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Sales Slump? Burnout? Help Is Here!

An excerpt from “ABC’s of Selling with Etiquette” (Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd.) by Dale Brakhage and Edie Hand.

When professional athletes suffer a performance slump, their coaches take them aside and review the fundamentals. They study the athlete’s technique and refine each fundamental so the athlete can see the immediate positive results and return to championship performance. Now sales managers and sales trainers have a new tool to help salespeople at any experience level overcome (or prevent) burnout or a slump in sales. It is a fun and interesting review of the essential fundamentals of selling and using proper business etiquette. It is the new book, “ABC’s of Selling with Etiquette,” by Dale Brakhage and Edie Hand.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter “B is for Benefit”:

Facts are what your product “is.” Benefits are what other people believe your product does for them. Benefits are much stronger in selling than facts. Why is that true? Because people buy things after they believe in the benefits, not before. The moment people believe that something, anything, will provide a benefit for them, they begin to want it. When they want something enough, they buy it. Facts tell; benefits sell.

We buy things for what the product can do for us. We buy light bulbs for the benefit of seeing after dark. We buy trashcans for the benefit of not having stinky trash all over our house. We buy coffee for the benefit of waking up and feeling alert. We buy insurance for the benefit of feeling secure about the future.

We buy gasoline, not because of these facts: It is poisonous, smells terrible, and can easily explode, but because of this benefit: It fuels our cars so we have the freedom to travel wherever and whenever we want to go! The facts about gasoline do not make anyone want to buy it. It is the benefit gasoline provides that makes us buy it. We will keep buying it, even though the price goes higher and higher, until there is some other convenient way for us to travel…

To discover the benefits of your product or service, state a fact about it and then ask, “So what does this do to help the customer?” An even easier way is to ask, “So what?” In the cell phone example above, the first fact was, “It is small.” So what? You can carry it with you easily and stay in touch with your friends, family, co-workers, etc. As you can see, a benefit answers the “So what?” for a fact. Remember, a benefit explains to customers what the product does for them.

To sell anything as quickly as possible, always describe the benefits to your customer. Put yourself in your buyer’s place for a moment, JOIN their world and imagine what challenges that customer must face. Ask them what they want the product to do for them. They will tell you. That is your chance to explain to the customer how your product’s benefits match what the customer just said. As you describe the benefits, describe how your product helps the customer solve problems and be happier. When you are talking about benefits, you are talking about your customer instead of your product. It is all about them.

The book also explains good selling etiquette. This excerpt is from Chapter “C is for Customers” and is about “conversation etiquette”:

“Let people talk! Of course, you can think faster than you can talk. Everyone can. During a conversation, you will have all kinds of thoughts about what the other person is saying. You may be tempted to interrupt the other person in order to persuade them to your way of thinking. Do not interrupt! If you begin speaking before another person finishes a sentence, you appear pushy, rude, and selfish. The other person will immediately think you care more about what you are trying to sell than what they want to buy. They will put up defenses, and you will probably lose the sale. Wait for others to finish their sentences...

Conversations are the keys that unlock sales. Exchanging information with customers allows you to learn what they want and encourage them to buy your product. A good conversation can turn a customer’s “no” into “yes.” Good questions make better conversations. You will learn how this works when you read the chapter, “Q is for Questions.”

“ABC’s of Selling” published by Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd., is available in major bookstores and online retailers: ISBN: 978-0-9825396-5-1.

Dale Brakhage has a degree in educational psychology and 25 years of sales, sales training and sales management experience. He is the current president of the Birmingham City Schools Career and Technical Education Advisory Board. Brakhage wrote the marketing plans that made LORTAB a top-100 prescribed drug, and then he co-founded and built Scandipharm, a $65 million per year annual sales pharmaceutical company. To learn more about Dale Brakhage, visit www.dalebrakhage.com

Edie Hand is a businesswoman, speaker, and event coordinator. She has authored, co-authored, and helped to develop more than 20 books. Known for her Southern business etiquette, she has starred in national commercials and daytime television soaps, and hosted numerous radio and television shows nationwide. Hand has been the CEO of Hand N’ Hand Advertising, Inc., since 1976. Learn more at www.ediehand.com or www.ediehandfoundation.org.