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Mastering the Art of Sales

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dominic Arland
is the MD of Arland Training Consultants

The art of selling and its mastery has seldom raised a storm in a tea cup. However in these challenging times, sales teams continue to remain adept at raising the profit margin of successful organizations all over the world. When in the field, their work truly represents the pulse of a company’s business strategy and vision for the customer. Clearly we are talking about the stereotypical sales person who thrives on targets, territories and the elusive promise of a variable commission.

However the ground realities are a far cry from the glamour and money that can sometimes be associated with this profession. One could safely say that there are clear winners and then there are the strugglers who invariably buckle under the pressure of an ever stretching target in a competitive market place.

So how does the successful salesperson meet and exceed his numbers time and again?  A question that is often asked by the unaccomplished colleague who struggles to achieve his break even point. The key is in the system applied and not in the wizardry of luck by chance.

The power to write your own pay check is gratifying and at the same time exponentially rewarding for the perseverant and the structured candidate. The start point is in understanding the difference between a transaction and a sale. For example if a customer walks into a store and buys a product with no pitch required from the sales person then this does not constitute a sale, but merely qualifies as a transaction for the organization.

However if the customer is unaware of his needs and the sales person applies the skill of direct/indirect suggestion to convert that latent need, then it becomes a personalized sale.

Top sales teams understand this difference and spend a reasonable amount of time and money to impart this logic to their teams thus giving them a distinctive advantage over their competitors.

Some sales managers leading teams would argue that irrespective of what transpires it is the sale that finally matters. In some sense one could partially agree with the crude logic in that thought process. However with the globalization of markets, the consumer has overwhelming choices that come to him with competitive benefits.

We can safely say that the world is moving towards a service centric sales process, where-in the seller’s role does not end when the sale has been made, but interestingly continues long after the deal has transpired.

The customer of today tends to choose sales personnel that display exemplary service skills while pitching their products for sale. Interestingly the customer may or may not buy a product depending on the displayed service standard. The inclusion of a strong after sales service contract can be the key to repeat business and a possible referral from the customer’s inner most circle.

In the end the victorious sales person has learnt to build a strict discipline that employs the principles of planning, preparation, presentation, need identification and service enhancement. The mere repetition of the task time and again can assist in mastering the art of sales.

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