Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

13 Platinum Sales Success Ideas

Selling for me began at the age of 12.

My dad was an engineer. Mechanical and civil. Early on he said to me, "Son, I've never sold anything, but I have bought a lot of stuff ... and you ought to sell." That's how it began.

The mile walk home from school, knocking on doors in the days when the lady of the house would be home, was my introduction to face-to-face selling. Every day a different way to walk that mile. Every day a new sales experience.

When you're a kid you can get grown-ups to buy just about anything. Just look at the Girl Scouts and their cookie sale. Or any youth organization — all the kids need do is look at you ... and you melt to their message.

Not so in the real world. For me the real world began with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was a light — a guiding light. He left many things for those of us who followed.

For example, Franklin chose 13 subjects he felt he needed to master. His learning plan was simple; each of the 13 points would be given strict attention for a single week. And then he'd move to the next. And the next.

In this way he worked through his entire list of 13 points 4 times a year.

This is exactly how I learned to become a professional salesman. The concept of Franklin was translated to a book by Frank Bettger, titled How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

Frank had 13 points, too. Some came directly from Franklin. Others were selected because they are specific to selling. This Baker's Dozen checklist of 13 ideas has been put together to help you become more successful at selling.

1. Be Enthusiastic!

Act enthusiastic and you'll become enthusiastic.

If you truly believe in what you are offering, and it shows, you are much more likely to be sales successful.

If you are dull, boring, no expression, no passion — it is difficult for your prospect to get excited about being your customer. If you don't care — and it shows — why should anyone care?

Being enthusiastic does not mean you jump up and down. It doesn't mean you slap people on the back to tell them how wonderful they are. It does mean you are warm, convincing, persuasive, precise. It does mean you know what you are talking about — and it shows.

Selling is getting your audience to buy from you. Show some enthusiasm about that process. Be enthusiastic!

2. Be Organized

Sales people are suppose to be able to "think on your feet".

Fine — I agree.

Yet, before you "think on your feet" I recommend you THINK ON YOUR SEAT!

Take enough time to think and plan. Set aside a time — it could be one full day a week — and get yourself ready. Ready for the next set of calls. Think what needs to be said, to whom, why and when.

That is, take time to think and plan. To be prepared.

Yes, we are in a fast paced constantly moving world. Still, if we move without direction because we did not take enough time, we will fall down. Sooner or later we will fall down.

To be ready to make a full and complete pitch to that new prospect, or to present an upgrade program to an existing client, you must organize your mind for selling. Get organized. Think on your seat.

3. Think in Terms of Others Interests

Yes, I truly believe nothing happens until someone sells something to someone. And then everything happens!

You see, that first sale is just the beginning. As no one wants to make just one sale to only one person just one time. Everyone is looking for repeat business. And the way to earn repeat business is to think in terms of the other guys interests.

If selling is presenting the product and collecting the money — a definition from Jack Wahl — why should anyone do business with you? The prime reason is always benefits.

What do you offer that will benefit me? What do you bring to the table that is unique, different, unusual and different than the other guy? And still be useful to me?

To make prospects customers you must appeal to their first line of interest. Be "interesting" to your marketplace.

4. Ask Questions!

Asking questions is to your sales advantage. For the person doing the asking is always in charge.

Which simply means ask a lot of questions.

Studies have shown successful sales people talk only 1/3 of the time ... and listen 2/3rds. Not what you may think when you think selling.

Selling, by popular definition, is talking, presenting, showing, demonstrating ... and talking more. Yet, you will enjoy more success if you talk less.

One of the better ways to talk less is to get a two-way communication going. Frequently you can do just that by asking questions.

You ask questions to qualify a prospect. To find their true needs. To clarify the situation. To get your customers respect. And to build relations and trust.

You ask questions to involve the prospect — getting them to talk with you will tell you how to sell them. You ask questions because by doing so you are in control — you are leading the way. This gives you more "yes" answers, fewer "no's" — and more closes.

All because you ask questions. Do it.

5. Find the KEY issue

No matter what anyone says, there is always a key issue before a buying decision.

There is a reason someone makes a buy. The issue could be more than a single point — in fact it could be several. Under the same umbrella.

So, to be successful in selling you must find the main point of interest — the most vulnerable point. The point — or issue — that will move a prospect to become a customer.

See point #4. for how to do this — ask questions!

Yet, there is more. There is the collection of "senses". And for selling there are more than the known 5: ... feel ... smell ... taste ... hear ... see.

There are 2 more senses for successful selling. The first is movement. How and where and, if you can learn, "why" people sit, stand, move about. The physical part of how people handle themselves. Long ago it was called "body language". The concept is still alive.

The 7th and last sense is common. Which is equally important with each of the others. Of course, as Mark Twain said, "the most common thing about common sense is it isn't very common."

Uncover your prospects needs by asking questions — by looking for their most important or key issue — by applying the 7 senses.

6. Listen!

It is very easy to talk about and very difficult to do. Listen.

Why is this so? Because rarely is anyone taught to listen. We teach reading and writing and "assume" hearing is listening. Which, of course, it is not.

