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Win The Customer - Not The Sale

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If your're in "Sales" you've probably been a delegate or participant in scores of presentations where some "guru" gives advice on how to sell something. Goodness knows how many of us have been subjected to these usually boring and ultimately futile events, where the company's bosses bring in some self-styled Sales Consultant to showcase any number of theories - well-supported with fancy powerpoint presentations - aimed at getting the "Sales Team" to meet of exceed lofty revenue targets which someone who's quite senior in Accounts or Finance, has determined both necessary and attainable.

In truth, NOTHING can be "sold". It can only be BOUGHT.

The Art of Selling is in fact, the skill of convincing someone to buy what you are offering. It is the purchaser who makes that all-important decision to part with money, and in return receive a product or service which has proven to be of value. The seller is powerless... And in situations where a sale is concluded and the buyer feels some remorse in having parted with money, what usually happens is that the customer never makes a repeat purchase, and moves on to other suppliers.

These once-off, never-to-be-repeated purchases, fall into the category of "Winning the Sale, Not The Customer".

In most commercial transactions, the need to make a purchase is driven by a company's need to solve a problem or meet a need that they cannot fulfil internally - or at least do so cost-efficiently. A purchase is made when a supplier of goods or services proves that they can not only help solve a challenge, but can do so more cheaply than what it may cost the purchaser to attempt that solution themselves.

Customers will buy from you when you consistently prove that what you are offering helps them become more efficient and profitable. When a company can establish a tangible link between what you've provided, and that all-important "bottom line" on the balance sheet - and the sums show that there's a net benefit - then you have won the customer and not the sale.

The key to winning the customer is having a comprehensive understanding of THEIR business (not YOUR product), and being able to prove that you appreciate and understand their challenges and how your services or products help them solve these challenges. Ultimately - you have to be sure that what you are offering contributes to THEIR efficiency and profitability.

True - a comprehensive knowledge of your offering is essential - but the acid test is in knowing how it benefits the customer - and being able to prove it.

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