Albert Einstein is best known for his theory of relativity; everyone knows it: E=mc². This brilliant physicist was also widely quoted on a variety of topics related to success, productivity and mindset.
While not recognized as a salesperson, Einstein was always promoting ideas and concepts... attempting to gain acceptance of them from a skeptical audience. Doesn't that sound a lot like sales to you?
He once opined that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Let me ask you, do you find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? Maybe it is cold calling, maybe it’s networking, or perhaps it is your "pat" sales presentation. Has "I've always done it this way" become a constant part of your vernacular?
When was the last time you heard someone say "I'm in a rut and don't know how to get out"? When I hear this statement, my diagnostic skills usually uncover that the person is typically doing what they previously found successful. Unfortunately, however, it’s no longer working for them. Yet, amazingly, they continue doing it. That could be called sales insanity!
Think about it. The world is changing and regrettably, many are not changing with it. You may be old enough to remember the term "bait and switch" where a customer was sold something, only to be convinced shortly afterward to switch to a usually more expensive product.
Thankfully, those in the sales profession have had to bump up their ethical standards considerably and those days are over. They had to. Consumers have become better informed, thanks in part to the Internet opening up a vast repository of information on any topic imaginable.
One of Einstein's lesser-known quotes is "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." Wow, talk about a man ahead of his time. This mantra has become a constant fixture in today’s sales process.
Call it sales funnels or content marketing or whatever term you want; asking for the sale before delivering value is the fastest way to a negative response. We no longer "sell" anything. Our responsibility is to help the consumer make an informed purchasing decision by ensuring we educate and add value along the entire buyer’s journey.
Einstein also professed, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." We like to interpret this quote to mean that what you envision can become your reality. In other words, your mindset is critical to your success. The best of the best are always looking for ways to improve their performance. They know a changing marketplace requires them to change their sales process, or risk "sales insanity."
Tips to Banish Sales Insanity
- Don’t focus on making the sale. Focus on helping your prospects and customers solve their problems.
- Listen to your customers to build trust; be honest and care about their needs. Tell them the truth, no matter how it affects your bottom line.
- Educate your audience whenever you can. Begin giving them free training, free reports and interviews demonstrating your expertise. Once you’ve built a results-oriented relationship, they’ll be more inclined to buy.
- Don’t forget your post-sale care. Make your customers feel special... like they are part of an exclusive club. Send handwritten thank you cards, a special gift for loyal clients or an exclusive bonus.
- Share your secrets with them. Early in the conversation, tell them something they don’t know about your product, service, or company that’s not readily available online, but still germane to their needs.
- Tap into their deeper desires by telling stories. Stories help us visualize a specific experience or scene, which can be compelling and entertaining.
- Raise objections yourself. Be brave during the sales pitch and raise any objections the customer might have, but… make sure you follow up with options you believe will best suit their needs.
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them," is a favorite Einstein quote at Hub+company.
Dare to work "outside-of-the-box." Achieve new levels of achievement by re-inventing your process to stay in tune with today's reality. Challenge yourself to break out of the once comfortable world where repetitive behavior worked all too well. Visualize yourself as successful, become your own Einstein, a brilliant visionary who had a tough sales job. In fact, why not adopt E=mc² to mean "Excellence Equals My Commitment... squared!"
Who would have ever thought that the man regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century would also school us on sales process?
About the Author
Andrea Hubbert, principal at Hub+company, is a versatile integrated marketing communications professional with one primary passion: to empower creative individuals and their companies to design and market the business lives of their dreams.