'C.A.P.' it — Another sales acronym you can use
By John Waid
Don't you wish that there wasn't always someone trying to sell you something? Wouldn't it be nice if the salesperson was really on your side and wanted you to be happy with whatever it was you purchased? I mean, can you imagine a world like that?
The best salespeople do not simply adhere to acronyms like ABC—Always Be Closing—or the X-step processes that remove the humanity from sales interactions. The majority of selling is not technique, but plain old people skills.
When people are asked what makes for a great salesperson, they will often cite characteristics like listening, asking great questions, caring more about the buyer than themselves, building rapport, being likeable, handling objections well and…shutting up. These are all behaviours exhibited by every great salesperson.
Let's dispel the myth of what selling is. Most salespeople will tell you they sold something and yet, if you think about it, they did not sell anything without someone buying. Selling is not the action, so really, salespeople could be called facilitators of buying.
"To sell" sounds aggressive and can put you in a defensive position. The inherent "tricks of the sales trade" often leave buyers with a sour taste in their mouths. There is a fundamental purpose that goes to the core of why we sell in the first place—and it is one that is not financially-driven. Believing in and selling a product or service that can improve an aspect of the buyer's life should be the primary motivator for salespeople. It is much better than selling just to hit a sales target or benchmark.
Once you establish a purpose aside from financial gain, there are three distinct values that drive the best salespeople. The acronym C.A.P. is easy to remember. Try it.
Are you curious? Curiosity is the value that drives the best to want to know what is behind the reason people buy something. Why do some salespeople create rabid fans around their products and services when others do not? It is because these salespeople add value. Developing an attitude of curiosity helps build value for the customer along with the two key behaviours of asking open-ended questions and listening to the answers.
Don't cut corners. Do all the right things. Accountability is an attitude that exudes success. Think about how much better you could have done in school if you had prepared before each quiz or exam, finished reading and taking notes on every textbook, attended every class and asked for help when you did not know something. Have you ever tried to build a piece of furniture without first reading the instructions? Painful isn't it? The best salespeople have a positive mental attitude towards preparing in advance. They are meticulous about documenting their territory plans, researching target accounts, organizing their materials, and planning their open-ended questions and objection-handling. Preparation is 90 percent of success and if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Is it more important that you like the customer or that the customer likes you? Before you answer, think about it a bit. How is the customer going to like you if you do not like them? Having a positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is not only valuable in sales, but also in life. We spend much of our time interacting with people and if we do not do this well it can cause a lot of heartache. Many of the most successful salespeople create rapport and learn to mirror the behaviours of others to better understand and relate to them. The ability to be likeable is the first step in building trust. Helping people to buy is not easy when they do not like you.
So, there you have it. These three values and the associated behaviours are key to sales success and even make for a better life. Put on your sales C.A.P. daily and you'll begin to see a boost in rewarding relationships, a boost in your numbers, and a boost in your satisfaction as a salesperson.
John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the book, "Reinventing Ralph."