As Tangent Strategies Inc. enters its 30th year of practicing and teaching the principled profession of selling, I’ve been asked variations of that question countless times. The question comes with the hope that there must be one simple, magical answer. And, in a way, there is. Here’s the answer. The secret to increasing sales is GREED.
GREED is impatient and opportunistic; it celebrates short-term gain at the expense of others; it feeds on buyer pain, instant gratification and unfair advantage; it misleads and deals under the table; is devoid of conscience and operates with impunity. And yet for all GREED’S seemingly indestructible power nothing drives business through the doors of a principled company better, faster and easier than the GREED of its competitors. Is yours a principled company? I’m sure it is, but be careful. Could any of your company’s selling methods be dated and mistaken for GREED? Are its selling tactics inadvertently sending the wrong messages to its target markets? Take a moment to analyze your selling methods.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- Is my company’s selling intention to deliver advantage or take advantage whenever possible?
- Have my salespeople been trained to use clever selling tactics or taught to patiently employ selling diagnostics to help prospects make informed buying decisions?
- Do I pay my salespeople a respectable salary or are they commissioned?
- Do I expect my salespeople to make sales presentations or interview their prospects and listen carefully to their answers for ready-to-buy signals?
- Do my salespeople take no for an answer?
- Do my salespeople cold-call or do they make appointments to meet with their prospects and customers?
- Does my company price its goods using the manipulative 99 cent pricing ploy (for instance $2999.99 for a sofa instead of $3000.00, or $4.99 for a box of crackers instead of $5.00)?
- Does my company include the cost of shipping in its price-point but tell buyers it provides ‘free’ shipping’?
- Finally … Have my salespeople been trained to search for buyer pain or taught to prevent it?
Now imagine that you are a savvy buyer. We are, after all, all buyers. Consider all your answers to these questions from a buyer’s perspective. How many of your answers do you believe might be interpreted as GREED? How many of your answers do you believe inspire buyer confidence and respect and how many erode it? Generally, the more traditional the selling method the more harmful it is to you and your customers. The good news is that you have the power to replace perceived seller greed with seller generosity, the selling method buyers admire and love to say yes to.
The real secret to increased sales … is that most buyers would divorce their mis-principled, misleading, perpetually hungry suppliers and retailers in a heartbeat … IF … they had principled alternatives waiting in the wings. If your company is that principled alternative, be prepared to increase your sales well beyond your current annual projections year in and year out.