I started selling 6 months ago
… I thought I was a banging salesman with the el gift of la gab, but NO NO, I was utter shite… BUT this is what I’ve learned through trial and a lot of error and a few sales books thrown in the mixer.
Little bit of background before we go balls deep into the lessons: I was Sales Director for an Argentinian Peanut Butter company called Manilife who produce premium, deliciously creamy yet utterly crunchy peanut butter. These lessons have come from many hours at Food shows and doing sampling events in shops across London. Now that’s out the way, lets get going.
(Check out more about Manilife here: https://mani-life.com/)
Here is what I’ve learned, perhaps you may find it useful too…
ONE: Just because You Can TALK Does Not MEAN You can SELL.
TWO: Listen MORE, SELL MORE.
THREE: How Do You Find Out Your Customers Specific Wants and Needs?
FOUR: Put Your Head In The Customers head.
FIVE: Selling to Different Customers
SIX: Have More Than One Sales Pitch In Your Arsenal
SEVEN: The Best Way to deal with Price concerns, Talk about Cost.
Lesson ONE: Just because you can TALK it doesn’t mean you can SELL.
Please allow me to set the scene… of how most salesman act in the beginning (myself included)
At me local boozer…Brooding over an Ice cold Foster’s, sparking up a Marlboro Light, informing the ‘lads, leds leds’ of my new Sales Position.
‘Ahh sales mate, piece of piss’
‘Gooot daaa gift of the ol’ gab, me son’
‘Whatever I say deeze Mugs’ fucking buy it’
‘It’s total genius fella, get me commission then I’m down de old pub’
The biggest lesson, just because you can TALK does not MEAN you can SELL.
The natural tendency when you sell is to talk…Why?
The more you talk about the benefits of the product or service you are selling. Surely the more likely the prospect is to buy? Surely?
Computer says NO.
Talking and selling are different beasts.
When you talk… you don’t sell. Because when you’re talking you’re eating up valuable time. Let me explain….
As Sales Director of Manilife… I talked A LOT but sold very LITTLE.
Here’s how my sales pitch (or talking pitch) would look…
I would talk at length about many important aspects of the peanut butter:
- The origin of the peanuts sourced in Argentina.
- The hi-oleic fat profile, making the peanuts extremely healthy.
- The meticulous Roast.
- The story behind the product… My boss Stu leaving his job in the City.
- The USP of the product, its extra creamy texture, yet it’s simultaneously distinctive crunch.
You’re probably thinking, but that is very important and useful information about the product?
It’s fucking is. But this means fuck all in terms of selling…
Customers will give you a maximum of 5 minutes of their time. Let’s say you talk (see my example above) for 4 minutes. giving out all the valuable information. You’ve completely wasted your time, energy and breath… Here’s why?
You have left yourself, only ONE MINUTE to investigate and find out their wants and needs.
You need to use that 5 minutes… to find out what the customers specific wants and needs are… then you sell them a product that satisfies these wants and needs.
So. Talk Less. Sell More.
Lesson TWO: Listen MORE, Sell MORE.
By Talking Less. Guess What?
YOU SELL MORE. Because you’re finding out what the prospect actually wants and needs (I’ll keep saying this phrase because it is SO important)
The Talking Salesman vs. The Listening Salesman. Who Wins?
The Product: I Phone 7 phone case.
The ‘Dodgy Gaff’ in a Train Station, Lyrcra Mobile Salesman
‘Veryyy good case, Fantastic I-phone case, it will never break, I do you good price, full refund’
‘I do you Good price… The Red Colour VERY popular.. will suit you, very nicely’
Not once has he asked what you actually want and need
You can’t breath… he’s too in your face… you quickly make an escape for your train. NO SALE.
The Apple Salesman:
You go into Apple, they listen to your swants and needs, they have a fucking Genuis Bar for God’s sake… you go there to SPEAK, they listen, you ask for the most robust phone case (your wants)- they satisfy it. Ask for the trendiest phone case (your wants) – they satisfy it. SALE.
