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Sales Lesson 1: First provide value; money from sales will then follow

Sales Professor Ramez Helou

Even today, people get into business for the wrong reasons.

If you go into business because you want to make money, well, that is not a good reason.

However, if you go into business because you really want to help people, then people will pay you what you are worth because they are getting value.

This is value selling.

To share a small story of how I learnt this lesson at the age of twenty one, I made a business plan during my time as a direct sales rep. for a knife company.

I think there must have been two to three hundred thousand inhabitants of this little town I was living in at the time, and within the first few weeks, I chose to recruit twenty five local students to sell for me.

I’m thinking if everyone can sell a thousand dollars worth of knives, that’s twenty five thousand dollars a week, or one hundred thousand dollars in a month!

The logic looks great on paper; but man it doesn’t work that easy in real life.

I put up two thousand dollars in cash, and the knife company gives me an additional two thousand dollars as their start-up contribution.

That was my initial capital to rent an office, run some ads, hire a receptionist and then kick-start my recruited students to begin selling.

But after the first few weeks, I was ten thousand dollars in debt and I remember pulling my sales meetings with the students and telling the guys, you’ve got to go out and sell!

But, nothing tangible was happening. 

So, my manager from the knife company comes to me and says we’ve got to shut down your sales operation.

His advice was to just go out there myself, sell and recover the money.

I said I could, but I don’t really want to do that.

It was not why I wanted to become a sales manager.

He goes, well, why did you become a sales manager in the first place?

Well, I said, because I want to help people.

He looked at me and said, Ramez, how were you helping these students over the last few weeks?

It was a thought-provoking question.

I could only look back, and say, I don’t think I have.

I had this flashback telling the guys, go out and sell whilst all the while thinking that I’ve got to pay rent. 

And there it was; I got into business for the wrong reason.

I realized this point upon reflection; suddenly I understood the value of having a coach.

A coach is a person that can challenge you time and time again.

In a way, I woke up right then and there, and now I’m thinking, jeeze, I know I can fix this.

And from that moment on, I went back to the sales office and I told the team, forget about me.

Let us do what I used to do before, value selling, which was when I was under the daily instruction of my sales manager [coach].

During that time, I was always about helping others.

But in parallel I was thinking, why did that stop?

How did I get myself in this situation?

It’s so easy; It’s so easy to get caught up.

So, I changed strategy and began asking my team, what is it that you want?

The team started saying things like, I want to buy a new fridge for my parents etc.

So, we’d work out the price of a new fridge, and how much they would need to sell in order to make their commissions accordingly.

And, from that point on, our sales figures completely changed for the better.

Moral of the story, it’s always about, and has always been about, helping others to get what they want first; value selling.

Sales Lesson 2 : Make selling habitual, but adapt to change when needed

Forty five percent of what you and I do is habitual.

The way you drive your car; you don’t think about it.

Same goes with what you eat, the way you brush your teeth, the way you wear your clothes in the morning and so on.

Now imagine if selling were to become habitual, where you have the right habits that achieve your desired outcomes.

I see a lot of business owners, and these people are generally happy with 10, 15, 20 percent conversions.

Well, today, 10, 15, 20 percent conversions are not sufficient to be in-line with overheads.

But, someone out there, most likely your competitor, they’re getting 50, 60, 70 plus percent conversions.

Well, if they can do it, and are regularly achieving it, why can’t you?

So, how do you make the actions needed to achieve 50, 60, and 70 plus percent conversions habitual?

People are so habitually used to performing actions that lead to 10, 15, 20 percent conversions instead.

And maybe that’s great, for a while.

But, how much money are they leaving on the table?

More than the money, how many customers are they not serving that they could be.

If you keep on doing what you’re doing, you will keep on getting what you’re already getting.

And then people start realizing that the world is changing, competition is increasing, and there are more technological advances today than ever there was before.

So, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you will no longer keep on getting what you’re getting.

You’re going to get less and less and less.

So make selling habitual, but make adapting to change habitual as and when it is needed.

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