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The Danger of the Two Sales

The Danger of the Two Sales is a straightforward but not well-known marketing and sales problem that kills many new businesses.

Here's what happens to produce it:

Someone has a brainwave and makes a new product or service.

You see this all the time in the Software-as-a-Service world...but you'll also see it in products, such as a condiment.

Then the creator goes out and tries to sell the thing, and discovers nobody wants it.

"Why don't they understand how great this is?" they shout. After all, it's clear as day to them why people need whatever it is.

But the public, the target market, other people... everyone else just doesn't get it.

The now-frustrated creator gives up.

the danger of the two sales, unable to sell, positioning problem, marketing problem

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Understanding What Causes The Danger Of The Two Sales

What happened here?

The new business owner, fired up with the enthusiasm for their innovative idea, has dangerously bypassed the first problem in sales and marketing...

...identifying a problem people admit they'll pay to have solved.

This is the first of The Two Sales. You must make this first sale, and it is best if that sale is implicitly understood by your prospective customer before you begin talking to them.

In other words, the first sale is that your prospect admits there is a serious problem to be solved: one that they will pay money to fix.

If you haven't achieved this, you run a great risk of having your "solution" sound unnecessary or, even worse, nonsense. You'll ever make a sale in this situation.

The second of The Two Sales is that YOU are the best provider of solutions for this problem.

Can you see how if you blindly try to rush past the first of The Two Sales, that your target market agrees there's an issue here worth solving in the first place, your prospect will blink at you in confusion when you try to show off "your baby"?

Making Use Of The Two Sales

You might be astonished how often this situation comes up. If you keep the Danger of the Two Sales in mind as you begin, though, you'll be able to make use of it.

As a for-instance, I pre-qualify prospective clients for people who already believe that a metrics-based approach is good. For them to already be demonstrating they value numbers because they're collecting their own data—and aren't afraid of math.

So many newbie business owners are afraid of a little math.

When I do talk to someone about our services, I know they're already on board with doing some math...that they speak the language of marketing and operations results. I do not have to risk falling into the situation of trying to sell someone who just isn't into numbers and probably never will be. What a frustrating experience that would be!

Do you see how this directs your marketing?

Your marketing is best deployed in filtering in those people who already believe as you do. Then you can talk to those who qualify—those you've made The First Sale to—further about the details of your amazing solution.

Of course there are situations where a new problem and a new solution are very real. But you'll still have to deal with The Two Sales: before you'll ever make a sale you'll have to educate and convince someone, or get them to agree, that there is a serious problem in this area. Then you can move on to you being the best solution provider.

Many, many businesses have died an early death because their founders did not understand The Danger of the Two Sales. I encourage you to not be one of those founders.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and conversion expert. To book a session to speak with Jason, click here. <<

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Getting Real Or Not Playing

Getting real involves challenging lazy thinking and penetrating façades, games, defenses, fears, and illusions." ~Let's Get Real Or Let's Not Play by Mahan Khalsa

let's get real or let's not play sales book mahan khalsa

Let's Get Real Or Let's Not Play is one of my favorite sales books: I've been referring to it since first discovering it in 2010. The premise is that buyer and seller need to cut past the baloney and posturing, and get down to a real, emotional, in-depth discussion of what's truly going on and how help may (or may not) be available.

As the salesperson, you have to be completely willing to walk away. If the prospect won't admit to having a serious problem that you can fix, you politely end the conversation. If they won't open up and let you into their world, at least a little, you don't continue.

By the same token, you as the salesperson are not walking around with a hammer looking at everything as a nail. If your solution isn't the right fit for this prospect, YOU TELL THEM SO.

Yes, it takes bravery to sell this way. And getting real is totally worth it. The price of honesty and open discussions will give you much better client relationships.

The Power of Getting Real

"As trust goes up, speed goes up and costs go down. As trust decreases, everything slows and costs rise." ~Mahan Khalsa, Let's Get Real Or Let's Not Play

Speed may not be a shocker here, but costs?

It's worth thinking about, isn't it: that when trust is low, costs go up. Think about implementation alone. People drag their heels. They spend time looking for other options, or trying to shoehorn their own pet solution into place in direct competition. Nobody tells anyone else what's going on, so things break. And of course there's the opportunity cost of dilly-dallying when you could go ahead and get the problem corrected.

Effective ways of gaining trust are to ask a lot of questions, and not push your solution a The One And Only. At The Closing Engine, we ask the people who'd like to work with us a lot of questions. We're not sure, at the start, whether we're a fit for one another just yet. We don't want anyone and everyone to sign up.