You could argue that Apple and Some dodgy gaff are an ocean apart in revenue, spend on training. Yes…. But the Sales model can be applied to any business, big or small.
One is talking. The other is listening. Listening always takes the dough.
Lesson THREE: How Do You Find Out Customers Specific Wants and Needs?
“Everyone has wants and needs, everyone has an Itch as Sales people all we need to do is Scratch that Itch’ – Zig Zigglar. (Paraphrased the fuck outta that btw.)
We all have Itches and we all need someone to scratch our itches. Here’s mine…
When I need a pint, The Pub sells me a beer and scratches my itch.
When I need a new laptop, Apple sells me a Mac and scratches my itch.
When my armpits stink of shite and I need to sort it out, Lynx scratches my itch.
When you have a woeful pair of trotters, Adidas or Nike will both compete to scratch my itch.
TO SELL MORE. WE NEED TO FIND OUT THE CUSTOMERS ITCH.
Itches are not easy to find… Why?
They are usually masked with a load of bullshit, phrases like:
‘I’ll have a think about it’, ‘Not for me today’, ‘I’ll have to ask my boyfriend/girl friend’
‘Not for me today’, ‘I’ll have to ask my boyfriend/girl friend’
‘I’ll have to ask my boyfriend/girlfriend’
Phrases like these prevent you from getting to the bottom of the Itch, therefore missing the sale.
We need a battering ram to cut through this bollocks, and there are two weapsons at your disposal:
2. A weapon that will always stand the test of time its the Mo-fo-fucking- battering ram: QUESTIONS.
How do you use the battering ram?
At Manilife, like a rabid horney Viking I was relentless in using the battering ram. I would keep battering away until I had broken down the gates to the castle and found the customers ITCH.
Here’s how you do it: Start broad. Get specific.
Here’s an example during my time at Manilife.
‘Do you like peanut butter?’ (VERY BROAD)
‘No’- don’t pursue the sale- Don’t waste your energy (your energy is a finite resource)
Probe Question ONE:
‘How do you usually eat your peanut butter?’ (investigating begins, BROAD)
‘I have it on Banana’ (Ok, you know they WANT it on fruit)
‘I suggest you pick the Deep Roast it goes much better on fruit’ (satisfying their WANT with your product, STILL BROAD)
Probe Question TWO:
‘WHEN do you eat your Peanut butter then?’ (MORE SPECIFIC)
‘In the morning’ (Now you’ve found their ITCH, they are itching for a product that tastes good, saves them time in the morning when they are rushed and anxious to get out the door)
‘Scoop this on a Banana, it takes 30 seconds and you have a healthy breakfast’ (You’re no longer selling them Peanut butter, You’re selling them a time saver that is healthy and stress-free) (VERY SPECIFIC)
Find someone’s Itch by asking questions. Tell them how your product satisfies that Itch. Sell More.
(I am going to do a longer blog post, specifically on probing questions to investigate and find out people’s wants and needs- Keep your eyes peeled.)
Lesson FOUR: Put Your Head In The Customers Head.
As sale bro’s and hoe’s we are often absorbed in our OWN head…
As we deliver our pitch … we are trying to rattle out all the important information about the product and service.
‘What should I say now?’
‘Am I saying the right thing?’
‘Is this going well?’
‘Have I got any peanut butter in my teeth?’
Time after time… I would be IN MY HEAD asking these questions… Yet also IN MY HEAD thinking I was fucking sick at selling: a passionate, enthusiastic, engaging little fucker…
Little did I know this was a sure fire way to guarantee A No Sale.his is destined for a no sale.
Once I put my head IN the customers head I sold more (perhaps this could work for you too). In fact, I went from selling 5 jars an hour to 180 in 5 hours at the Taste of London Food show. Why did I sell mroe though? Let me tell you…
When I put my mind inside the customers… it was like a mirror being held up to my face… I realised I was JUMPING down the customers throat… with FAR TOO much passion and zeal… It would have turned anyone off.
