“Son, if you want to catch a fish, you have to think like a fish not like a fisherman”
It’s surprising to discover the lack of sales courses available at Babson but in the face of every adversity there is an opportunity. At Babson, it comes in the form of the intensive elective: Selling Ideas, Products and Services to Executives.
What if you were asked to recollect the last time you made a sale? Many of us would instantly say, “Never, I haven’t worked in the sales industry.” Well you’re wrong. We make a sale every day of our lives. Think of the last time you sent out an email requesting a client for a meeting, a knowledgeable person to act as keynote for a conference, a professor to make an exception and allow you to sit in on a sold out class, an employer for a job or a girl on a date (well she didn’t say yes if you sent her an ‘email’).
This 1.5 credit intensive taught by Prof. Vincent (Vini) Onyehma does a splendid job of disrupting myths people seem to carry around about the “sales” function and arming students with tools and techniques to be better salesmen not only in the professional space but also in the personal space. The foundation of the course is based on the belief that the growth of business revenue depends directly on a firm’s ability to create additional value for current and potential customers. Therefore, the focus of this intensive is on the professional selling process — identifying opportunities, gaining access to decision makers, building relationships with decision makers and influencers, presenting value proposals, handling resistance and objections, and completing the sale. The course includes a number of approaches: series of hands-on exercises, role-play’s, panel sessions and sales tapes.
Sales like entrepreneurship is a mindset as opposed to a discipline. I’ll leave you on this note: Making a sale is like wooing a woman. The process has to be natural and slow. You got to start by getting to know her with the dinners and the flowers, ensued by follow up calls the next day combined with the ability to listen carefully and finally getting her to like you before throwing in the big bomb. In the same way, when a sales person goes for a sales call he would blow the deal if he started off right away by pitching his product rather than focusing on establishing a connection with the customer.
- Sell results not products: Nobody wants to buy what you sell. What they want are the business results they can achieve by utilising what you sell.
- Let the customer walk away without a prescription if the diagnosis requires so: If you realize the customer has no need for your product at that point in time, refuse to make the sale. All thanks to the credibility you have now established to your surprise, that customer will be your biggest seller.
- Think twice before fabricating lies to make a sale: Draw a line between truth and deceit. It is important to remember that the truth is a fact that exists irrespective of you whereas a lie is a figment of your imagination and the truth and the lie cannot stand together in the same space for a long period of time. Customers purchase based on the credibility of the sales person first followed by the credibility of the product.
- Don’t take NO for an answer: When a prospective customer refuses to make a purchase he is not rejecting you but he is rejecting your product at THAT moment in time under THAT circumstance. Don’t shut the doors on that customer as in another moment or in another circumstance he may very well convert into your customer.
- Be passionate about what you sell: If a customer is purchasing mountain gear from you in preparation for the trek he/she is making to the Mt. Everest and if you are unsure
about your product, the customer isn’t going to put their life on the line and take a risk by buying from you. The passion and the enthusiasm from a salesperson has to be infectious in order to pass on to the customer and generate confidence in the product.
Definitely a class you do NOT want to miss out on while at Babson!
For those interested to learn more ‘Selling Results! – The Innovative System for Maximizing Sales by Helping Your Customers Achieve Their Business Goals’ by Bill Stinnett will get you to a great start!