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The Ruby Group | Akron and Columbus, OH

Matt White

In sales, we’re taught to always be asking questions…more questions, less talking. The more you can get your prospect to talk, the better the sales call goes. If you’re the one doing all the talking, then you’re heading for failure from the beginning.

It all starts with the process. If your prospects or customers are bleeding you dry because they’re fulfilling the typical “buyer’s system” of Mislead>Gather Information>Mislead Again>Hide, that’s not building trust and credibility…that’s being an unpaid consultant.

At work, we often live in a land of silos. The executives are over here. The marketing department is over there. HR is out front. The sales team is down in the basement on the phones. So, when we say “sales and marketing” in the same sentence, it’s an oxymoron. (In case you’re wondering, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.)

Those thoughts seem pretty close to opposite, don’t they? But, in fact, one very much leads to the other…in sales, as in life.

There’s no real “secret” to success; in fact, success is different for everyone, so defining one “secret” would be impossible to do. However, there is a single phrase that can help you find the secret for yourself: Know what your WHY is.

Picture this: You’re nearing the end of your meeting. Up to this point, things have gone pretty well. The business owner on the other side of the desk has been engaged; you feel like you’ve nailed it. Then it happens…time for the “next step” part of the discussion.

While technique is only a small percentage of the overall success triangle, there are a few tactics that I’ve learned through Sandler Sales Training over the last few years that really stand out. The best ones are logical, simple to implement and show staggering results as soon as you make a change.

Many years ago, David Sandler created a psychological model, called I/R Theory, to differentiate between identity and roles, and to help salespeople understand the interconnected nature of these two concepts. The gist is this: we tend to connect our success or failure in our roles (salesman, father, friend) with our level of self-worth.

I still hate sales in the traditional sense of the word. But, what I love is helping – and what I’ve found is that when you’re there to sell, people put up walls, barriers, fronts, etc. But, when you’re there to help, they open up and allow you to understand their situation and you can both decide whether or not there’s a fit.

When it comes to networking, the key takeaway for me has been that one simple question to overcome my fear. Once I’ve taken that step, it’s my responsibility to have my own story to tell.