How has trust been impacting speed and costs in your projects? Have you been getting real?

>> Jason Kanigan is a conversion expert and sales trainer. To book an appointment to speak with Jason, click here. <<

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How Getting Fired Saved My Sales Life [Guest Post by Matthew North]

Matthew North has genuine sales experience to share with us here. It's about the lazy attitude towards training displayed by many companies. That their focus is on making sales by whatever means—and if it grinds the salesperson's soul into dust, who cares...and the shift you can make so the process of selling can become much easier for you.

Let's join Matthew North as he describes the trainwreck of an experience that lead to his personal shift in selling...

~Jason

matthew north afraid of selling fired sales

This is a guest post by ex-sales pro turned writer Matthew North. You can follow him on Facebook for more posts like this and see if he'll write for you.

Let's talk about getting you in front of a trove of qualified people whose wallets are wide open, ready and waiting to buy from you.

I'm reporting from experience of being on the front lines. As a former sales guy, I became desperate to connect with people who actually wanted to speak with me. I grew tired of being the marauder of phone books and telephone directories. Sick of calling fax machines and the dominion of secretaries.

But things were good. So it never occurred to me why some people were easier to sell to than others. You just had your good days, then your bad days. And besides, the sales were easy. People kept buying, so I kept selling—which was fine until we ran out of leads.

I didn't suspect anything at first. Fewer people than usual called me back, and a couple of proposals fell through. No problem. I was going through a downswing, and soon I'd be on my way up again.

Things continued like this for a while. Each sale we lost would expand the pressure on the company to keep itself standing. Consultants of many different hats and titles were called in to doctor the cause. None of this mattered. The business had been kicked and dragged around towards bankruptcy.

But we had a plan: a list of old recycled leads. These people had shown interest at some point, and it was my job to close them. Just as I started calling, secretary commandos paraglided in to subvert me. "James? Is that who you want? Well, he doesn't work here anymore." "Brian is in meetings all week. Why don't you leave your number and he'll call you back if he's interested." "I don't really see why I should put you through unless can you tell me what this is all about." A whole calendar worth of presentations, gone. Management roared with criticism. They then gave me an opportunity (as they called it) to either meet target, or get out.

All this would culminate on a Wednesday morning. I was pulled by the neck to a small room; inside, my manager had waited. He closed the door, and handed me an envelope. I knew what was coming. He looked at me. I looked at him. We both stared. They then kicked me out, to a street that was laden with garbage. "Send him back where you found him," I heard them saying.

Over the next few months, everyone watched as our former employers went out the back door, and left behind a death knell of lawsuits and press releases addressed to anyone who'd read them.

Matthew North: Lessons Learned

It didn't matter how many dials I made, how polished my pitch was, or what kind of jokes I told: nothing had made a difference. Prospects had turned into brick walls.
A decade later, things are now clear: once the walk-in buyers were gone, it left only the "Not interested" punters behind. There was no real finesse to what we were doing, no process. We chased, and they ran, that was about it.

So if my company was wrong about selling, what's trick or sneaky shortcut to making huge bags of money?

Mature thinkers know that nothing worthwhile is easy or guaranteed. So there is no a magic close that will force someone to buy, or a pitch so persuasive it sells itself. To seek the easy answers is a misunderstanding of what sales is really about. We cannot force people to do anything.

Instead, give people what they want, listen, and see things from their point of view. Because it's the customer's situation that determines if they buy. We don't call the plumber if our taps aren't leaking; we don't want to shoot the breeze with the cable guy. We engage with companies because we want something, and it's the same for why people will buy from you.

Don't listen to the marketer's jingle of awareness to transaction (which is from the businesses' perspective.) What is going on in your prospect's world? There will always be some unsatisfied need or want if a sale is possible. And if you can't help someone get what they want, it doesn't matter about your prices, how good your product is, or anything else.

What all of this means is that you do not make sales; you find sales. The opportunity of a sale being made is either there or it isn't. And yes, everyone has a fishing story or two of turning somebody around—but how often does that happen? Selling is not alchemy.

When people buy from a salesperson, it's because they were thinking about buying already. The salesperson was just kind of 'there,' handing over what they wanted. In practice, this means there are two distinct, yet concurrent parts to any good sales conversation: qualification, and what happens after. When we talk of simply finding the buyers (qualification), it's the first and most important step of the sale - not the close, nor your glossy sales kits, but who you speak to that matters the most.

This was a guest post by ex-sales pro turned writer Matthew North. You can follow him on Facebook for more posts like this and see if he'll write for you. For a live interview with Matthew North on SalesTactics, click here.