Too often, when we hear about "selling" we think only of the people who actually have the word "sales" in their job titles, but that´s so, well, yesterday. Today, we all sell. I sell, you sell, we all sell. You get the idea. Indeed, some of the most successful people around got that way because they know how to move products and services whether it´s a root canal or ginger root. They´re good listeners, they do their research, and they know how to manage their time.
Next month, a new book, Exceptional Selling: How the Best Connect and Win in High Stakes Sales by Jeff Thull, will be released. In the book, Thull, president and CEO of Prime Resource Group, shatters old assumptions about business-to-business selling. "Salespeople who are willing to turn conventional selling techniques upside down and change their beliefs, perspective, and how they communicate will see a dramatic increase in sales," says Thull. The approach he presents is called "diagnostic mindset" combined with the skills of the "diagnostic conversation."
What I like already about this book is his knack and willingness to bring up topics that we may not always want to hear. He tells us, for example, that we´ll be "warned about the pitfalls that can get us into trouble." In the shortest moment, we can dig a hole so deep that there´s little that language can do to save us. He asks if you´ve ever heard yourself say things like this to customers: "You´ve probably never though of this but . . ." and then there´s this somewhat arrogant blunder: "We save companies like yours millions of dollars in wasted . . ." If you´re not well-schooled in what an insult looks like then you might be making the same error. Thull calls these blunders "dangling insults" and he´s right on the mark. The person who hears these insults might not know what him, but it might be apparent in a raised eyebrow or, later, unreturned calls and you may never hear from that prospect again. We all say things we shouldn´t. We utter remarks that we learn to regret, sometimes for a very long and painful period of time. But if we´re more careful with our language we can succeed in ways we might not have thought possible.
Remember, though, we´re not just talking about your sales staff. Everyone sells. Colleagues sell ideas to each other. You sell your staff on new strategies. And, yes, you´ve got those challenging prospects to butter up to. Are you willing to closely examine the way you handle conversations? Are you prepared to change the way you talk to people? Stay tune, because next time I´ll delve into Thull´s book and share some of his novel tactics for improving your edge, feeling better about your work, and building your credibility.