If there's one entrepreneur who knows sales, it's Kevin Harrington. The serial entrepreneur built a $5 billion business, founded the Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO), and pioneered the infomercial business and "As Seen on TV" category (beginning with Ginsu Knives). In addition, as one of the original sharks on ABC's "Shark Tank," he has advised dozens of other entrepreneurs.
Harrington was largely influenced by legendary sales guru Zig Ziglar. At age 17 Harrington read Ziglar's book "See You at the Top" (1975). We recently caught up with Kevin Harrington to get his top five tips for sales people.
1. Play the long game
Sales is a relationship business. The best way to have success is to build strong relationships that go the distance. That means helping customers get what they want, even if that seems counterintuitive. When you overdeliver and give customers more value than they are expecting, you'll create a customer for life.
Action item: Think of some customers who need extra attention, reach out to them today and ask what problems you can help solve for them.
2. Sometimes a "no" is not a bad thing
Getting the "no" out of the way first thing can actually be good. Think about it this way: If a prospect tells you "no," it means they likely also have the power to say "yes." Now all you have to do is show them why their life would be better off with your idea, product or service in it. Move forward with confidence.
Action item: Identify the last few customers who rejected you and address their objections in a way that helps them going forward.
3. Not every customer should be your customer
The best sales people recognize that just because a person can buy from you doesn't mean they should buy from you. Of course, you want the sale, but sometimes you aren't the best fit for their needs. You would be better off developing relationships with customers whom you can serve for the long haul.
Action item: Look at the customers who give you headaches. If it is time to let them go, create an exit strategy.
4. You are the most important sale you'll ever make
People buy from people they respect and trust, period. If you aren't closing sales, it may be that you aren't trusted. Fortunately you can do something about that.
Make sure that you are presenting the best version of yourself. As Zig Ziglar said, "If people like you, they'll listen to you. If they trust you, they'll do business with you."
Action item: Perform a trust audit. Deliver your sales presentation to a colleague and ask them where you can improve trust.
5. Show your customers what transformation looks like
Customers need to see what success looks like after they buy your idea, product or service. Harrington uses something called the Magical Transformation Close to show customers what that success looks like.
Start by thinking about their needs then ask questions to clarify, then show your potential customers how what you are selling will magically transform their situation. This is something Harrington has used in infomercials for decades. It's simple and effective. Best of all, it works, he told us.
Action item: Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What would a transformation look like for them?
By Marisa Sanfilippo