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Small Business Digest


Building Rewarding, Productive Business Relationships

In today’s struggling economy and competitive marketplace, companies and salespeople find themselves under enormous pressure to sell better and faster. 

Global competition is fierce, and buyers are putting pressure on sellers to sell more for less.  Faced with this environment, many companies are finding that they can’t keep selling as usual – something has to change. 

In their new book, LET’S GET REAL OR LET’S NOT PLAY:  Transforming The Buyer/Seller Relationship, Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig introduce methods and practices that can help companies build rewarding, productive business relationships, and deliver consistently better results in any economy. 

According to Khalsa and Illig, the key to successful selling is to focus 100% on helping clients succeed.  “The word ‘selling’ is tainted with the association of a person doing something to somebody, rather than for or with them,” the authors explain.  “We think of sales as the process of helping clients succeed in a way they feel good about.  To us, helping clients succeed is not a euphemism for sales – it is the essence of sales.”

In LET’S GET REAL OR LET’S NOT PLAY, Khalsa and Illig explain how salespeople can “get real” – forget about their own numbers and making their quotas, engage customers in open and honest discussions about their real needs, and build quality relationships based on credibility, trust, and mutual respect. Readers will learn the following sales tips:

* Stop Cold Calling.  Cold calls are time-consuming, annoying, and ineffective.  Khalsa and Illig recommend making “warm calls” instead.  Rather than spending time reaching out to potential clients, salespeople can build a strong network in their marketplace that gets people to call them.  The authors share tips for building a referral network and becoming an expert that people can reach out to.  

* Stop Guessing. Salespeople shouldn’t guess what problems clients are trying to solve and what results they want to achieve. Khalsa and Illig introduce a new option:  mutual exploration. They share tips that will allow salespeople and clients to mutually search for a solution that meets the client’s needs, including asking tough questions, establishing clear definitions of key words and phrases, and learning to speak the client’s language.   

* Slow Down For Yellow Lights.  Clients will often give signals about how they are feeling and what they are thinking.  These verbal and visual communications often hint at doubts, concerns, or fears that a client might have about a sale.  Khalsa and Illig warn against the tendency to panic in these situations, and share advice for turning a yellow light into a green light, including how to understand the true nature of the client’s concern; correctly phrasing redirection questions;  utilizing metaphors and stories;  and reframing client perceptions. 

* Develop A Meeting Plan. The purpose of a sales presentation is to enable a decision, not to inform, educate, or entertain. Khalsa and Illig introduce the idea of a meeting plan, which will help salespeople shorten the sales cycle, effectively advocate a solution, and obtain a decision more quickly.

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