3 Key Principles For a Solid Sales Foundation
Anyone entering the world of sales will immediately notice the thousands of strategic methodologies and tactical tips out there on how to most effectively approach. Some of the most well-known sales books covering methodologies and/or tips include Solution Selling, The Challenger Sale, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Little Red Book of Selling, SPIN Selling, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Secrets of Closing the Sale, etc.
I’ve found much sound, relevant, and useful information in studying many of them, and would encourage anyone serious about sales to study as much as possible, but the most important thing I’ve done (on my own and with help of others) is identify many of the underlying principles, ideas, and customs that appear to transcend them all. I consider this identification supremely important because it enables me to think and therefore act to navigate different situations as effectively as possible, leading to the healthiest possible outcomes.
I haven’t found a resource that really identifies them all, so I’ll do that to a limited degree here. Below are a few major examples listed under their natural subjects but all present in sales (assuming you’re selling in America).
-A healthy business relationship: each side feels it’s benefitting from the value exchange considering objective standards- a win/win
-The goal of a for-profit business is to maximize shareholder wealth
-Negotiation is a critical means of shareholder wealth maximization and is legal and ethical
-The price of anything is what the market will pay
-Differentiated offerings must demand a disproportionally high premium to maximize shareholder wealth
-Satisfied repeat customers are a business’s greatest source and opportunity for profit
-The customer isn’t always right
-People naturally react to every stimulus emotionally first but can choose to respond rationally
-People naturally avoid loss when comfortable and fight or fly when threatened
-People naturally subject to confirmation bias, reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus
-Groups naturally subject to groupthink/herding/conformity/social proof
And finally, Sales-Specific:
-A salesperson’s job is to sell their companies’ goods and services for more money and to more buyers than they could be sold otherwise
-A salesperson must clearly understand their offerings’ differentiated value
-Discovery is usually the most important part of any sales cycle
-Politely disqualifying a prospect is second only in importance to closing a deal
-Nurturing an unqualified prospect should almost always be one of the lowest priorities
-Satisfying customers’ every request for information/support does not make buying easier for the customer
-Higher prices will not necessarily cause customers to defect
-Accountability to and from customers is a critical component of healthy sales cycles and must be mutually decided upon from the very beginning of each cycle
-5 components of healthy accountability: clear expectations, clear capability, clear measurement, clear feedback, clear consequences
The final 2 major principles I’ll note are the keys to navigating all: 1) many principles naturally appear contradict each other to some degree even while being correct (e.g. satisfied repeat customers are the greatest source of profit and the customer isn’t always right), so a salesperson must be able to discern WHEN one conflicting idea takes precedence over another and 2) have the courage & resolve to act on the most important principle/idea considering the circumstances.
I’m confident keeping the above principles and ideas in mind will help you better navigate the complex world of sales too.
Good luck and good selling!