In strategy sessions conducted with clients I often ask: “What’s the number one thing that will increase sales?” While I get a number of diverse answers (or worse, blank stares!), in my opinion the number one thing that must come before all others is that you have to believe you can increase sales. That might sound like I’ve been reading a little too much Napoleon Hill, but in order to believe that you can increase sales, you have to believe that what you are selling has real value and that people need it. They will value it because it will make a difference and have a significant impact on what they are trying to accomplish.
In my experience, it explains why in small to mid-sized businesses or start ups, the owners outsell their sales team. Of course they do because they have incredible passion and refuse to fail. If they continue to outsell their sales team over time, perhaps they have failed to engage them fully in their vision, or to help them understand why they started the business and why it matters. Their salespeople are out selling what the company does and how they do it, instead of why. This requires passion. The business owner or manager needs to be an inspiring leader to instill this in the salespeople. If the salespeople love what they do and believe fully in the company and its products, the sales will follow. Of course they need training and coaching, but all the training and coaching in the world won’t help salespeople exceed quota if they don’t believe. I highly recommend Start With Why, by Simon Sinek to help understand why getting to the “why” is so important.
In the sales process, by asking questions and listening, and getting to know the person you can start learning more and educating them. Instead of telling them the features and benefits of your product and trying to differentiate your product from others, what if you helped them understand why your company does what it does, why you love your job and why you believe in your offerings. You would be getting them excited and engaged. It’s about emotion. Every business owner and salesperson I know wants to have all the sales they need. Think about how you can help your customers and prospects understand your “why.”
I think a good summary of the 5 Key Elements of a Successful Business was posted on forum by a collegue of mine, Rossco Paddison. He explained it like this:
Purpose: This is the WHY
Product: This explains WHAT
People: This explains WHO
Pace: This explains WHEN
Process: This explains the HOW
The overriding principle is to start with why and communicate your purpose and belief to your target market.
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