative tasks associated with females. This is often reflected in gender related jobs for example engineering is a male dominated profession which requires logic and attention to detail whilst women are stereotypically associated with artistic and creative jobs and therefore the right brain. One side is not better than the other – you need both sides to function fully.

Everybody uses both sides of their brain however one side tends to dominate. Now we come to the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain is probably the most important brain in many ways and it is also the brain that doesn't switch-off and have down-time as you will now find out.

You might think you're a very sensible person in control of yourself however you are wrong. Utterly wrong.

The reptilian brain exerts massive control over the rest of your brain (and body). This brain isn’t just some evolutionary legacy like an appendix, it is there to keep you alive. It handles most of your body's basic life support functions. Humans are pretty weak animals and it's the reptilian brain that's kept us alive for millions of years – it tells us when there is danger and it controls most of our emotions too, including sexual desire and love.

Now reptiles are not known for being particularly clever. They don't do tricks and in-fact reptiles don’t even dream. Yet this brain exerts a lot of control over you – it thinks it is looking after your best interest and can seize control whenever it wants. Right now it's working out whether you need to run from that sabre tooth tiger behind you? Did you feel your reptile brain kick into action for a fraction of a second as you read those words?

The fact that our weak logical brain is not in control is not new information. Phrases like “I know in my heart this is right”, “I have a gut feel about this” recognise that your logical brain is not the only brain. Go back to the 1500s and the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus (Erasmus of Rotterdam) observed this and said “Jupiter has bestowed far more passion than reason – you could calculate the ratio as 24 to one”. The emotional brain overwhelms the logical brain.

So if you thought sales was a logical process, think again. It is a messy emotional process. It's a lot like falling in love.

All of your senses, except smell, are hard wired into the reptile brain. That means everything you look at, hear, touch and taste is being processed first by your reptile brain. It is screening and censoring everything. You might have noticed that reptiles don't talk much or make much noise. Unfortunately speech is a product of your higher order brain. I say unfortunately because you think you're being clever when you speak but the person you're talking to is a reptile until they have screened your message to see if it is acceptable to be passed to the “higher order” brain.

Every time you look at something your reptile brain is evaluating what to do. Is this situation dangerous? Should I run away? Should I fight? Is this safe? So some of your primary emotions like fear and anger are because of the crocodile in your brain.

These base responses are termed “fight” or “flight”. In fact there are 4 responses referred to as the “four F's”. Fighting, fleeing, feeding and sex.

We don't want to invoke fighting (active resistance) responses or fleeing responses in our prospective customers when we come onto them. If we trigger these behaviours then they will manifest themselves as doors being slammed in our faces or ignoring us for example not returning our calls. We want to romance our customers into a sale so we need to be considered safe or stimulating.

Over the years I've come to the conclusion it is almost impossible to teach somebody your experiences – they pretty much have to make the mistake themselves in order to learn. Old habits die hard, and billions of years of crocodile brain evolution have given you some hard coded rules and behaviours that are designed to keep you alive. That means that there's nothing more stubborn than your reptile brain. It's developed what it thinks is a winning recipe to keep you alive so it won't change easily.

A key part of the reptile brain is the filter. It has a fancy name, the Recticular Activating System, which filters most information so only the really important stuff has to be processed by the brain. I first became aware that I had this filter in my head a few years ago when I decided I wanted a new type of car. Until my interest was aroused I thought these cars were pretty rare however I suddenly noticed these cars everywhere. I had literally been living with blinkers on and had filtered out this unimportant information. We are bombarded with information and filter out most information we are exposed to and probably for good reason. Without this filter we would collapse in a confused heap, overloaded with millions, if not billions, of bits of information which we are exposed to each day.

This filter has big implications for you. Firstly you need to learn about sales and because you're reading this book you need to have an open mind. If you haven’t got an open mind when reading this book, very little of this book's content will lodge in your brain – you'll carry on doing what you've always done. Secondly all your sales prospects have this filter which you need to get past. You need to understand how to get past their filter. One classic sales technique to break through the filter is brute force persistence.

Let's start with you. To get your reptile brain to do something different you either have to show it, that the task is very similar to something you already know (not a threat) or you have to shock it into a different way of thinking – effectively invoking the fight or flight mechanisms.

We'll be meeting your new reptile friend frequently and I'll be showing it that there is nothing to fear. Sales is fun and safe.

