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The sales playbook The sales playbook
by Joseph Gatt
2020-08-09 10:44:07
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You're a company or an individual. You have a product or a service that you want to sell.

Sales are simple. There are basically four “dynamics” when it comes to sales. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

The four dynamics are:

-You go to the client

-The client comes to you

-You hint that the client should come to you

-The client hints that you should go to them.

Let's break these down.

You go to the client

sal001_400For some products or services, the client expects you to come to them. A good example would be the good old “encyclopedias” in the good old days. Anything involving door-to-door sales is another example.

Other examples mostly involve B to B (business to business) transactions, where a factory producing furniture or soda or shoes or canned tuna or whatever will go around offering supermarkets or specialized stores or wholesales stores.

The tactic is also used in the black market, where you have people coming up to you in the streets and offering bootlegged jewelry or cigarettes or liquor or counterfeit handbags, or in the “love industry” of course.

There is no correct way to go about door-to-door sales. Each salesman has their own bag of tricks. One famous trick encyclopedia salesmen used in the 1970s (this is an old friend who told me this story) was young Jewish students who would go to districts where a lot of Jews lived, identify the Mezzouzah on the door, and introduce themselves by saying that they had just lost their father in the 6 Day War (or the Kippur war) and that they had to sell encyclopedias to help their mothers and siblings. Worked about half the time.

But it's not just encyclopedias that are sold door-to-door. You have TV Cable subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions, detergent, and other products being sold.

As for B to B sales, anything goes from pharmaceutical companies trying to sell products to hospitals to mineral water factories trying to sell their product to wholesales or supermarkets.

This type of sales is usually about meeting the right person at the right time. That is, they must “need” your product, and they must also feel comfortable around you.

Two reasons the client won't purchase the product:

-They don't need the product. Some salesmen try to use hard-sales tactics, such as by using threats or seduction or a mixture of both. But experienced clients usually don't give into threats or seduction.

-They don't feel comfortable around the salesman. They might need your product, but something about your presence makes them feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, often it is a mixture of “race” and “class” factors that make the client uncomfortable. Most clients are uncomfortable around people from ethnic minorities, or salesman who seem to be from a “lower class” or a “higher class.” Some men are also uncomfortable buying anything from women, when often times women are not uncomfortable purchasing stuff from men.

Sometimes it's just a mismatch between the product and the salesman. If a man tries to sell cosmetics, he could have trouble selling that. If a woman tries to sell SUVs or screw drivers or lawn mowers, she could have trouble selling those.

The client comes to you

Let me start with this. A lot of people in business have the kind of product where they should really go fetch the client, but they wait for the client to come get them. That is I've seen a ton of factories where the CEO and his team of salesmen just sit there on their desks waiting for clients to come.

Usually, the client comes to you when your product or service is rare and not readily available. Examples could be real estate agencies, lawyers, doctors etc.

Or of course clients go to distribution centers and retailers where they find all kinds of products and pick the products they need. Or clients go to places where a service is provided such as restaurants or gyms or pubs or cafés or shopping malls.

Over the years research has been done, and this thing called the “transformation rate” has sprung up. The “transformation rate” basically means how many clients came to the shop, and what percentage ended up making the purchase. Some stores, especially retailers, are obsessed with trying to come up with tactics where 100% or almost 100% of those who come in end up making a purchase.

Clients don't make the purchase for two reasons:

-They don't find what they need. Maybe they came looking for something so specific (a sandwich or a few cans of beer) and if that specific product is not available they leave. A lot of stores try hard to convince those clients who don't find what they need to purchase something else they might need.

Let's take an example we can all relate to. YouTube is a form of business where the client visits. YouTube over the years has been working hard on finding algorithms where visitors can find what they need, and keep getting suggestions for other videos they might want to watch. That way, if you intended to stay on YouTube for 3 minutes, you end up spending two hours or more. Been there, done that.

-The client does not purchase anything if something they see makes them uncomfortable. Could be hygiene that makes them uncomfortable, could be store clerks, could be the way products are displayed, could be the salesman that makes them uncomfortable. This is why many stores constantly test what level of hygiene, product display, and salesman behavior would make clients feel comfortable.

You hint that the client should come to you

That's what advertising is.

There are many forms of advertising, including billboard advertising, advertising in the media (including on the Internet), advertising in events, sponsoring events, sponsoring famous people, and using all kinds of word of mouth tactics such as sending sales representatives on covert operations to forums, conferences, Churches, other events where they will chitchat about the product or about the company or service.

The client hints that you should go to them

In Business to business or Government to business transactions, sometimes the client (another business or the government) will hint that you should go to them.

That is, because of all the fair-trade rules and “open applications” and “competitive tenders” and so on; sometimes businesses or the government will have someone in mind, but will publish the advertisement in public, and expect the target business to show up.

Now this is where you recognize smart businesses and stupid businesses. Let me illustrate this with a real, semi-fictional example.

In 2007, a university wanted to hire me and three of my friends for a teaching position. I didn't check the website where the ad was posted, nor did another friend of mine. But two of other friends did.

Now because those two friends who noticed the ad and noticed they were a perfect match for the ad, they applied, but didn't inform me and my other friend.

Problem was: those two morons who applied did not realize the ad had been specifically tailored for the four of us. The university was mad when they found out I knew nothing about the ad, and ditched all four of us.

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