How Accurate Are Your Sales Beliefs?

By / 8 months ago

What you believe to be true about selling just might be dead wrong!

I graduated from college with a degree in clinical psychology. In my undergraduate studies, we spent many hours studying beliefs and how those beliefs influence behavior. How we behave as salespeople has a tremendous amount to do with what we believe.

Some of our beliefs are factual while others are merely opinions. Right or wrong, if you believe strongly enough your opinions are accurate, they can influence your behavior as strongly as beliefs you know to be true.

As children, many of us believed strongly that Santa Claus lived at the North Pole and at Christmas time magically delivered presents to little boys and girls throughout the world by hitching his reindeer to a sled and flying through the air from house to house. As we aged our belief in Santa Claus diminished.

If you want to increase your sales and gross margin, begin immediately making yourself more valuable to your customers and prospects.

As novice salespeople our beliefs are often influenced by our encounters with customers and prospects, our bosses, our fellow salespeople, etc. We hear them make dogmatic statements we often believe to be true, but may or may not be accurate.

“All customers care about is price.”

“That buyer is in bed with the competition; you’re wasting your time trying to sell him.”

“The only way to get your foot in the door with a prospect who is loyal to a competitor is to buy your way in and then try to slowly edge your prices up.”

“When Quality Homes went into business, our credit manager wouldn’t approve his credit, so don’t waste your time calling on him. He hates our company.”

How about you? Are any of these beliefs similar to your beliefs? Some of them may be true and others may be false, but if you believe them, they are true to you.
When I am engaged in sales training or sales coaching, I frequently observe these type of beliefs. Even though I have learned that “buying at the best price is not all buyers care about,” it is extremely difficult to convince certain salespeople that a low-ball price is not the most expedient way to get their foot in the door.

I try to convince the salespeople I am coaching there are more effective—and certainly more profitable—ways to get a buyer’s attention. One tactic I use is to ask them when they take the path of least resistance and resort to lowballing the price in an attempt to get an order, does the buyer often shop their price right back to his current supplier? They almost always answer yes.

While price may be important to a buyer, it seems his relationship with his current supplier is apparently of equal if not of greater importance. So regardless of the sales tactics you employ, you must first establish a relationship with the decision maker before you are likely to receive even a portion of his business.

I believe most buyers are looking for value. If, as a salesperson, you are able to convince a buyer that you are an invaluable resource who can deliver money-making ideas and solutions to problems the buyer cannot solve for himself, you will quickly learn that you are a great deal more valuable than the salesperson who has nothing more to offer than a low-ball price.
If you want to increase your sales and gross margin, begin immediately making yourself more valuable to your customers and prospects. Become a problem solver. Become a student. Become a resource. Make copious notes. Keep a journal of your experience. Pretty soon, you’ll have knowledge your customers and prospects will covet.

Salespeople who live by the sword typically die by the sword. If you use price to get an order, you’ll lose the business just as quickly to another salesperson with a lower price. Build your reputation as a resource and you’ll have more business than you can service. n

Bill Lee

Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at www.BillLeeOnLine.com, or 800.277.7888.