Knowing how to listen takes more than 2 good ears — it takes practice ... concentration ... effort. And of course it requires you to keep your mouth shut! Something difficult for many in sales.

Harry Erlicher of GE said it best; "A salesman cannot know too much ... but he can TALK too much."

Yogi Berra shares a reason to listen; "You can see a lot just by listening."

The best definition of listening comes from the comics. Andy Capp's bartender; "A good listener isn't someone who has nothing to say. A good listener is a good talker who's after something."

Sounds like a successful sales tip to me.

7. Deserve Confidence

If you say you are good, you had better be good. If you feel you are competent, a knowledge leader in your business, make certain you are.

Prospects will respect you when they know you. Make certain they know about your company, as well as your product and service. Are they comfortable with you — the person? Make certain they are.

Prospects become customers when they understand what you are offering. And how it will satisfy their specific, individual, unique and different needs.

Your best customers feel good about doing business with you because you make them look good. To their boss, their team mates, in their marketplace.

When it is time to be compared to the competition — do the comparison honestly and fairly.

When you are asked for a solution to a need — make a thorough study and then a thorough presentation of your ideas

And always be a "pro". Which means look, act, present as is fitting within your marketplace.

You earn the right to deserve the confidence you desire. So earn it!

8. Knowledge of Your Business

Nobody has too much knowledge. There is no such thing as too much knowledge.

So, how do you become a knowledge expert in your business? By constantly being involved with your business.

Subscribe and read the trades. Go to the conventions. Ask your elders in the business to mentor you. Make calls with a partner. That is, get involved and stay involved.

On the other side, do the same with your customers. Learn what they read, and read it. Find out what meetings they attend — and attend. And because there is nothing like first hand knowledge, ask to go along with their sales reps to see their customers.

The only way to become a knowledge expert is to study. Do it.

9. Appreciation & Praise

Selling is a people business. People make things happen. It is people who build quality. Who offer service.

Each of us has have had people in our history who moved us along to where we are today. This thought — Appreciation & Praise — is here to make certain we do not forget where we came from. We came from people.

And our customers are people, too. A study revealed there are 5 most important things that buyers feel about sellers:

they want the seller to be credible — to know what they are talking about,
they want the seller to be a true on the job "professional",
they expect the seller to have product knowledge, in depth, including the competitors options,
they need the seller to have problem-solving skills, which means they are much more than an order taker,
they like to see decent presentation skills.

To be appreciated you need to be good. To continually get better at selling requires we remember where we came from, too.

10. SMILE!

The single most powerful act you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.

A voice with a smile always wins, too. Just smiling, with no comment, gets attention. Smiling as you speak doubles your success.

And it is easy to do. Smiling takes far fewer face muscle than frowning ... something like 7 to over 100. Seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?

Do it — SMILE!

11. Remember Names & Faces

For some — like me — the face is easy. The name is tough.

There are many "formulas" for remembering. Mine? Write it down!

Always when I write the name, even without any comment, it sticks.

For some repetition works. Maybe association with a place, time, fact, situation. There is no right or wrong way. Whatever works for you — do it.

Oh, and do do it! It is important. Never forget a customer ... never let a customer forget you. Remember, put a name with the face. It is vital to your sales success.

12. Service & Prospecting

Two thoughts here; taking care of your current customers, and looking for new.

These ideas are together because they directly relate. One of your best sources for new business is your current customer base. Why? Because no one (including me) is getting all the business available to you from your current customers. You know this is true, so what are you doing about it?

A good way to take your customers to the next level AND to provide them with superior service, is to reach out to them more often. "Talk" with them. Ask them questions. Get them to tell you what they need — are looking for — their problems — their challenges. Frequently YOU can fulfill their needs. All because you expressed interest and asked.

And because you are already working successfully together, you are very likely to get more business. Good service will grow to more business.

Yet, you do need to look outside your current collection for truly new, too. Why? Because no matter how good you are, there will be a churn in your base. It happens to everyone.

So, plan to focus on your customers with outrageous service. More than they expect. You will keep more of them and grow with them when you do.

And, at the same time, always be looking for new. It is the only way to continue to grow sales successfully.

13. Closing the Sale; ACTION!

Selling is most measurable. You either get the money, or you do not. You either have a transaction, or you do not. Selling is a very black and white deal. You win — or your do not. Period.

To get there you aim for the bottom line. Which is A.F.T.O. ... Ask For The Order.

Which follows D.W.I.T., or Do What It Takes. Successful sales people DWIT first. Which leads to AFTO. Which becomes a sale.

The first dozen points in this set lead to the last, #13. For when you are organized, enthusiastic, ask questions about the prospects key issues and prime interests, and then listen, you are more likely to have already D.W.I.T. Done What It Takes.

When you really know your business and have earned confidence, understand it is people, rather than things, that are really important, smile, remember and service ... when you AFTO the prospect is ready to buy.

Some would say selling is not rocket-science. Or brain-surgery. True ... it is not. Yet, selling is a pro-active process. To be successful in sales you do need to be ready.

Get ready — and DIRFT. Do It Right the First Time.

Okay, that's it. The Baker's Dozen Collection — 13 Platinum Sales Success Ideas.

Let's go to it!

Baker's Dozen INDEX

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