If someone had approached you as a kid and asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, would you have said sales?
My father asked me this question when I was eleven years old. I gave him some half-hearted answers before he interjected and said, “Mark, the best way to prosper yourself is to prosper others.” That advice has stayed with me ever since, and you know what – it’s entirely true!
The truth is that many of us in the efficiency industry are “accidental salespeople.” We didn’t necessarily plan on going into sales, but our lives have led us to this work. So, how do you master sales if you enter the scene as an accidental salesperson? Here are some of the basics:
- First, you need to know what your prospects care about. If you’re selling to restaurants, their needs are going to be entirely different from those of hospitals. Every industry cares about something and it’s your responsibility to know what it is.
- Market segments are just the beginning. You can succeed at selling to a certain industry (our Segment Guides will definitely show you the way); however, sometimes the richest rewards come from focusing on a sub-segment or a particular niche market.
- Once you know your market, you need to tailor your message for that particular segment and the people you’re talking to. As I often say, the best way to do that is framing your offerings using yardsticks your prospects are already using to measure their own success.
- You need to ask better questions, not only of your prospects, but of the customers you already have. You need to know more than just what they do for a living. You need to know what they value and how they measure it. You don’t sell someone who is just starting out in the same way you’d sell someone nearing retirement. Similarly, you’d likely have very different things to say to a CEO vs. a chief engineer.