Get into the Customer’s head. Try to see through their eyes, by doing so you’ll see yourself… you’ll know whether to tone it up or tone it down. Whether your being too aggressive or too timid.
Lesson FIVE: Selling to the Different Customers
When you put yourself in the customers mind… as your floating around in their noggin, you’ll start to see, feel, smell and act like them. You’ll realise EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT ITCHES. EVERYONE’s NEEDS TO BE SATISFIED DIFFERENTLY (some Anal others Oral, whatever floats your boat!)
Let me introduce to three customers: The Grandma, Little Cousin and a Teenage Brother
Would you speak to your Grandma the same way you would speak to your Little Cousin or Teenage Brother?
Would you speak to your Little Cousin the same way you would speak to your Grandma or Teenage Brother?
Would you speak to your Teenage Brother the same way you would speak to your Little cousin or Grandma?
Imagine saying to your Grandma or Little Cousin- ‘HAHAHAHA you haven’t got any Pubes’
You’d get a few stares to say the least. BUT it makes perfect sense if you say it to wind up your Teenage Brother.
Therefore, each customer is completely different… you need to speak to different customers in different ways. Ways that make sense to the specific customer. It’s definitely not one size fits all and I learned this through some dodgy looks when I told an elderly women it looked like she worked out… lol
Lesson SIX: Have More Than One Sales Pitch In Your Arsenal
One product: Trainers.
Three Customers: Grandma, The Teenager, The Little Cousin.
All three want the SAME product. But have different wants and needs.
First, Sizing- Grandma size 6, the Teenager (if he’s a growing lad) could be size 9, the Little Cousin size 4.
Second, Taste- fuck knows what the Old Granny would go for, them oversized trainers for Bingo, The Teenager would need something ‘cool’, the Little Cousin would want something with Power Rangers all over it.
Third, Wear-ability, Grandma would need trainers for Bingo and Reading Club, The Teenager would need trainers for ‘looking cool, fuck-mum-and-dad’ and the Little Cousin would need trainers for going BUCK on the swings in the play ground.
These customers all need the same product: trainers but have different wants and needs.
So, have an array of pitches in your sales arsenal.
I don’t give a fuck about your ‘target market’- that is not an excuse for having ONLY ONE sales pitch at your disposal.
You’re target market will be always be sliced up into different segments. So have sales pitches ready for each segment.
Here’s another example as Sales Director of Manilife. The same product i.e. peanut butter But our target market was split up. Different Customers. Different Needs. Different Pitches.
The Yummy Mummy– has money to spare, so the price point is not an issue, caring, usually comes with a friend, at food shows will be looking for scrumptious food.
Their needs wants and desires
Looking for a high-end premium product, doesn’t matter what the product is, they’ll always want PREMIUM. So that’s their needs and wants… They also like helping younger people, I don’t know specifically Why? but they do… so you can tailor this into your sales pitch.
The Sales Pitch
- Talk about the craftsmanship of the Manilife roast, unlike other peanut butters, we meticulously roast ours for a specific time, the recipe has been developed over 2 years, originating on a farm in Argentina, slowly but surely, our boss Stu (with passion and care) has tweaked and tweaked and re-tweaked the recipe- to create the most unique peanut butter on the market. This screams out premium, high-end product, love and care= Sale closed.
- The Yummy Mummy has spare time/money, so their wants and needs, whether they truly know it or not, would be to share some of their wealth by helping a start up ‘make it’. Giving them the story of Stu ditching the corporate route and taking a big risk, an all or nothing situation Playing the sympathy, start up needing money card= Sale Closed.
Specific wants and needs– a great tasting product, price could be more of an issue here, interested in food, this is more for the big food shows, the business 2 customer ones- they are there, obviously for food, they are looking for a banging product- that’s in their need, so satisfy it
The Sales pitch
- If they’re interested in food go with the uniqueness of Manilife peanut butter, the completely different texture and consistency.
