The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 11, 2016 • Issue 16:04:01
Back to basics, again, again
No matter what profession you're in, it's important to return to the basics periodically. This is partly because memory is fallible. Periodic refreshers help you be consistent in both your performance and the services you offer.
Also, each time you review the fundamentals, you are doing so with more information and experience than you had the last time you went through the material. Your perspective will be new, and your attention will be drawn to different things than before.
So much to learn
The first time through basic training in merchant services, for example, new entrants to the industry are faced with a tremendous amount of information to absorb. The abbreviations and acronyms alone can make a person dizzy: BIN, MCC, EMV, PCI DSS, PCI SSC, PA-DSS, ISO, MLS, ISA, QUAL, MID-QUAL, NON-QUAL ‒ you get the idea. And that's barely scratching the surface of what a payment professional must grapple with when preparing for that first sales call.
Given the volume of information to learn, it's understandable that some important points won't even be on a newbie's radar – the importance of listening, for example. After a little experience and perhaps a few accounts lost because you were so focused on your own performance you didn't really pay attention to your prospects, you'll return to the basics and a little bell will go off in your mind when you read about how essential it is to listen first before you present solutions to a potential customer.
Sales basics, in short
In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green emphasized the importance of remembering the sales basics. He listed a short version of the basics in four points adapted from the book, as follows:
- Listen intently: The 80/20 rule bears repeating: spend 80 percent of your time listening and only 20 percent talking. You're there to serve your customer's needs, but you won't be able to if you don't stop talking long enough to uncover them. Sit on the edge of your seat and be fascinated by what your prospect has to say.
- Ask questions first, present later: If your presentation doesn't highlight the features or benefits your prospects are interested in, it probably won't persuade them to buy. Make sure you understand their needs, wants, expectations and feelings 100 percent so your presentation hits all their hot buttons. Ask questions first to ensure that you don't share all your good news on page one; it may help build your prospects' trust by showing them their needs come before your desire to sell.
- Uncover needs, don't presume them: Just as no competent doctor prescribes a treatment before thoroughly examining a patient, let your prospects tell you what they need instead of assuming you already know. Should you make a service recommendation without consulting them, they might question your competence and intentions. Remember, your prospects know themselves and their businesses best.
- Talk to decision makers: Presentations demand a lot of work and time, so make sure you present only to those who can reward your effort with a sale. It may take longer to reach upper management, but trying to sell to anyone else simply wastes time – yours and theirs. Spend time gathering from all levels of the organization and continue to work on getting the right person.
If you were to create a four-point list of sales basics, it might differ from Green's. But however you approach the task, you will derive value from reviewing the fundamentals again and again.
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