So, What's Really the Best Sales Tactic?

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It begins with trust. It begins with building relationships. Even if you're doing a cold call, you still have a few minutes to build that relationship. Throughout my career, I've noticed the best sales tactic isn't even that at all. It's not about looking inward, and focusing on how many orders you can achieve. It's about looking outward, and seeing how you, your products, or your services, can improve the life of the person you're talking to. Says University of Dallas's Saul W. Gellerman, who studied auto product salespeople:
As I watched, I detected an almost inverse relationship between the size of an order and the amount of effort sellers put into persuasion. Most large orders were obtained without a great deal of selling per se. Within minutes, customers who evidently respected and trusted these salespeople began placing orders, often following their recommendations. These customers seldom commented on prices. So it appeared that large orders were less the result of a seller's tactics during the call than of relationships built up during previous visits. On the other hand, when sellers pleaded for an order, fought for an order (praising product after product, or price after price), or listened patiently while the customers digressed at length about baseball, politics, the local economy, or anything but the seller's products -- the resulting orders were likely to be small. This outcome also suggested that customers discriminated among sellers and that established relationships determined a customer's willingness to do business with one (or a few) sellers out of many.
If you're a new at sales or struggling at it, switching your focus from inward to outward will dramatically improve your success.

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Posted on April 29

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