Sales is considered to be an honourable and respected profession in many parts of the World, especially in the US, but there is something about being British that makes us shy about even the thought of it.
We find all sorts of other euphemisms to describe the sales role such as business development executive, or account manager or anything but a sales person.
It is hardly surprising then that we find ourselves challenged in this area at a time when what Britain needs most to put it back on its feet is sales; both home and abroad.
According to Nick Bailey MBA, DipM, FCIM, FinstSMM, the author of “Customers are FICKLE™”, was published on April 23rd, it is a cultural thing. “For some countries in other parts of Europe it’s even worse than it is in the UK” says Nick. “There is a perceived élitism around say engineering or being a doctor, accountant, lawyer, anything but a sales person.
But the top sales people undergo similar education, accreditation and rigorous training to become ‘high flyers’ and whilst all sales people need intelligent colleagues to design, deliver and support the production of high quality products and services, until you actually do sell something nothing else can happen!”
Nick is on a crusade to share the sales skills he has developed over 25 years experience in the IT industry, selling high value complex deals, with a new generation who have few role models in sales to follow. However being effective in sales isn’t, as most people think, about fast talking, it is more about effective listening.
“The very best sales people in the world say very little actually” said Nick. “We’ve got two ears and one mouth and that’s the proportion in which you should use them. You should listen to the answers to your, hopefully, intelligent questions, for 66% of the time minimum. The great sales people in the world are the masters of asking the right questions in the right way and then listening attentively to the answer, thus facilitating a deep and quality understanding of a clients’ requirement”.
So are some people easier to sell to than others? “Obviously, if you’re in front of somebody with the same psychological profile as you and hence you’re quite similar in personality you will create rapport easily, but that’s relatively rare, in fact, only one in nine times is it going to happen. So, understanding how people prefer to receive information about products or services and to tailor that communication, not in a manipulative way, but in a way that is productive and is explanatory, optimises that dialogue and enables people to understand what your proposition is. They are then in a much better frame of mind and have the right level of information to be able to decide whether or not it’s what they want to do.”
One of the innovative and different themes of Nicks’ book is its emphasis on recognizing the different personality ‘types’ sales people may meet and how to tailor communications to them through the use of a personality typing tool called the ‘Enneagram’.
Nick’s book, Customers are F.I.C.K.L.E™, has already attracted the attention of Fiona Bruce MP who is an enthusiastic supporter of his efforts to ‘Get Britain Selling’. The book is perfectly positioned, for instance, to help people who are selling high value complex products and services that are going abroad to help fuel the growth of other economies like the Middle and Far East, the success of which will ultimately grow ours. In addition, the principles it contains are just as relevant to any small business looking to increase its customers and improve their relationships with them.
As well as providing consultancy and coaching, Nick is initiating open ‘Master Classes’ to train interested companies in his FICKLE™ methodology, which stands for Finding, Investigating, Closing, Keeping Leveraging, and Expanding client business. See: (www.apexselling.com)
“As well as sophisticated approaches to sales, other simple techniques could get the economy moving. For example, if we could get sales directors or managers across the country to challenge their sales teams to do something as easy as making “just one more call” a day or “one more visit” a day, at the end of the year the result would be amazing for the UK.
Sales is also about numbers, the more properly qualified prospects that you can put into a sales funnel or pipeline, then providing you are selling what clients need and want, then more business will come out of that funnel at the end of the day. Getting Britain Selling again is not just about doing big things, but the little things well – and doing more of them!”