At his ASI Dallas Sales Bootcamp session yesterday, Education Day speaker Ron Marks told attendees not to follow the Golden Rule, but rather the Platinum Rule to boost sales. “Don’t treat people the way you want to be treated,” he said. “Treat them the way they want to be treated.”
Marks’ advice was part of a lengthy list of strategies the consultant offered up to his audience. At the core of his message, though, were three fundamentals that he believes every good salesperson must master. “You need the right attitude, the proper skill sets and a high level of commitment,” he said. “You also must avoid the tendency to just present products and show catalogs.”
Marks stressed that the best salespeople are able to move customers away from focusing solely on price. The key, he said, is to truly get to know customers and be able to relate to them. He used the story of a trip he once took to Montreal to illustrate his point. At the beginning of his trip, Marks got in a cab and said bonjour to the driver, who then immediately started rapidly speaking in French. Marks abruptly stopped him and said he only spoke English, which annoyed the driver.
Later that week, Marks got in another cab and said bonjour. But this time when the driver began speaking the local dialect, Marks said in the drivers’ native language that he didn’t speak much French. “The driver was very friendly and it was a great ride,” Marks said. “The difference is I made the effort to relate.” Similarly, Marks thinks salespeople should be fact-finders and researchers who connect more easily with clients, rather than following one traditional selling script. “You really need to develop multiple strategies,” he added.
A few of Marks’ other tips: Send handwritten notes to prospects because they stand out in a digital world. Expand your personal network by reaching out to people who sell to the same types of buyers you do, but who aren’t your competitors (like a loan officer’s relationship to a realtor). And, be as specific as possible when asking for referrals. “Ask who they went to school with, who they work with and who they’ve talked to lately who’s frustrated with their current service providers,” Marks said. “When someone pulls up the contacts list on their phone, ask them who above you and below you on the list you should be talking to.”