While Intuit is consistently billed in Fortune magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Companies to work for’, it may surprise you to know that this billion dollar corporation spent a good time in the wilderness. Between 1988 and the mid-‘90s, Intuit may well have had a superb product in Quicken, its revolutionary accounting software, but it wasn’t a success. The simple reason was that it hadn’t worked out how to sell its product.
Once the company realized that marketing campaigns, favorable reviews in industry and consumer magazines were the way forward, it was able to achieve the ROI it was looking for. But the question is: how do you become really good at sales?
The Golden Rule
Whether you’re launching a marketing campaign or looking to get good reviews in the right places, the basic Golden Rule is that you need to know your product inside out. More than that, you’ve got to become a passionate advocate for whatever your product offers. Once you have embraced that mindset, you’ll understand just who needs it – the people who will benefit from having that product in their homes or workplace. Your job is to understand your product or service on every available level. That way you’ll understand its strengths and be able to answer any questions that anyone might have.
The art of sales
If you aren’t a natural salesman, then you’ll have your work cut out! Great salesmanship is an art in itself, but it is one that can be learned. In many ways it’s not about the sale; it’s about the people you’re selling to. In order to sell to someone, whether it’s face to face or via an online campaign, you need to be sure of certain things. To begin with, you need to be sure that they are the right people; that they will want or need what you have to offer.
Next, you need to build a relationship with them. Marketing campaigns are a great way to explain to someone why they need what you’ve got, but nothing beats human contact. If you get to the point where you are actually interacting with your potential client, you need to understand their mindset in as much detail as you understand your product, so that you can work out how and where it will fit into their world.
The social-savvy salesman
As cynical as it might sound, the best salesmen manage to establish a relationship with their ‘target’, to the point where they are viewed as both a confidante and co-conspirator. There are plenty of books about body language and the way that people think, but the best method is to strike up a temporary friendship – although, if that person becomes a returning client, the friendship will grow through your history together. In short, nothing beats the human touch. Social networking sites are fantastic tools for this, as they allow you to interact instantly with your clients and go ‘off-topic’ – which is never a waste of time. The more you learn about your client, the way they think and their lifestyle choices, the more you’ll be able to see just how your product can be of service to them.