If you were to create the perfect selling machine you’d use the 10 sales attributes outlined in last week’s “Ideal Selling“. But how enlightened are we? Do sellers believe they’re perfect already with no need to improve? Fill in our Google Docs form and then see how others rated themselves.
While no one is perfect, simply striving for Ideal Selling delivers incremental improvements that are out of reach. To become perfect selling machines (or more perfect ones) let’s look at each one of the 10 attributes. We’ll start with the #1 attribute of Ideal Selling: perpetual new sales. In this post we’ll cover:
- Why Perpetual New Sales is the #1 Attribute
- Source of the Perpetual New Sales
- Buyers Can Smell Account-First Selling
- Force of Perpetual New Sales
- The Long View
- Buyer Turnover is Sellers’ Silver Lining
- Takeaways from Attribute #1: Perpetual New Sales
Why Perpetual New Sales is the #1 Attribute
I’m a seller. I want, I need a perpetual stream of new sales. They have to come in today, tomorrow, next month, next year, and every year. If not how can I support my family, get a mortgage, or take a vacation?
Perpetual is #1 because I’m getting older (so are you) and I don’t want to keep thrashing around to find incoming sales. Perpetual means just that, an on-going stream of new sales coming to me.
Source of the Perpetual New Sales
Here’s a secret: the source of a perpetual stream of new sales are buyers.
OK that was a duh! moment, no secret, no surprise. But until sellers realize buyers are the reason they exist selling will remain far from ideal and sales results pitiful.
How sellers view buyers matters big time, it determines:
- How sellers seek buyers & interact with them
- How buyers feel about sellers
(oh yes, they can tell a transactional seller)
- Ultimately whether buyers buy from sellers
Buyers Can Smell Account-First Selling
Traditionally sellers focused on the account first and buyers second. The types of sites/locations indicated the need of a seller’s service (potential sale). The size of the site/location prioritized the accounts’ importance to sellers.
While account-first selling can win the rare few “right-place, right-time” sales in the short-term, it doesn’t create a long-term perpetual stream of new sales.
Buyers sense when sellers are there for the commission. They know when they’re in it for the buck. This instantly sets buyers in adversary mode and sellers become the bad guys to be thwarted.
However, sellers focusing on building buyer relationships instead of fixating on the account sale, not only survive in the short-term but thrive in the long.
Force of Perpetual New Sales
Sellers want a forceful stream of new sales, nothing wimpy. That force comes when sellers have meaningful and valued relationships with buyers. It’s the importance of the relationship to buyers that counts.
These aren’t old school wine-dine-golf relationships, they no longer ensure new sales. Also, this isn’t about sellers being likable, puppy dogs. That helps but it’s not the kind of relationship buyers value (can you hear buyers say “Sure that seller’s a nice person, but if I wanted friendship I’d get a Labrador. I need results”).
Meaningful, valued relationships are where sellers provide buyers value – ahead of the sale – for the sole purpose of developing the relationship. Specifically :
- Sellers providing value when buyers aren’t buying what they’re selling
- Sellers providing value that buyers recognize
- Sellers providing value in ways buyers want to receive value
- Sellers providing value that sellers can afford
This asymmetrical relationship has sellers giving value first to eventually benefit when buyers are ready to buy.
The Long View
Sellers who take a transactional approach to close deals and make their numbers are seen for what they are: self-focused and self serving. They carry neon signs on their foreheads telling buyers to take up swords and leave no prisoners.
As you’d guess, transactional relationships don’t become perpetual streams of new sales. The hard truth is that developing a perpetual stream takes time, it’s not for instant gratification. That’s why sellers must recognize they’re in it for the long-term. Once that’s accepted it’s easier to begin giving value to buyers before expecting a sale.
The sellers’ reality also includes needing to hit their sales numbers and reach quotas in the short-term. This means a transitional period for sellers. A period where sellers begin developing buyers’ relationships for the long term – while still pounding the pavement for the few “right-place, right-time” sales.
It’s hard, it’s difficult but when the perpetual stream of new sales comes online sellers won’t believe they were ever on the pavement. Perpetual is where the gold is.
Buyer Turnover is Sellers’ Silver Lining
According to the U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010 buyers, like all employees, will stay on average 4.4 years with the same employer.
While buyer turnover is good for sellers it can feel otherwise. Sellers can feel frustrated when buyers they’ve gotten to know leave and they have to start over with a new buyer.
But building buyer relationships pays off in the long term. Sellers that have developed valued relationships are rewarded when buyers reconnect with them at their new job. Buyers want their sellers help now just as they benefited from their relationship at the last one.
Buyer turnover can happen quickly and without warning. Sellers may not have their buyers home contact info. Therefore sellers must wait for buyers to recontact them from their new employer, or during the interim between buyers’ employment.
For buyer turnover to benefit sellers, the relationship must be sticky. Sticky in the sense of buyers wanting to remain in contact with sellers after buyers have moved on. The seller’s value to the buyer must be strong enough to motivate the buyer to seek them out. This means sellers must have the mechanism for maintaining that connection, see The Secret Trigger for Inbound Marketing for mechanisms.
Takeaways from Attribute #1: Perpetual New Sales
- Sellers focus on buyer relationships for the long-term instead of fixating on the account’s sales potential
- Perpetual streams of new sales comes from sellers’ meaningful & valued relationships with buyers
- Sellers give buyers value first without the expectation of a sale before they’ll benefit from the relationship (altruistic mode)
- Sellers provide buyers the value they want & in the manner they want to receive it
- Sellers’ relationships are so valuable (sticky) that buyers seek their sellers when buyers move companies
How enlightened are we?
Do sellers really believe they’re perfect already, no room to improve? Don’t forget to fill in our Google Docs form and then see how others rated themselves.