We’ve all heard the Golden Rule of Business: “He who has the gold makes the rules.” That’s especially true in sales! Your customers have the gold you’re after, so you must play by their rules.
To do so, you must also apply the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do to them, not as you would have them do unto you.” There are lots of rules for successful selling, but they all boil down to this one rule.
The Platinum Rule of Sales
Translated into the world of sales, The Rule means:
“Sell to me the way I want to buy. Don’t present the way you want to sell. Engage with me on my terms, seeking to understand my situation, my preferences, and my requirements. Then deliver your products/services the way I want to experience them, not how you want to deliver them.”
Many sales reps regularly lose sales after only one sales call and wonder why they didn’t even get a second chance to meet with the buyer. They don’t realize the reason for this failure is because they do not apply the Platinum Rule of Sales.
Most sales reps were taught to sell the features and benefits of a product or service and to tell the prospect how it will benefit them. In this manner of selling, the sales rep typically presents the product from his or her perspective and tells the client how it will benefit them instead of engaging in a discussion to find out what’s important to the customer.
Here is a news flash: customers don’t care what is important to your sales reps. Furthermore, what your sales reps think is important to them is irrelevant. Customers care about what is important to themselves. And that’s what your sales reps have to deliver to close sales – whatever is important to the customer.
How to tell if your reps are following The Rule
Here are some questions you can ask your reps to get a feel for how well your sales personnel are following the Platinum Rule of Sales:
1. What is the core purpose of your sales call?
The answer should be, “To help the customer.” If your reps say, “To make a sale,” there is a fundamental flaw in their approach to sales. Their goal is to meet their own needs, not the customer’s, which will result in neither person’s needs being met.
They may then acknowledge that helping customers is their true purpose in the end. But until they enter every sales call thinking, “I want to help the people I’m about to meet with,” they will struggle far more than they have to. Their focus must default to Customer-Aligned Selling.
Zig Ziglar famously said that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want. If you help the customer meet his or her needs, you have a much better chance of having your own needs met.
2. How do you seek to understand a customer’s issues from their perspective?
A sales rep who struggles to come up with an answer to this question probably doesn’t endeavor to understand their customers adequately. These reps are more likely to tell a customer what they think is important about their offering than to ask discovery questions. This seller-centric approach does not work very well.
Successful sales reps learn all they can about a customer before beginning to draft a sales proposal. They spend time researching the customer’s company and the state of their industry before making their first contact. In sales calls, they do more listening than talking. They ask in-depth, open-ended questions to get the customer to share their goals, problems, or needs. They take the time and pay the careful attention required to identify the customer’s desired outcomes how he/she wants to engage before making any kind of sales presentation.
3. How do you determine if our product / service and delivery align with a customer’s goals and needs?
The correct answer is, “I ask the customer!”
A customer-aligned sales rep knows that even if he thinks his offering is perfect for the customer, he doesn’t actually have the solution the customer is looking for until the customer tells him he does! He/she listens closely and knows what questions to ask to lead the customer to the conclusion that the solution he or she is selling is the one to buy.
When business leaders understand the Platinum Rule and apply it in the sales process, customers buy.
Their customers come to regard them as trusted advisors, buy from them again and again, and become loyal, raving fans.
If your sales reps meet their customers’ needs, customers will enthusiastically help you meet yours. All it takes is understanding their business from their perspective and doing unto them as they would have you do. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Want to help your reps close more sales by focusing on what the customerthinks is important?
Attend my workshop, Sales Success Formula: How to Read Your Customers’ Minds and Exceed Their Expectations. Click here for more information.