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By David Quinn

It surprises me the amount of salespeople that are confused about what lies at the core of professional selling. Nobody really likes to be ‘sold to’ so why do so many salespeople insist on ‘selling’ to their customers?

Selling for many salespeople means telling customers exactly what they don’t want to hear. Give a salesperson the opportunity to outline the purpose of their visit (Which many customers do) and they will fill the first 10 minutes with a load of ‘auld waffle’ e.g. “We are part of a global operation employing 5000 people worldwide and servicing a customer base of 200,000 with gross turnover in the region of 20 billion etc…….”, know what I mean? This information may be interesting at some time in the future right now it is boring and irrelevant.

In addition amateur salespeople tend to focus on what the product /service is, they respond in terms of technicalities and features, repeating specifications and descriptions contained in their brochure and other sales literature. The professional on the other hand talks about the end result focusing single-mindedly on the specific problems or needs of the customer/prospect. They are constantly alert to the customer’s expectations and possess a fundamental understanding of the customer’s buying motives.

In the world of professional selling salespeople soon learn that ‘customers’ should be placed at the centre of their universe where everything revolves around them. I would advise salespeople to adopt a style of selling where customers do not feel like they are being ‘sold to’ and instead to take on the mantle of problem solver, solutions provider, consultant, advisor and profit maker. It is easier to establish rapport if as a salesperson you display a genuine interest in your customers needs, their business operation, their customers, their market and their future survival and prosperity. Does selling really require to you to become so interested? Yes, of course it does and failure to do so will no doubt impact negatively on your success.

David Quinn is head of training in Quinn Training and can be contacted on (01) 4978353 or by email at mail@quinntraining.ie. Comments on any of his blog posts are very welcome.

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