When it comes to sales, or really any skill, you can always benefit from learning from the best.
And the world has seen no shortage of great salespeople.
But there have been a few that truly set themselves apart from the rest.
Here are some choice lessons from 3 of the greatest salespeople over the last 100 years. You really can do no wrong by taking the lessons of these sales titans to heart.
Dale Carnegie – Never Argue with a Prospect
This one may seem simple, but it’s a staple in Carnegie’s philosophy, and it is crucial.
Carnegie once said, “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”
There will be times when you want to argue with a prospect or customer on a certain point, like their affinity for a certain brand, or if they show resistance to your product.
But when arguing you will almost always lose in the end, no matter the outcome of the argument.
The better option is to listen to what motivates your prospect… what excites them… what keeps them up at night. Then tailor your approach to what they express. Sell them the solution.
An argument is not the answer. Respect the customer’s opinion, and be patient – you will have a chance to dive into the awesome benefits your product soon enough.
Zig Ziglar – Prospects Don’t Buy Your Product or Service, They Buy the Benefit it Offers
That’s just how people think.
No one buys a weight loss shake thinking, “I can’t wait to taste it.” They buy it thinking about their health… or about their body looking good… or about getting compliments from co-workers, friends or family.
Different customers can buy into the same product or service, for entirely different reasons. A great salesperson asks the right questions and research to determine with the driving reason is.
Do that, and you’ll fare far better than selling the product itself.
Another way to think about this is features vs. benefits.
Features describe “what it is.”
Example: A vehicle collision warning system.
Benefits describe “what it does.”
Example: Prevents up to 50% of accidents from occurring, and significantly reduces injuries to passengers.
One approach has your customer thinking about car. The other has them thinking about their family. Find out what really matters, and appeal to that.
Grant Cardone – Know When to Close
Grant Cardone, author of The 10X Rule, is a huge advocate of selling on the phone.
Grant says: “Companies must learn to engage, sell and close when the buyer shows interest.”
To put it simply, you need to know the right time to close – the time to end the sales pitch and move into closing the deal. A lot of sales professionals make the mistake of over-selling. That can destroy a sale. The key is being able to identify that the desire is there, and to move directly to the sale.
Listen to the kinds of questions your prospect is asking. If you’re hearing…
- Questions about delivery schedules
- Multiple requests for feature demonstrations
- Increased questions about details of the product
- Questions about customizations
… or questions in that realm, it’s a mistake to continue trying to sell.
To put it another way, a lot of people struggle to make decisions. That’s why they keep asking questions. That’s why they keep doing research. A great salesperson recognizes this situation, and moves their prospect toward a decision. When the hook is in, it’s time to reel it in.
What are some other lessons from your favorite salespeople? Tweet us or comment below and let us know!