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Technology > Marketing Technology

Avoid the negative

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Top Ten Selling

The very best salespeople avoid the negative. They look for the positive aspects of everything in life. More importantly, if they can’t see the obvious positive aspects in a bad situation, they will hunt for them. These are the people who make us all feel better when things look bad. These are the people who say, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining.” Of course, there are always those people who will then tell you about the 78 people killed by lightning in Florida last year while looking for that silver lining.

The very best salespeople are firm believers that they create their own success. They tell us that they focus on the positive aspects of their company’s products but that sometimes they have to hunt for them.

Sally, a highly successful, 20-year veteran sales representative, told me a story about when she first started in sales. She worked for a large telecommunications company and was responsible for selling telephone systems to medium-sized medical offices. The primary product she sold was a very popular mid-tier telephone system. This system had been a best seller for a number of years, but recently was losing steam in the marketplace. There were many new competitive products emerging that were completely software-based, and almost all of them were cheaper than the one she sold.

Although the product had been upgraded and did incorporate a new software operating system, it still used some older technology. It was termed a “hybrid” product, meaning it was a viable product that made use of new software technology but still incorporated some older technology. This was a nice way of saying, “This is an older product but a good one, and it’s highly profitable so keep selling it.”

Sally hated to lose a sale. She lost one when she proposed a new telephone system to a blood bank and was up against two competitors with systems that were entirely software-based. Her price was slightly higher and her competitors’ technology wasn’t “hybrid.”

She lost the sale – and she had even given blood!

Sally decided to find out what was good about her product. She visited one of the senior design engineers at the manufacturing plant and asked him to tell her about the product.

“It’s easily expandable,” the engineer told her. “It has a very, very powerful processor inside. Running at full capacity and doing self-diagnostics, it’s only running at about 60 percent. It still has a lot of excess processing capacity.”
Sally learned the system could be expanded to be twice its size with twice the number of telephone extensions connected to it without having to change out anything.

Sally sold a lot of these “hybrid” systems based on what she learned that day. In all of the initial meetings with customers after that, she would ask if they expected to grow, and as you would expect, almost all of them said yes. She would explain that her system was comprised of new, state-of-the-art software and time-tested architecture that was proven to be the most reliable.


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