The best salespeople do not sell. They help people to buy and have built a culture of values and behavior around this goal.
“Selling is not the action; buying is,” says international sales expert John Waid, author of the book “Reinventing Ralph: A Little Story For Salespeople About Culture-Driven Selling” (2018, Indie Books International). “The day of process-laden selling models has run its course. Great selling is about great habits, and the process models do not do this requirement justice.”
In his compelling novella “Reinventing Ralph,” Waid introduces readers to Ralph, a salesman in his 30s who has come upon some difficult times at work and home. Ralph discovers three transcendent values that help him become a winning, culture-driven salesperson.
Waid has 30 years of sales and sales leadership experience in Fortune 500 companies and 12 years of senior consulting experience in the learning and development field.
The culture-driven selling theme of Waid’s books and speeches is in line with the management guru Peter Drucker quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture is a combination of values, mindsets and behaviors that become habits in the greatest enterprises.
“Think of companies like Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, Zappos and others as culture-driven selling companies and see how they combine being great with people and business,” says Waid. “No matter at what level you are in sales, you can never underestimate the power of simplicity and a mentor who understands you.”
Here are his top 10 tips for culture-driven selling:
1. Think Purpose. Have a purpose other than money for selling. For example: “I believe in helping people be better/have better lives/live longer and healthier lives.”
2. Prepare in Writing. Written preparation is 90% of success.
3. Ask Open Questions. If you start with the words – who, what, where, when, why and how – you are asking an open question.
4. Monopolize the Listening. Listen twice as much as you speak.
5. Handle Objections Gracefully. Handle objections by staying silent, repeating the exact words of the other person and asking a counter-question that calms and seeks to understand.
6. Think Relationship First. Build the relationship by mirroring behavior, tone and volume. Learn to match the personality of the other person for better outcomes.
7. Quit Talking. Stay silent when needed, especially when the other person is signing a contract or they have agreed to buy.
8. Be Likable. People buy from people they like, respect and who deliver what they say they will deliver. Then they repeat the buying.
9. Invest in Sales Culture. Remember that values and behaviors of a sales culture are much more powerful than just sales processes or strategies.
10. Memorize CAP. Curiosity, accountability and people skills are three powerful values in selling. Memorize CAP, and fill in the best practice behaviors from the list above and your own experience.
Waid earned his M.B.A. in international business and is fluent in three languages, which has allowed him to work in Europe, North, Central and South America. He started his own firm, C3—Corporate Culture Consulting, to work with leaders and their companies on their cultures.
“My mom taught me about people skills and my dad about business,” says Waid. “This combination, it turns out, is very powerful. I have discovered that the best leaders and companies have found a way to focus on people and business. As I worked for several large companies, I found that the most enjoyable experiences were in places where they cared about the people and also achieved great results. It wasn’t an either/or experience. This led me to focus on corporate culture for its power of caring about people and results.”