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” Six Questions to An Expert ” by Ivano Concas.
1) In the huge offer of methods and techniques, there are thousands of bloggers, articles, books and consultant firms. Unavoidably there are though different and even opposite theories about sales. What’s your advise for a salesman who would like a support in order to improve? how to find his way in this wide offer?
A) I would suggest to someone who is desirous of becoming an avid student of selling to keep in the front of their mind that selling is an honorable profession. Weigh all advice against honesty and proper ethics in business. Some tactics and strategies are best for sales to consumers while others are more effective when selling products and services to businesses. As a student of strategy, the salesperson will need to weigh the information against what they know about their industry and products.
2) In the last 80 years, billions of words have been written about how to sell. There are so an “old” and a “new-school”. Sometimes even contrasting in their ideas. In your opinion, is the evolution of selling tecniques influenced by new ideas and thoughts or is there just an adaptation to the new tools we have (such as communication, web, CRM), the new market and products/services? or, last, the buyer’s changing in behaviour (awareness, advanced purchasing process)?
A) Some of the so-called new advice is a revised version of some of the strategies I learned when I was quite young. Foundational communication skills do not change because they are foundational. We are still selling people to people just like when selling first became a profession in ancient history. However, the method of delivery of those strategies does change with the times.
3) If you could add a new chapter to your book, ” How to Master The Art of Selling “, specifically devoted to the current recession, what would you focus on?
A) Actually, I wrote a new book titled “Selling in Tough Times” which is devoted to the current economic challenges we are facing. I did not rehash “How to Master the Art of Selling,” but showed today’s salespeople how to adapt some of those strategies to the current market. Mainly, rather than approaching people directly about your product or service, you need to invest more time in understanding their situations — where they have been, how the current times have impacted their lives and businesses, and then determine if your product will serve their needs. It’s a little slower process than in better economic times, but basically the same steps to selling.
4) What is the skill/attitude that you have seen too much neglected by the salesmen you met in your career as trainer?
A) As far as strategies go, I find that until salespeople learn how to quickly and effectively qualify potential clients, they waste a lot of time. However, even before that, too few sales people assess their own attitudes before approaching clients. You have to have your own attitude and enthusiasm at a good level before you talk with others. If you do not, and they are down, they’ll bring you down as well. That, in turn, will have a negative impact on the sales call you have with the next client.
5) We often speak about improvement and enrichment of the salesmen qualification, but there are some habits that should be got out. Which are, if exisisting, the “sales thruths ” of the past that, as time went by, you removed from your techniques or changed ideas on?
A) In the past, some salespeople acted as if consumers were easy targets for their products. With some products, the people considering the purchase were not well-educated about them. It was up to the salesperson to fulfill that need. And, unfortunately, some were not as ethical as we would like. Today, with so much information available on the internet, most consumers educate themselves before speaking with a salesperson. That has caused the salespeople to have to work harder than ever at keeping up with their own knowledge base.
6) Some of us have participated in the meeting of Vicenza this year, and a question related to what you presented is a must. After all these years of extensive experience in selling what has changed, if has changed, in the relationship with Mr. Fear?
A) As long as you are presenting to a human being, Mr. Fear will be present. Humans are basically ego-driven and Mr. Fear protects that ego. He causes them to stall, to second-guess themselves, and to make poor decisions. I do not see Mr. Fear being eliminated from the selling process any time soon.
[note color=”#F1E8CD”] Interview by : Ivano Concas
Technical studies, then 10 years of experience in research, development and industrialization of electronic devices. Then the intolerance of “imprisonment” office led him to accept the first job selling technique that becomes the beginning of a business career spanning over 12 years, always in the electronics and always with the scientific and logical approach former technician, who is also reflected in its improvement techniques: study of the theory and analysis of the real world. [/note]