Decoding the Mystical Art of Sales

Nowadays you hear and read a great deal about “scientific salesmanship.” Though the term may sound complicated and scholarly, or even mystical, don’t be frightened by it. There is nothing mystical about selling. We salespeople don’t have to be magicians and pull a rabbit out of a hat to sell our products and services.

To me, a scientific salesman refers to someone who is smart, studious and well-prepared. By knowing why people buy his goods and services, this salesman can present his case so convincingly that there is nothing the buyer can do but place an order for his services.

In my 40 years in the pavement maintenance and sweeping industries, I have trained a lot of salespeople on how to cold call potential customers face-to-face. Some had a lot of difficulty starting the flow of conversation. Who would have thought that this element of a sales call would be so hard for some people? I must admit that, in my first year, I had trouble with the flow of conversation in my initial face-to-face encounters, too. I attributed my failures back then to my lack of knowledge about the products and the solutions I was trying to sell.

I should note, for all you pavement maintenance and sweeping owners, be advised that if you have a salesperson who seems to only close call-in leads and not cold calls, they might need to bone up on their knowledge of company products and services. In my experience that’s been a red flag to watch out for.

For me, it was a daunting task to learn everything about parking lot sealer and crack sealant patching. But once I did learn, I saw results immediately as my sweeping business grew. Learning more about pavement maintenance and how the two went hand-in-hand was a move I recommend to everyone. Today, with industry information widely available to anyone, it is easy to talk the talk, but a good flow of conversation is most important during the initial encounter with a potential customer.

You will need to talk with the customer to understand what he knows. Does he know anything about pavement maintenance or how sweeping his lots reduce the liabilities on his parking lot? You can dazzle him with big industry words, or fantastic application techniques, but what really matters is that that person knows what you are talking about.

Keep your initial encounter simple and ask questions first. A few important items to talk about include: lot liability, worn-off directional lines and ADA compliance. Supply the owner with an annual lot maintenance form all filled out with his broken drains, plow curb damages and any other potential maintenance items you notice. A salesperson is the first and last contact the customer should communicate with, so make it count.

Scientific salesmanship seems to be a fancy term for, “I really don’t know what I’m talking about.” Avoid that by keeping it simple. Know what your company’s limits are and stick to that. We all want to offer our customers the best products and services available in the industry today. With the Internet, social media, and industry magazines like North American Sweeper, contractors and customers have become more savvy and knowledgeable about pavement maintenance products and sweeping services. It now rests on the shoulders of the salesperson to perfect the flow of conversation and to close the deal that is before them. There’s nothing scientific about it.
Mark McLeod is the President of Maintenance, Inc. Maintenance Inc. manufactures a wide variety of pavement maintenance products.

For more information please find them at www.maintinc.com or call 800-892-6701 for a Maintenance Inc. distributor near you.

Story by Mark McLeod

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