Introduction To Professional Selling
What is Professional Selling?
Let’s start by defining what professional selling actually is. Professional Selling is the process by which you, the seller, identify and explore business requirements of a prospect and align these to the goods (products and/or services) that you are selling. Once the requirements have been identified, professional selling becomes more about the communication and relationship development with the prospect and their business. Getting the deal signed becomes a small part of the process.
When you walk into any store, you are looking for a product and, if you find it, you purchase and leave. Professional selling is much less about selling a product and much more about providing a solution. The time it takes to close a deal is significantly more than you may expect.
What is Business-to-Business?
Business-to-business is a model that represents a relationship between two businesses in a sales process. Typically, one business is the vendor and the other is the customer. Business-to-Business (B2B) is very different from Business-to-Consumer (B2C) relationships. Where B2C sales process are very transactional and involve little to no emotion, B2B sales are much more involved. You need to invest yourself fully in the process. Your ability to build relationships will be the make or break of your professional selling career.
The key thing to remember here is that B2B is you selling to a business. B2C is you selling to a consumer.
How To Be Successful
There are two skills that are critical to your success in professional selling.
As much as you may want to just spew out the product knowledge you may have learnt, this is not going to solve your prospects needs. It is important that you listen to the prospect. Understand what it is they are trying to achieve as a business. Understand the issues that are currently preventing them from being more successful. Understand how their business operates and how they communicate internally.
To gain the best understanding of the business, you need to ask the right questions at the right time. Early on in the sales process you need to learn as much as you can about the business and their objectives. Ask questions which allow your prospect to open up. These are “leading questions“. At these times you need to be taking in everything you can – take notes, record the conversation, use a whiteboard.
The more you listen, the more the prospect will be comfortable that you really understand the requirements and the more comfortable the prospect will feel with the solution you provide.
Communication is more than just talking. It’s everything you:
- Your words
- Your actions
- Your tone of voice
- Your writing skills
- Your timeliness
- Your responsiveness
- Your availability
When you’re dealing with your prospects, you are the face of your company. You embody everything that the company values. So you need to live and breath those values too. When you communicate with your prospect you are looking to continually build a relationship with them. A relationship where they feel truly comfortably letting you into the inner workings of their business so that you can provide the best possible solution.
Professional selling is an art. It is true that some people are simple gifted with selling – they walk the walk and talk the talk. However, anyone can do it. There are very few tertiary academic courses that focus on selling, even though it is the backbone of our society. Selling always comes back to these two main concepts – listening and communicating. Practice these at every opportunity and you will be closing business in no time!