- So go with something like this: ‘Our peanut butter, will truly satisfy YOUR peanut butter needs, we strive for a texture that is more like a salted gooey caramel as opposed to a Pate, which is the traditional texture of PB. Once we get this, we add in a specific amount of carefully selected, properly chunky nuts, so you have a contrast of textures going on as you eat the product. Food wants exciting product. Foodie gets exciting innovative product. Sale Closed.
- Talk about the use of the product, their needs and wants will be asking questions ‘what can I use this on etc.’- so say we put in on fruit, the creaminess of the peanut butter and its hard crunch, contrasts with the wetness and sweetness of an apple or banana- a healthy snack that also tastes incredible! – Personally, for savory dishes- my mum uses it for a great chicken satay, using soy sauce, chili and ginger, pouring it over chicken. Its an old dish, but since using Manilife, the texture has taken it to a new level – bringing in personal relations encourages for empathy boosts your pitch!
The Gym Bunny
Wants and Specific needs – a healthy product, HEALTH, HEALTH, HEALTH, something that is healthy and its benefits.
The Sales Pitch
- Eassssyyyy money, First, ask about what they do in the gym, you can spot them a mile away… gym clothes… running kit… trainers… ‘Ask how they train, what they train, gym, running, yoga etc.’ – by doing this your finding out their find their itch, now start scratching it
- Then talk about the Hi-Oelic fat profile (basically really healthy fats), its similar to olive oil- meaning when you train, you’ll actually be burning fat ( gym buynnies want to be burning fat- so satisfy it)
- Talk about the fiber content of peanut butter.. keeps you fuller for longer, be emphatic to their busy schedule- ‘Look working out and being healthy is stressful at times, a scoop of this on a banana and your set for the day, can be used as a breakfast or a pre work out, or mid afternoon snack. Time and staying healthy is hard, but gym bunnies want this. Your product can do that. Sale closed.
- I used this to sell to three runners in Putney… all in their gym kit, found out their specific type of fitness was running. So then I tailored it to that… You don’t want a heavy meal before a long run… so have this on a banana. that way your getting carbs from the banana… and protein and energy from the peanut butter- but more importantly it tastes good, meaning it is easy for you to stick to your diet.
Lesson SEVEN: TALK ABOUT COST, NOT ABOUT PRICE
‘That’s far too expensive’
‘Yes it’s a great product, I just can’t justify spending £5 on a jar of peanut butter’.
‘I love it, I just wish it was cheaper!’
My Orignal utterly shit response:
‘Yes I know its a great product and Yes I know its a high price, but I can’t change that- are you interested or not?’
By doing this I was immediately losing the sale, all because I didn’t know how to deal with circumnavigating the price. Reading Zig Zigglar’s ‘The Secret of Closing The Sale’
The best way to deal with PRICE CONCERNS, Talk about COST.
When people say the PRICE is TOO EXPENSIVE. Just talk about the COST.
I’d say Yes. The Price is expensive, but have you thought of the COST of not buying the peanut butter today.
Confused???? Yeh, I was at first. Customers usually always are… BUT this puts you in a great position to close the sale.
Talk about the COST of not buying the product… When I say COST… think of non-monetary things…
The cost is non-monetary things- the cost of buying a cheaper peanut butter- is less taste, less quality, less care and love gone into the jar.
The cost of buying a cheaper peanut butter- is the cost to your health as they are full of crap and packed with sugar.
The cost of buying a cheaper peanut butter is the dissatisfaction when you eat it, knowing that a better experience could be had elsewhere i.e. Manilife.
By talking about the cost… your creating a need within the customer. One that they didn’t even know they had. A need around their health, wealth and happiness. Talk about ‘Cost’. Create a need. Sell more. People will say ‘Great Product, but I can’t afford it today’
Your Call to Action (not going to spruce it up in a marketing veil of bullshit)
Share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram- the more people that see this
1. Hopefully they find it valuable
2. When people are spreading the word it feels pretty damn good.