Nothing happens until somebody makes a sale.

Many people use the words "marketing" and "sales" as if they meant the same thing. They don't. In fact, understanding the difference between the two is essential to success. Marketing consists of getting a mutually beneficial exchange to take place between a buyer and a seller. Marketing sees the big picture. But marketing activity doesn't put money in the cash register; sales activity does. Sales is the personal side of marketing; sales activity focuses on how people handle the buying exchange.

The most important point to consider is that people don't actually buy products or services per se. They buy the benefits they expect to derive from those products or services; they buy solutions to problems. The benefits of a pre-planned funeral are the protection for your family as well as the peace of mind that comes from knowing that everything will be taken care of as per your wishes. The One Minute Salesperson talks about the wonderful paradox: I have more fun and enjoy more financial success when I stop trying to get what I want and start helping other people get what they want. My selling purpose is to help people get the good feelings they want about what they bought and about themselves.

In his book entitled, "Integrity Selling" Ron Willingham takes us through the ten (10) principles of sales.

  1. Selling is an exchange of value
  2. Selling isn't something you do to someone, it's something you do for and with someone
  3. Understanding people's wants or needs must always precede any attempt to sell
  4. Develop trust and rapport before any selling activity begins
  5. Selling techniques give way to selling principles
  6. Integrity and high ethics are accepted as the basis for long term selling success
  7. A salesperson's ethics and value contribute more to sales success than do techniques or strategies
  8. Selling pressure is never exerted by the salesperson. It's exerted only by prospects when they perceive they want or need the item being sold
  9. Negotiation is never manipulation. It's always a strategy to work out problems... when prospects want to work out the problems
  10. Closing isn't just a victory for the salesperson. It's a victory for both the salesperson and the customer

According to the author, there are six (6) steps that take place in any sales process.

Step #1 Approach... the purpose of this step is to gain rapport with people

  • Tune the world out and people in
  • Put them at ease and make them feel important
  • Get them talking about themselves
  • Hold eye contact and listen to how they feel

Step #2 Interview... you have two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion

  • Ask open-ended indirect questions that draw out want and needs
  • Listen to and paraphrase all points... write them down
  • Identify dominant wants or needs and get agreement
  • Assure people that you want to help them enjoy the most value

Step #3 Demonstrate... the purpose of the presentation is to show how you can help people fill needs they admit having

  • Repeat the dominant wants or needs that have been admitted
  • Show or tell how your product or service will fill their wants or needs
  • Avoid talking about price
  • Ask for their reactions, feeling, or opinions

Step #4 Validate... benefits, not features, sell a product or service

  • Translate product or service features into customer benefits
  • Justify price and emphasize value
  • Offer proof and evidence... testimonials
  • Reassure and reinforce people to neutralize their fear of buying

Step #5 Negotiate... working out the problems that keep people from buying

  • Find out what concerns or objections remain
  • Welcome and understand objections
  • Identify and isolate specific objections
  • Discuss possible solutions... ask their opinions for the best Solutions

Step #6 Close... closing is affirming the work you've already done

  • Ask trial closing questions to get opinions and response
  • Listen to and reinforce each response
  • Restate how the benefits will outweigh the costs
  • Ask for a decision