The profession of selling is as old as time. For all of us, it starts off in our youth where we try and convince our parents to give us what we desire, that is selling at its most basic form.
In today’s business environment, however, selling has developed and it’s becoming harder and harder as the days go by. This is driven by a few factors:
1. Clients are becoming smarter with huge access to knowledge and as such becoming more difficult to deal with, are now stronger negotiators and more demanding.
2. The market, whatever you are selling, is brimming with choice. In Phuket for example, if you are selling a five-star pool villa resort, you have dozens of competitors which puts a further strain on sales people to differentiate themselves when doing this for their product becomes nigh on impossible.
3. With so many businesses, there are large numbers of sales people running around and being pushed by aggressive targets, which decays their mindset and turns them into result-hungry, aggressive and selfish business people.
As such, sales people are not well-liked or trusted anymore.
So, is it all doom and gloom or is there a solution? Luckily, there is and its simpler than you think…
Sales people should adjust their mindset and align it with the two most powerful concepts to make them successful: Information & Empathy.
When applied, these two words can have a dramatic effect on how sales people are perceived, welcomed, respected and trusted.
Our world is overflowing with knowledge and that’s great, but because in most industries sales people are pushed with minimum numbers of sales calls or client interactions, they tend to jump on the phone, on their email or their car and rush through their day meeting clients with little or no preparation.
By doing this, they will have no hope but to seem like regular sales people whose main aim is to get something from the client as they talk about irrelevant small talk to break the ice and then go in for the kill.
If a sales person would take five to 10 minutes to prepare for meetings to uncover useful information about their prospect or even existing client, that would give them a higher level of confidence and showcase to the client that they are prepared, which in turn shows respect for their time and the meeting and will also assist the sales person to navigate their way through the business interaction as they roughly know the clients’ business, needs, divisions, projects and so on.
A little information can go a very long way and what’s amazing is that all it takes is a few minutes and the use of your phone, which is easy and convenient.
The definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Well, if we have been selling the same way forever and not factoring in that our clients have changed, then we are setting ourselves up for failure. Clients don’t need us to talk about our products as much anymore, they know and if they don’t, they can find out on their own.
The concept of empathy is to basically put ourselves in our client’s shoes; to fully understand their needs and situation and this can only happen by NOT SELLING; rather using powerful questions to thoroughly qualify the account and again, understand their needs to see how we can meet or exceed them.
Alongside asking questions, we must also focus very hard to control our urges and not talk as much, rather to listen.
Empathy should also be used when presenting our products or services by using the FAB approach. Always say F (Feature or Fact) about your product, then describe it using A (Adjectives) followed by highlighting the B (Benefit) or “what’s in it” for the client. This approach morphs the way sales people talk from feature dumping or simply stating what they have to always being about the client and what our product and service can do for them and their business needs.
At the end of the day, selling is essential, all businesses are in it to win it and even non-profit or charities must sell. If their brand ambassadors or client advisors (as I don’t want to call them sales people anymore) follow the two foundations of Information & Empathy then they stand a much higher chance of success.
Best of all, none of this is rocket science, its easy, simple and can come naturally if we just align our mindset to it.
– Tareeq Bagaeen
The Phuket News and Window on Phuket are proud media partners of the BCCT Briefing & Networking events.
Tareeq Bagaeen is a hotelier down to each fibre of his being and a true globally oriented commercial leader. He thrives through client interactions and striking sound business deals. Throughout his career, he has held sales and marketing responsibilities whether on property or from a regional directive covering dozens of hotels and his journey has taken him to lead teams and handle clients in over 100 countries; giving him a pragmatic approach to varied cultures, economic up or downturns, monopolized or aggressively competitive market places and pushing out brands from the budget range right up to the highest spectrums of luxury.
Throughout his commercial excellence journey, he has trained senior associates from Rosewood Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Kerzner International, Rotana, Mövenpick Hotels, Accor and W Hotels to name a few.
He has also conducted sales programs for financial institutions, the insurance industry, real estate development firms, as well as travel management firms. His philosophy is that no two people are alike, no two business units or their mother companies; as such, every single learning cycle that he has conducted is unique.