Ok, so you’re reading about ‘Slow Selling’.
I appreciate your attention, I really do.
And recently, I was asked: ‘Why do you believe in Slow Selling? Why should anyone else follow these ideas?’
Which is a great question.
We’re all busy and have a million things to divert us already.
So, here are a few examples from my own experience of how I stuck to these principles … and enjoyed unexpected success … and a few of how I didn’t when I didn’t!
My first job was as a beer rep in Kent … I was given a failing area, where business was falling at 14% per year, handed the keys to a blue Vauxhall Cavalier, and told to ‘get on with it’.
I was fresh out of University (where I studied law, not business!), wet behind the ears, and very unused to the hard world of sales on the road, and I’d never even been inside a working men’s club.
It looked like disaster was staring me in the face!
So, I decided to do the only thing I felt I was able to do: I arranged meetings with the owners and decision makers of all the customers and potential customers and asked them three things:
- What do you, personally, want from your business?
- What do you want from me / my company?
- How can I act in way that’s most helpful to you?
And, amazingly, by relentlessly carrying on asking these questions, and sticking to delivering their answers, with courtesy, reliability and cheerfulness … I found that they miraculously started stocking more products from my company and buying more and more each week.
I also learnt that Sunday night darts tournaments aren’t all that fun …
The same happened when I had a job as a property buyer for a Pub Company: the more I was proactive, attentive, reliable and positive with the property agents, the earlier I’d get the tips of new properties on the market, and the better a reputation I’d spread with sellers. So I was able to have offers made and accepted more quickly than anyone else in the market. A true win/win.
Again, as a Regional Manager: the more I proactively, positively and helpfully focused on helping business owners improve their businesses and learn best practice from others, the more I had prospective business partners queueing up to have a business with me … and so the more assertively I could run the whole area.
In a nutshell, I found that if I stuck to the following principles, then I seemed to attract success:
- Focus on helping the customer get what they want first … then they’ll help you get what you want.
- Dig deeply to find out the deep needs of the customer: they may be very different to what they may seem at first impression.
- Keep at it and keep improving inch by inch. Be consistent and continually improving!
- Focus on key performance criteria (like returning calls promptly and delivering quickly and fully on promises) and the main things, like sales, seem to take care of themselves.
It also works in reverse.
When, as a consultant, I was struggling to coach a senior manager in a client’s business and get them to deliver improved results, I failed to stick by the principles of focusing on the customer’s needs, measuring the lack of progress and feeding back inch by inch … and, over time, quite rightly, I lost the client.
When I wrote the book ‘Sales through Service’, I wrote it for the wrong reasons, and, although I stand by everything in the book, it’s not something that advances any new material or something I proudly refer clients to.
So, by mistake, I learnt the 4 principles of ‘Slow Selling’ and like all principle-centred material, I find that, if I stick to it, it gets great results, and when I deviate, I start to head into trouble.
So, my simple tip from this blog is: find principle-centred material that you really can get behind. Ideas and systems that you instinctively feel: ‘Yes, that’s exactly it! That’s exactly how it seems to me as well!’
I’m sure you’ll find that none of it is contradictory – it it’s common sense, it usually fits together.
Then stick to it, keep reminding yourself about it, and put simple daily and weekly processes in place to help you keep on getting back to it, when you get waylaid by the constant pressures of life!
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Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.
Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.
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