Accelerate: Sales

Recently, the Communications Team have been covering our various experiences in the Accelerate Workshops.  We wanted to bring you the information first hand, in case you haven’t had time to go or haven’t really thought about it before. You can read our first post about the communication workshop and you can read the Accelerate Program on our website for a bit more information.

Is Selling a talent, a skill, or a process?

A few weeks ago Ondrej  Gandel of Inventures EU gave a sales focused workshop at Impact Hub.  Regardless of whether you are offering a product or a service, or something in-between, it never hurts to have a few good sales tips up your sleeve.  Sales is a mix of talent, skill, and process.  However, good sales people are comfortable asking other for money, having the courage to approach people, and innately knowing which whom to speak, according to Gandel.

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You need to see who is important in which part of the selling process! Ask yourself who is the person with whom you are speaking. Is she a manager, a product user, a customer?

It is important to ask yourself: is just one person involved in the purchase, or do you need to influence other stakeholders in the organization too?

Key Characteristics

Good sales people have a variety of personal characteristics and skills sets.  Below is a list of the most common traits that all good sales people share, according to Gandel.  Do you see yourself here?
– taking the initiative
– listening
– being positive
– being resourceful
– being passionate
– being conscious
– being alert
– being respectful
– being persistent
– having the motivation to keep learning

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Sales Process

Identify your target audience: Do your research!  Make a list of organizations, influential people, and social media networks to target. Try to explore these and then figure a way out how to connect to them. Think about whom you know; and if needed, run some searches through your LinkedIn page and Facebook account. Do you see an entry point?  Then it’s time to think about how to approach them.

Remember, sales is not just about your product or service.  You are engaging in sales whenever you are:
– creating partnerships,
– seeking investors,
– hiring an employee,
– selling to a retailer,
– or whenever you undertake any activity that involve your brand.

Identify key drivers: Gandel further outlines that sales are not something you can learn at the desk; you have to go and speak to people. He shares a curious idea: “They cannot tell you what they want. They however LOVE to talk about problems and that can give you the clues!”

Then it is your turn to make sense of it, and figure out how what you are selling can respond to what’s driving your audience.

Determine exactly what you are “selling”: Besides having a rough outline of what you are offering, Gandel urges you to learn as much about it as possible! He suggests talking to people of all sorts, from those who directly fall under your scope to people who are seemingly unrelated to what you are selling.

Getting to know all about the issue you are responding to and the aspects of your product (or service) will lead you to build better argument and stronger convincing abilities to increase your Sales influence.

Benefits: People respond to benefits. Period. Incorporate this as a center of your Sales strategy.

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Facing Opposition

When you are encountering opposition, the best way to proceed is by following these steps below.

LISTEN
Demonstrate that you are interested and want to understand what the concern is.

ACKNOWLEDGE
Acknowledge the points that are rightly the matter, then express that you will work towards a solution.

EXPLORE
Profoundly explore concerns and think of solutions.

RESPOND
When you are sure you understood the objection and are ready to offer a solution – then respond.

Final thoughts

Gandel warns us that the internet makes today’s situation a bit misleading when it comes to Sales. Although there is a lot you can do online – he says, he still emphasizes the importance of actually going out and speaking to people. Asking around and finding out more about what your target audience needs, is the surest way you could improve your product or service to meet your consumer’s needs and your market goals.

It is important not to mistake the number of ‘likes’ with the turnover – workshop participant.

Gandel lastly outlines: being good in Sales is also “an ability to deal with discomfort”. We will get better with experience, but it is important to remain open, have the willingness to learn, and keep persevering.

If you want to get to lean more from Ondrej Gandel, his next workshop in The Impact Hub is on:

14 July – ‘Startup Prenup’ Workshop

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