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Got Sales? If Not, Here’s How!

Everybody sells.

Most people aren’t good at it.

And to make matters worse, we THINK we know what selling is, because we’ve seen it in the movies, on TV, and in real life.

The problem is that the in-your-face, never-take-no-for-an-answer stereotype of salespeople is dead! People today won’t put up with that sort of behavior. Operate like Central Casting’s idea of a salesperson and you can kiss selling success goodbye.

OK, fair enough. But most people have nothing to replace that “sales greaseball” image. They’ve got an image of a bad used-car salesman in their minds, and they know they don’t want to be that guy, but they don’t know, specifically, the behavior that’s most effective in closing sales now.

Selling is changing. What’s working now – the ways people like to be approached, the follow-up that isn’t irritating, the closing method that doesn’t grate – is coming out in sales research that’s being conducted now, but most of the books about that research are about only one aspect of the selling process. They teach you how to listen better, or how to ask powerful questions, or what you can do to build trust, or how you can appreciate the differences between the way men buy and the way women buy. There hasn’t been one book that summarizes all that research (and footnotes it, so if you want more detail you can go to the original publication).

Another problem is that the literature available about selling is dominated by books that contain one author’s opinion or experiences, not data about what’s working in selling. On top of that, many of the most easily available books were published years ago – they’ve sold millions of copies, so they’re on the shelf at your favorite bookstore on online outlet. Sure, some of the skills those books teach still apply, but you have to be current on recent sales research to know which sales skills are still powerful and which have been proven no longer to be effective!

That’s why I wrote Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services: I wanted to offer professionals who are selling their services – or product-and-service combinations – an idea of all the research “threads” that are out there, and what they’re telling us about the best way to sell today.

I wanted to very succinctly provide the skills, and then to give examples of sales conversations in which those skills are used in conversations – because I have learned from teaching this material that people can intellectually understand a concept, but be unable to have that concept guide what they say when they’re under pressure, selling.

Why buy Got Sales? Because it’s up-to-date advice about growing your sales that WORKS, now, in closing business, building relationships, and feeling good about the whole process. Readers get an easily-understandable framework for structuring successful sales conversations, and they learn what to say when they’re selling so their success is, if not completely assured, at least most likely to come about.

Best advice I ever got: “Lenann, you’re sentimental. That’s OK, but you have to remember, it’s really $entimental – you can be sentimental and care about people, but if you want to be successful in running a business, always keep your eye on the MONEY, too.”

What I did right: I kept reading. So many people find a winning formula for their speaking or their consulting efforts, and they stay with it – operating on the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle. Unfortunately, those people teaching out-of-date selling skills are still charging some high prices for their advice. And then some folks say, “Sales training doesn’t work – I know, I spent a lot of money on it, and I can’t say I saw much in the way of results.”

My best advice to buyers of sales training: ask any prospective supplier for a list of references, and call lots of them. Ask these folks not whether they liked the provider, but whether the results were there in dollars and cents – or Euros, forints, zlotys, Vietnamese dong or other currency (to name a few we’ve had to deal with lately)!

Biggest transition I’ve had to make: to being active in Social Media. It takes a lot of time to post to two blogs, tweet, keep up a Facebook business page, a YouTube channel, and to continue to send e-newsletters and press releases.

Old thinking: Keep what you know to yourself. New thinking: Put what you know out there!

People want information, and they’re smart enough to know that, just because they’ve read about some of my ideas, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to use all those ideas tomorrow afternoon, leaving me with no speaking engagements, training classes, or consulting projects to do!

Books I’d recommend: Got Sales?, Rainmaking Conversations, Trust Based Selling, Closing Techniques (That Really Work), How to Acquire Clients.


Got Sales? If Not, Here’s How!

Lenann McGookey Gardner

Lenann McGookey Gardner, CSP, is a Harvard MBA, an American Marketing Association “Professional Services Marketer of the Year” award winner, and a 2010 winner of the “Top Performing CEO” award from her state’s Business Weekly. She has two decades of experience helping services providers to grow their revenues and is the author of Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services. She is also an Executive Coach.



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