Thursday, April 09, 2009

Getting Serious about Sales

There’s a rhyme that comes to mind when I think about selling:

He who has a thing to sell
And goes and whispers in a well,
Is not as apt to make the dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollers.

When I first launched Makovsky + Company, it was clear that I needed to start hollering. However, I quickly found out that selling was not hitting someone over the head to buy or yelling more loudly than my competitors.

Over the years, I’d learned a lot from my mentor, the late Kal Druck, a founder of PRSA and a six-foot, 225-pound legend in our industry. Kal used his considerable physical presence and his charisma to transfix clients and prospects and draw them into his orbit.

While I knew I was never going to be my former boss, I took copious notes on his phraseology and selling strategies as I accompanied him over the years. But initially I didn’t have Kal’s success rate. After a few failures, I realized that while chemistry is mighty important — the person you’re selling to must like you and feel that you’re sincere and trustworthy — the real secret to selling is to understand the position and needs of the person on the other side of the table. If you can relate to those needs and provide that person with answers to his problems, then you can sell successfully.

Effective salesmanship is basically about creating an environment in which people want to buy. How you dress, how you look, your manners, your personality, the appearance of your offices, the quality of your materials and their content are all facets. But so is the frequency with which potential prospects hear from you … via direct mail, your blogs, networking, speeches, white papers and, of course, publicity. .

While some say that most people don’t want to be sold, my experience leads me to a far different conclusion. I believe that most people do want to be sold. I find that people who have public relations problems do want to hear from us. What’s more, they’re likelier to recognize a great idea if it’s presented by a great salesman. If we “holler” nicely, we’re not an imposition — we’re offering tremendous value that enriches both parties to the transaction.

Technorati Tags: Makovsky + Company, selling, PRSA , Kal Druck, clients, prospects, salesmanship, blogs, networking, white papers, business, communications, public relations


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