The number one secret to success in sales

The simple solution that most people ignore

Success in sales Paul Claireaux

If you’re interested in selling (or your team selling) a lot more of your services (or goods) for the same or less effort, then this is for you.

And it’s one of the most valuable business tips I know.

The number one secret to sales

Before I tell you this, I guess you’ll want to know what qualifies me to talk on this subject, right?

Well, in a sentence, back in my ‘corporate’ working days… I was the top B2B salesperson in the UK for a blue-chip investment and pensions company – and I developed new business from 3 different ‘dormant’ geographical areas over a 10 year period. (that was before I moved into marketing/product development – where I learned other skills) 

Now, I’m sorry if that sounds like a brag. It’s really not. 

It’s just to reassure you that I’m someone who’s ‘been there and done it’ in the hard environment of B2B sales 🙂

Okay, now, the more interesting thing is that my colleagues would often ask me how I managed to sell so much.

They simply couldn’t work it out because I made far fewer sales calls than them.

And, according to them and my various sales managers – I broke all the classic rules’ of sales.

So, here’s the number one secret of success in sales.

Do, this (and the other things I’ll cover in this series) if you want to be brilliant at it.

Be “interested” in your customer before trying to be “interesting” yourself.

Really… is that it?

Yup, that’s the number one secret – and it’s breathtakingly simple, right?

But like most simple secrets to success, here’s the thing… most people don’t do this.

Most get this all wrong.

And remember, we’re all salespeople whether we like it or not.

Just think what’s going on when you need to win your partner over on an idea.

It might be about the next holiday or how to approach a home purchase, or a home improvement or a new car… or how to deal with the kids – that’s a tricky one right?

Getting a good result really is all about selling an idea.

And, it works best when we listen to the other person’s point of view before we thrust forward with our own 😉

How many people do you know who tell you that their partner “doesn’t listen”?

Anyway, back to business

In my experience, a lot of coaches, consultants entrepreneurs and other professionals spend most of their ‘selling’ time trying to ‘pitch’ what they do.

I’m sure you recognise this – especially if you attend networking events.

More on those events here

It’s all about the base pitch, right?

Well, no, it’s NOT all about the pitch

Sure, there’s a time and place for a good pitch.

But it’s not when you’re talking one on one to someone you want to do business with.

That’s a very different dynamic and the rules are very different too.

So, just remember that what most people like to talk about, most of the time is… NOT your product or your service – and it’s certainly NOT about you… it’s themselves and their challenges.

That’s the plain and simple fact of the matter – and we all have this preference too.

Now, perhaps you’ve heard this before?

After all, this idea is as old as the hills.

I first learned about it in 1985 when I first read Dale Carnegie’s book, ‘How to win friends and influence people’

And it was that book and a few others (and some very good sales training at Clerical Medical and a shed load of effort) that helped get me to the top in sales.

Yes, Carnegie’s book is a tad ‘cheesy’ in places – but it still offers us valuable lessons today.

And, we probably need to forgive any ‘cheesiness’ – given that it was published in 1936.

So, the KEY point here is that your business prospect will enjoy your conversation a whole lot more if they are the ones doing most of the talking.

And, quite obviously, if they enjoy the first conversation with you… they’re more likely to want to have a second or third conversation.

That will allow you to build trust and that’s what’s required to sell big-ticket consulting or coaching type work.


A word of warning

This idea is not about ‘faking’ interest in your prospect.

I’ve seen people try that and it’s ghastly.

They mistakenly believe that they can ‘play’ at sales rather than taking the job (and more importantly, their customer) seriously.

I’ve even heard an MD of an IT company suggest ‘faking it’ as a strategy !

For goodness sake – don’t do that.

Your interest in your customers must be genuine.

And they need to ‘sense’ that you are genuinely interested and listening too.

Sure, you might get away with dishonesty and disinterest – for a while – in some jobs.

And especially if your product sells itself.

But then if the product does sell itself . . . why does it need any salespeople?

So, you need to have a belief in your product* and commit to taking a genuine interest in your customers.

*If you don’t believe in the product you’re selling – that’s a big problem.

If you work for someone else, ask for help to better understand the product and its strengths.

Very few products or services win on every count.

Or, if the products and services are truly ‘awful’ and there’s little prospect of that changing . . .

. . . go get another job 😉 because no rubbish product deserves to survive.

So, if you own the business – commit to constantly enhancing your products and services.

And you can use the feedback you get from your sales force (or your personal sales conversations) to help you with that.

Now, of course, there’s a lot more to success in sales than this one secret – good though it is.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here and there are at least another 20 big secrets to success in your sales and marketing.

We’ll come back to these over time of course but, if you’re in a hurry and want some 121 coaching help in these areas, right away. Or you simply want help to think through your options for solivng a particular challenge you have at the moment give me a shout here.

I’ll help if I’m available – and, in the meantime – if you like these kinds of tips and you’d like to see more . . .

. . . just join my new Facebook Group – or sign up for Newsletters.

I’d love to help you achieve more

Thanks for dropping in,


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