- August 12, 2012
- Posted by: Stephen Johnson
- Category: Vistage
I just completed a fabulous two-day Selling Excellence Workshop with the Marvin Group in Inglewood, California. Here’s a photo of a great class:
Marvin is a world leader in precision manufacturing for the aircraft and defense industries. They completely understand Jack Welch’s famous dictum: “If you don’t have, or can’t articulate, a sustainable competitive advantage, don’t compete.”
The need for a sustainable competitive advantage is based upon the axiom that everyone listens to WII-FM: “What’s in it for me.” This may sound “mean spirited” and “unfair,” but it is completely true. It is not right or wrong; it just is. Even people who do “self-less” things do so because of they like the good feeling that they get for having done something “selfless,” and they dislike the bad feelings the get when they do something “selfish.” They only feel good when they live in accordance with their principles and higher values! An evolved higher plane of selfishness, if you will, above the ordinary level of self-gratification with pleasure or any of the seven deadly sins.
That doesn’t make them self-absorbed or selfish, it makes them human. We evolved this way because selfish strategies are more successful survival strategies than self-less strategies (ask any anthropologist). In the billions of rough and tumble years when life was developing on this plant, those organisms who weren’t looking out for the number one thing (preserve the gene pool!) became food for the more selfish competition and performed suicide in the competition to survive.
Which brings us to a truism of sales: you will only sell yourself, your product, or your service if what you are selling makes your prospect successful by whatever criteria your prospect is using to define success at the moment they buy. It really is all about them.
So if I am selling to you, the number one thing I need to know is your definition of success. If my product or service doesn’t help you become more successful than any of your other options by the criteria you are using at the moment, then you are not a qualified buyer for what I am selling, and I shouldn’t be wasting my time (and yours!) selling to you.
How do you constantly refine, during your sales process, your customer’s definition of success? How do you constantly confirm that you are selling into a qualified opportunity, with the right products or services, using the correct (and only the correct) marketing messages?
Focus on your customer’s success as they measure it for themselves, and watch your close rate skyrocket!