The Twelve Golden Principles of Selling Smartly and using CRM

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Smart-selling-with-CRMPrinciples lay the foundation for selling smarter with CRM by your side.

A large part of our CRM system design and implementation involves the “Sales” side of our clients’ business. So it is safe to say CRM must enhance the selling processes and help the sales professionals in multiple facets. We are mindful of the fact that these principles are designed to provide guidance to salespeople just starting on the first rung of the ladder and as a refresher for others. Here is my take on the 12 golden principles of selling inspired an article by Salesopedia – Jonathan Farrington.

These principles also provide a good checklist of every sales professional in selling smartly with CRM by their side.

Principle 1: Always Sell to People

This may seem obvious, but it cannot be emphasized enough: You are not selling to an organization or to a conglomerate, but to actual, real people. It is important to remember that all people are different, so you cannot sell the same way to everyone. Second, no two sales are the same, even if they are made to the same company under similar circumstances. The priorities may be different, the backing or motivation for change may be different, and so forth.

Refer to the interests they have previously indicated from your CRM database. Do your meeting notes indicate that they make quick decisions, takes lots of time for research, involve others in the decisions, or take forever to make decisive changes? On a more personal side -what do you know about their family, spouse and their personal aspirations?

To become a good salesperson, it isn’t enough to know how to sell. You must aim to become a people expert. It may sound shocking, but the best professional salespeople actually like people! In 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” , both classics that every person can learn from and improve from their insights.

Remember, people buy from people — they always will.

Principle 2: You Have To Sell Yourself

CRM provides links to how you helped others get something solved from your company’s offerings. Just as you are selling to people, you must also remember that you are not only selling and representing a product or service, but you are in effect selling yourself. When beginning a sales relationship, it is important to remember a few key aspects to representing yourself well.

First, be interesting. If potential customers are bored by you, they have less of a chance of being enthralled by any product or service you are representing.

Develop intellect. Of course, you are an intelligent person, but can you converse in an intelligent manner? Can you discuss related subjects with thoughtfulness and hold your clients’ interest? Consider sharing ideas you have that are on topics of interest to the listener.

Never be arrogant — never talk up or down to your potential clients. It’s rude and will serve only to alienate them. Respect the buyer, and they will respect you. I once had a new client mention that they selected us because the competitors thought they knew what was “best” for the prospect and went on and on about how this prospect must do their CRM implementation.

Along the same lines, develop your empathy levels. If you can relate to your customers’ situations authentically, it helps to build rapport. This helps if you have also had business ownership or management experience. Finally, control your ego levels. A good salesperson is patient and respectful, not an egomaniac.

Share client success stories and testimonials from similar business people to help build trust. These are part of your CRM system’s digital Sales Library and your company web site, right?

Listening-Sales-successPrinciple 3: You Must Ask Questions and You Must Also Listen To Understand

Review the last conversation and notes in your CRM. Look at past service issues and what they can tell you about the next customer conversation. A good salesperson knows what questions to ask, and when. Develop your questioning techniques, always remembering the traditional rules of questioning: What? Where? When? Which? Why? Who? And, how?

Continually test your understanding of the situation by asking questions and verifying that everybody’s on the right track. Also remember that God has given us two ears and one mouth; we should use them in that order! Successful sales professionals talk for 20 percent of the time and listen for 80 percent of the time. It’s crucial for new salespeople to develop their active-listening Skills.

Principle 4: Get Connected & Develop Yourself

The CRM database should list who knows who? Look at the CRM contact associations to show how one person is connected to others. Who else do they know in other organizations and what type of relationship is there between them. Refer to the CRM Social Media section and view their one-to-one connections such as those found on Linked-In. Sales 2.0+ has arrived and unless you want to be left behind, you must fully embrace all of the opportunities that lay in front of you.

Think Social Media – LinkedIn. Jigsaw, Twitter, Plaxo – sign up and start building your network. Use these facilities to gain an inside edge by learning more about your clients/prospects/suspects.

Become involved with sales communities like Selling Power, Customer Think, Sales and Marketing Management, Sales HQ, Sales Gravy, Salesopedia, Eyes On Sales , and Top Sales World: Engage with like minded, forward thinking professionals.

Principle 5: Features Must Be Linked to Benefits

It’s a standard sales component, but the features-and-benefits connection bears repeating and reminding: Features are common, but benefits are personal and specific. When describing the product or service you are selling, use “link phrases” when outlining the benefits of the features you are showing. Say, “Such and such is a feature of this service, which means that . . .’.

Link the features to benefits and to results that are meaningful to this specific prospective customer. Remember to be specific.

Saleslogix-Way-you-do-businessPrinciple 6: Sell the Results – Paint a Picture

You want the outcome for your prospect to be rosy, and you need to convey that. Discover your prospect’s “prime desires,” and personalize the benefits to him or her. In our process we provide a CRM trial use that includes a sampling of the prospect’s actual accounts, contacts and opportunities. It makes it more ‘real’.

Describe the end results of the transaction and how it will improve the life of your prospect.

Principle 7: You Cannot Rely On Logic

Emotion drives 84 percent of all buying decisions, not logic. What are the chief buying emotions? They include ego, security, and pride of ownership, greed, health, prestige, status, ambition, and fear of loss. Be well aware of these emotions as you approach, engage and deal with your customers. Again some helpful notes about the person in your CRM system will be a smart way to connect more clearly.

Principle 8: Selective Product Knowledge Is the Key

A good salesperson realizes that buyers buy solutions and results; they do not buy products or services. Know the specific aspects of your product or service that will create your client’s desired result. What are those areas with the most value to ‘them’…

Several of our clients will provide quotes to their customers that are specifically designed to be very clear and understandable. No technical or industry jarjon. Addiitonally they will provide a section of “suggested options” that will add value to the proposal for both parties.

Principle 9: Aim To Be Unique

You want to convey to your customers an attitude of “me first,” rather than “me too.”

Every business, every company, every product has something that is unique, and this is what you need to stress. Look outside the square, and identify the uniqueness of your product, your service, your company — and yourself. Learn to craft real value propositions, that pass the “so what” test.

Principle 10: Don’t Sell on Price

Selling on price is simply a cop out. You must value your expertise, your products and your services, and price accordingly. Always keep the bottom line firmly in your mind.

Remember, anyone can give business away. Selling merely on price means we do not need sales people! Just because we are selling in tough economic times, doesn’t mean dropping your pants at every request to do so.

Refer to the recommendations and resources from Ron Baker of the VeraSage Institute and, author of Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing.

Principle 11: Present Your Solutions

When we present our proposals, rather than mailing, faxing or e-mailing, we increase the likelihood of a sale by a factor of 10 if we do so in person. This is your opportunity to impress every member of the decison making team and to do your job, which is to sell value; your solution, yourself and your company, so grab it with both hands. Why rely on someone else to do the selling for you, which is what you do when you simply mail your proposal?

Principle 12: Be Professional at All Times

The greatest compliment a customer can pay you is to describe you as “professional.” Don’t worry about being liked — be respected and valued. Customers do not buy from you because they just like you, but rather because they are prepared to trust you. They have moved from the know, to like, to trust process with your professional guidance.

Being professional is not one thing, it is four: It is the value your solution result provides, what you do, what you say, and how you present yourself.

And finally……… Selling can be the most wonderfully exhilarating, satisfying and fulfilling career in the world – but only if you are selling successfully.

Someone has to be the best – why not you? Why not be a bit smarter with CRM by your side?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.

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