If you've ever tried to learn a foreign language it can be pretty daunting. Often you're on the path to failure before you've even started because if you think it is impossible to learn a foreign language then it will be impossible. I discovered Michel Thomas' language courses – they are great. His approach is to show you all the things that are the same – that way you don't feel threatened and you learn very quickly. We will be doing the same.

The reality is you already know how to sell. You will have bought a product or service in your life and interacted with a sales person, so you have been on the other side of the table of the sales process. You've seen selling in action and you've built a mental store of what worked well and what got your back up.

This book will tease your latent sales skills out in the open or adapt some existing skills from elsewhere. Don't believe me that you already know how to sell? Ask yourself “Have I ever had a good or bad sales experience?”. If you know what good and bad looks like then we know where we are headed.

To help you navigate your way around a sale, we need a map. A sale is a journey – the actual point of sale is just a specific point on that journey just like the wedding day is a specific point in a relationship. The diagram below shows the typical flow of a successful sale. Of course not all sales result in a commitment to buy. If you pick a sale you're familiar with, say you are walking into a clothes shop. The shop assistant might do a very basic introduction, they might sell you on a particular item such as “this colour suits you”. You select the item, go into the changing room to trial the product. You discover the item doesn't fit or they don't have your size. The result is the sale falls through.



In a more complex sale the introduction phase can involve the seller identifying prospective clients, some preliminary qualification and background information about the buyer. Once the formalities or pleasantries are over it then evolves into the selling phase – does the buyer need what we are selling. Once the customer feels the need for what is being sold, the next step is often some kind of validation or proof that the solution does what is needed. The validation step is required to ensure purchasing does not pose a risk to the buyer whether that is a risk to business or simply a risk to wasting money. Once a successful trial/demo has been completed, it may lead to a commitment or sale.

Not surprisingly, relationships follow a similar process:


Now you might look at this model and be saying “people don't get married nowadays” - living together is considered the commitment. In which case sex can be considered the trial or demonstration of compatibility. Just like in selling, not everyone you date will result in a marriage. Like sales, all dates are unique. The time spent in each phase of this model varies with each deal.

You should now have a mental map of where you are in the selling/dating process. Let's get busy and find the partner of our dreams.


Exercises and Actions

Reflect on your sales experiences both as a seller and a buyer.

  • How did you feel in the sales experience?
  • If you were being pushed into a sale what emotions and reactions, such as fight or flight were triggered?
  • Write down where your head-is-at – what are your current feelings about selling? For example are you nervous, confident, love it or feel you're compromising your values.

CHAPTER 3

Getting Match Fit

Athletes warm-up before a race. Winning a race is about being physically ready and just as importantly, being mentally ready.

Success is all about getting in the right frame of mind.

Physically there is very little difference between the best tennis player and the number five tennis player in the world. The real difference is inside their heads. One knows they can win, the other thinks they can win.

So to prepare you for this dating frenzy, we need to get you mentally prepared and your mind in the right place.

Sales is as much about having the right mindset for success as it is about the process of selling. If you think you can't sell – you will fail. If you condition yourself to believe you can sell – you will succeed. The sales mindset is not just about feeling confident about the technical aspects of selling – it is also about feeling that you deserve success. Many sales people crumble under pressure like bottom league professional tennis players when the pressure is on and the stakes are high. If it were possible to play a “sales friendly” they would sell like a professional sales champion but once the stakes rise for a big deal, they choke under the pressure. Odd destructive behaviours can emerge.

How comfortable would you feel selling a £10,000 deal?
What about a £5 million deal?

Reflect for a second. Did you feel a twinge of panic about whether you could sell a £5 million deal?
No. What about a £5 billion deal?

The rules of selling are the same – it's the stakes that have changed. The moment doubts creep in and you start to believe you won't win the sale, then doubts will turn into beliefs and unfortunately beliefs turn into reality. Competition for the big prize will be high – don't let nerves and other human defects blow your sales deals.

First the big ask – please forget all the emotional baggage you're carrying around about sales. Maybe you've had a really bad sales experience that still haunts you. Do I only have to mention the word sales and you start twitching? ...”I really wasn’t comfortable buying that car but the sales guy pushed me into the sale. I hated that car. I hate that salesman. Why did I buy that luminous orange car. I couldn’t sell it on and everyone laughed at me. Being a sales person means I have to be like him!”

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If you enjoyed this sample, you can buy Romancing The Sale on Amazon Kindle. You don't need a Kindle as there are readers available iPhone, Android and even PC.




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