Business people are better educated and informed today than ever in history.
They are drivers of our ever-changing economy with their innovative ideas, creative solutions and high expectations.
They're thinkers, they're doers and they want results.
To arrive at those results, however, they need a road map. Innovation and creativity mean little if you lack a solid plan for success.
It's my belief that anyone looking to achieve success in any aspect of his or her life must utilize a proven sales method that removes all the guesswork and leaves nothing to chance.
Everyone is selling, all the time - whether they realize it or not.
Selling is the backbone of our economy; it's what drives business. It's also an effective form of communication and a key component in community building. As such, it's through selling that we help each other reach our goals.
That's because, regardless of what you're looking to achieve, you're going to have to sell someone on at least some portion of it at some point. You might as well learn how to do it effectively.
For almost 40 years, I've been teaching a field-tested selling method called the Track Selling SystemTM.
Track Selling uses seven steps that lead you through the selling process easily and logically. It involves agreement throughout the process so both the seller and the buyer are comfortable and always have their needs met.
At its core, Track Selling is a system of respectful, effective communication.
Once you learn the steps, you'll know exactly what to do in any situation whether you're selling yourself, a product, a service or an idea. And you'll be able to do so without doubt or hesitation. Best of all, this system produces results quickly and efficiently.
It wastes neither time nor energy; it simply produces results.
The following seven steps provide an exact blueprint for effective selling in any situation:
A prospect's first impression of you is critical. Is she comfortable with you? Do you seem to have her best interests at heart? People buy from you because they like you. Reinforce this feeling with friendliness and sincerity to open the sale and begin the relationship in a positive way.
This is the information-gathering period. You will decide if the prospect is right for your product, service or idea by asking open-ended questions to uncover her needs or any potential problems or concerns she may have. By listening, you will show her that you respect her, are honest and are interested in the things that are important to her.
3. Agreement on need:
Next, you will summarize the information you gathered in the previous steps to clarify the facts and demonstrate your understanding of her unique needs. Showing that you understand is critical because people will buy from you not because they understand what you're selling but because you understand them.
4. Sell the company:
Whether you're representing a company or yourself, in order to build trust in your sales relationship, your prospect should be well aware of your history and your track record. Have you consistently operated with integrity? Have you demonstrated your capability to perform and meet deadlines as promised with other clients and projects? Remind her of your past successes so she can feel safe and confident about buying from you.
5. Fill the need:
Present evidence that shows the effectiveness of your product, service or idea by showing your prospect how it fills her needs. Understand that this person's most pressing question is: "What will it do for me?" To effectively sell to her, you must answer this question to her complete satisfaction.
6. Act of commitment:
Once you've eliminated all doubt, this is the time to ask for a commitment. Don't apply pressure! Just remind her of the things you discussed: She likes and trusts you, she has certain problems that your idea/product/service solves, and you have a solid performance history so you are a trustworthy individual. Finally, the wording for your close is simple: "If I can deliver the idea/product/service we discussed in the time frame (state the delivery date) and at the price (restate the price) we agreed on, can you think of any reason why we shouldn't move forward with this?" When you hear the word, "No," you've got an act of commitment.
7. Cement the sale:
In this final step you'll "cement" in your prospect's mind the logical reason for her purchase, such as how ideally it fits her needs. You never want a prospect or client to regret that she trusted you, so this is also the point at which you should commit to a time to follow up. Always keep her updated on your progress and delivery schedule. Ongoing communication is the key to keeping your new sale sold.
As you can see, the seven steps are well organized and make for an easy-to-follow checklist. The system is flexible and can be adapted to fit any personality or sales situation.
As long as you use the steps in order, you can be creative, using them in any situation, with any type of person.
Most importantly, each step allows you to focus on creating a win-win situation for both you and your prospect, using persuasion, not pressure.
You can feel good about selling because you'll only make a sale when it's of benefit to both you and your client.
Spend some time going through the steps and memorize them. Practice role-playing regularly with a friend or colleague to improve your technique. Honest feedback is one of the most important components of gauging your success, so practice with someone who can offer you insight.
Memorize the seven steps, fine-tune your approach, incorporate feedback and very soon, you'll be using the seven steps successfully in your life - and achieving your highest goals.
Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.