Further to my last blog ‘What is success?’, here are a few thoughts on the principles that make up ‘success’.
I would suggest that the word ‘sales’ and ‘success’ are practically the same thing: we all want to be ‘successful’ in all we do: and the way to achieve this is to be good at ‘selling’ whatever it is that we are doing.
We are ALWAYS selling, all the time in every relationship (sometimes more subtly than others!).
The principles that determine how we ‘sell’ are the principles of ‘success’ that guide all our interactions in life. So it’s worthwhile spending some time clarifying them.
I would suggest that these are fundamental, timeless, universal and self-evident principles that exist outside all of us: they are there in the world, and act on everything that happens, whether we take notice of them or not. They are NOT personal choices… they are as objective and unbreakable as the laws of Physics.
These principles are like lighthouses in our lives: we can either take notice of them, or steer our own course in the dark. So it’s worthwhile identifying them and making sure our own values and behaviour align with them!
Here are the four foundational principles of ‘Slow Selling’:
Our inner beliefs guide all our actions. In order for people to want to like, trust (and buy from) us, we need to have inner beliefs that are about the genuine desire for mutual benefit outcomes (rather than the much simpler (and more common) beliefs of simple benefit to me alone, and never mind what the benefit to the other person is).
This is fundamental and foundational, and can be stated in phrases such as ‘Our aim is to treat our customer like we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes’, or ‘Sales come from getting it right for our customers, so they value the interaction with us whether they buy from us today or not. If we do this properly, then the sales will follow … not the other way round’.
Customers want to buy goods and services to fulfil deep emotional needs … always! They usually show these needs in physical ways, but these needs are always at the root of all customer demand.
These needs are always a desire to gain something emotionally (like buying a new car) or a desire to move away from pain (like buying Insurance). Thus the key to effective selling is to deeply understand these needs, and continually work on our processes and behaviour to address the deeper (and often hidden) needs of our customer.
This takes time, effort, systems and integrity, but we’ll only ever be successful in the long term by obsessively focusing on the customers’ REAL needs, and continually developing our strategy, systems, processes and behaviours to fulfil these … and to fulfil them remarkably.
Continual improvement is the key to success, and continual improvement can only be achieved consistently and sustainably by a constant focus on small steps, driven by feedback, data and attention to ‘moments of truth’.
No matter how good we are, we can always be better. If we don’t keep improving, the first we’ll know of it is when our customers defect to a competitor (who we probably haven’t even noticed yet). We can only expect customers to become loyal raving fans if we’re consistently remarkable in the way we deal with them.
Any chain is only as good as the weakest link: we need to work on all links continuously. Go the extra inch: by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard!
In order to know when, where and how to improve, we must have clear, consistent, compelling ‘lead’ measures. These are measures of behaviour and opinion (that then drive the actions and results). The ‘normal’ business measures (turnover, sales, margin etc) are not up to the job for this purpose as they measure events that have passed and outcomes that we already know about: they do not empower us to change and develop our behaviours effectively in the future and, through this, to win the customer’s loyalty, affection and support.
We can only ‘Go the extra inch’ if we’re obsessively looking for the inches, and, when we look, the inches we need are all around us.
We need our customers to know that we genuinely value feedback and opinion, and without it, we’re working in the dark. This is very different from most ways of doing business, and we’re not afraid of being different: that’s what makes us remarkable…
So, there you have it: some key principles of success. You may have others, or you may strongly agree or disagree with what I’ve written. Either way, please do add to the conversation, and add value to these thoughts by sharing your comments with us, either here or on our Facebook page.
All these principles are examined in more detail in my latest book ‘Slow Selling’ and in the ‘Slow Sellers Association’: these are both ‘under construction’ at time of publishing, but, to be kept up to date on their progress, and to get top tips and ideas directly into your inbox from the ‘Slow Selling’ movement, please sign up here.