Selling Points

Catchy phrases become clich�s because they're true. Take a look at these 6 sales maxims and see if you agree.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Secretary of State Colin Powell once said, "There are no secrets to success. Don't waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence." The same applies to success in selling.

Other people may look at these high-sales achievers and say "They were born lucky," "They were born talented" or "They got a great territory." The reality is, they simply acted on the basic truths of sales. At first glance, you might brush these truths aside as clich�s. But a closer look reveals that clich�s become clich�s because they're true. Here are some sales truths to live by:

Don't take no for an answer. It's been said that buyers will say no at least five times before they say yes. It takes persistence to go beyond that first no, to hang in there until the deal is closed. Remember that persistence makes up for a lot of deficiencies you may have.

Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle. Selling the sizzle makes it possible for prospects to smell the steak cooking, to hear the fat dripping into the fire, to see the juices running onto the plate and to taste the smoky barbecue flavor--even when there's nothing in front of them except you. You're not just selling the steak, you're selling the pleasure and satisfaction that steak will bring. And it's your spirit and enthusiasm that makes that happen. If you don't believe in what you're selling, how will the customer?

The harder you work, the luckier you get . All the high-achievers I know tell me the secret to their success is basic--hard work. It's doing more than is required. It's that extra push that makes the difference, whether it's getting new prospects, serving current customers or working with vendors. It's always the extra effort you put in that gets you a "lucky" break.

It's not what you know, it's who you know. Never underestimate the power of each person you meet. You may think someone is unimportant--but you never know how much power that person may have. Seemingly inconsequential contacts you make today may be your most important links to tomorrow's sale. Then, of course, comes the second stage: Once a contact has gotten you through a door, it's what you know that's most important.

Actions speak louder than words. Anyone can talk a great game. It's what you do after the talk, after the sale has gone through, and after the promises have been made. It's follow-up and follow-through. That's where trust, service and future business are built.

Honesty is the best policy . Customers never want to hear bad news. They don't want to hear that they have to pay extra or that delivery may take longer. But the best salespeople always tell customers the truth to ensure there are no misunderstandings later on. Customers hate bad news, but they hate unpleasant surprises even more. Honesty and integrity should be your calling cards. They'll create a lifetime of relationships.

The salespeople who achieve the most are those who practice these basic truths. So don't just let sales clich�s go in one ear and out the other. Stop, listen and think about the nugget of truth that a clich� contains--and what that truth can mean to your sales.

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