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The new sales model: solving, serving, helping

Relationships are the Key to Success
Relationships are the Key to Success
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As you read this article, you may think - of course that's common sense.  Very true, but common sense is not always common practice.  We are all in sales. In fact, if you are in business for yourself, your success and the growth of your business or practice will be in direct proportion to how good and how comfortable you are at promoting yourself, your product or service and your company. But fundamentally, you’re selling yourself. By and large people want to have a relationship with someone they like, respect and trust. The key is to replace selling with helping, sharing and solving and looking to create a win-win with your customers. How does this New Model of Selling contrast with the old way of selling? 

The old selling model was as follows:
10% of the time was spent on building rapport
20% on qualifying
30% on presenting
40% on closing

When you think about that way of selling, the first thought that comes to mind is having a pushy salesperson who is trying to get you to buy something. And no one likes the experience of being sold to. The old model was based on the premise that you, as a salesperson, needed to outsmart your potential customer and sell hard in order to get them to buy. It was almost like a tug of war.

In contrast, have you ever watched individuals speak and found yourself listening to every word they said? You felt yourself being drawn in. It happened because they were being genuine, real and authentic. Authenticity plays a huge role in the new model.

In the new model of selling:
40% of the time is spent on building trust
30% on identifying needs
20% on presenting by matching your product or service to the specific needs
10% on the close

The focus is on the Human Element. And the Human element is often the missing link in the more traditional sales process. The most successful sales people, business owners or solo-preneurs are in fact great relationship experts. So your objective is to get the focus off of yourself and focus a whole heartedly on the other person. Always concentrate on building and maintaining a high level of trust. That is true whether you are selling online or offline. Nothing is more annoying than having someone constantly popping into your Twitter or Facebook feeds with a sales message when they haven’t even taken the time to establish a rapport with you.

So let’s take a moment to look at each phase of the new model.

Phase 1: Building TRUST

Here is what matters. Your customers want to build a relationship first. The relationship is way more important than your product or service. You should assume that your customers could buy something similar at a comparable price from someone else. But, the one and only thing, they cannot get by buying from one of your competitors is YOU. YOU are the biggest differentiator. You have to make the most of it. You have to find ways to differentiate yourself from the sea of competitors.

Two of the best ways to differentiate yourself are to concentrate on the relationship not the sale, and to remember that people buy feelings. They buy from people that make them feel good and valued.  Trust is a critical factor in building any relationship, and the quality of a relationship is in direct proportion to the level of trust that exists between you and the other person.

One of the best ways to build rapport and trust is by telling your story. You might have heard that sentence before:  facts tell, stories sell. Your story makes you unique and it will make the communication between you and your customer way more interesting and personal, and as a result, they'll want to hear more. And the more that they want to hear; the more they are likely to buy from you.

Phase 2: Needs Identification

Phase 1 is all about building trust, and the best way to develop trust is to focus on the customer needs. And you do that by asking questions and by intently listening to the answers. In other words, you make the conversation about them not about you. And when you do that, an interesting phenomenon happens, the prospective customer starts to make a mental shift and they start to help you help them justify the purchase. Remember people buy what they want and then they justify the purchase by convincing themselves that they needed it in the first place.

So in essence, you could get to the 70% mark by developing genuine rapport and by focusing on the prospective customer needs before you even get to talk to them about your product or service.

Phase 3: The Presentation.

You will not present your entire arsenal. You will only present the product(s) or service(s) that match the needs that have been identified in phase 2. You will focus solely on meeting the person’s hot buttons. You will show them how you will overwhelmingly address their needs by buying your product or service. Focus on meeting no more than 3 of their most important needs. Focus on the need to have versus the nice to have.

The last phase is The Close.

While you will still need to ask for the order, by using this new way of selling, asking for the order will feel like a normal progression, more like a conversation, and not something you will have to wrestle with as much. And you may ask for the order by saying something like: When would you like to get started? Which options would suit your needs the best? When would you need it by? We refer to this method as a soft close or a trial close.

So in summary, the new way of selling is all about building trust, identifying needs, showing your customer how your product or service will help them improve their life and please don’t forget the after sale service - customer service is often overlooked. You will build a more successful business with more ease and fun, and in a much shorter period of time, if you get a lot of repeat business and referrals --- and the one way to ensure you get repeat business and referrals is by delighting your customers after the sale is over. So follow up and follow through.  Following up reinforces that they matter “as a person” first and as a customer second.

To effective selling -  online and offline!



  • Susan Williams 5 years ago

    This is SO true, i am tired of spammers on my social networks especially twitter, sales today is all about relationships both online and off. thanks for the great tips!

  • Cindy Ratzlaff | Brand New Brand You 5 years ago

    Great insights here Francine. I can't wait to share this with my network.

  • Cherry Woodburn 5 years ago

    Hi Francine,
    Informative, well laid out article. The line that I particularly liked was "..but common sense is not always common practice." So very, very true. Thanks.

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