Two Critical Rules for Sales Success

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When my son was 6, he came to me and said, "Dad, how do you spell 'SALE'?"  Without really thinking about it, I spelled it out for him, and he diligently scrawled it out in HUGE letters on a piece of poster board.  He then ran outside with the sign under his arm and a big smile on his face.

I looked out the window an hour later, only to realize that he had hauled everything out of our garage and set up an impromptu yard sale.  After trolling the neighborhood to recover my sports equipment and a few holiday decorations that he had sold off, I had to commend my son for his entrepreneurial spirit.  And I realized that he had followed one of the primary laws of Sales success:  SELL WHAT YOU'VE GOT.

Too often, we see companies pump thousands of dollars into developing a product (or line of products), only to let the product languish after the first season of marketing.  They move on to the "next big thing", and forget about the stockpile of inventory they've built.  Worse yet, they could be missing out on opportunities to monetize their investment by supporting the product through promotion or marketing.  So sell what you've got – it takes discipline, but you'll maximize your margins and simplify your life.

The second key is "GET WHAT YOU SELL".   
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By this, I mean understand what it is you sell, and why people buy from you.  I love asking people what they sell, and hearing answers that range from boring to outright ridiculous.  "Uh, I sell games."  Own a game company?  You don't sell games.  You sell a tool for parents to connect with their kids, a way for your retailer to make margins, a vehicle for creating consumer demand in stores, a tie-in to a licensed promotion, etc.  Why is it that Retailer X writes you a purchase order, receives in your goods, and cuts you a check?  Maybe it's because of your shining personality.  Maybe it's your location – lead times and freight rates are critical.  Maybe your product ties in to a larger merchandising plan.  Who knows.

The key is that you know why people buy from you, so that you can sell others who have a similar need.  Or, so that you can sell more of what they're buying to your existing accounts.

How do you figure out what your customers are really buying from you?  Ask.  Sit down with your best customers and ask specifically why they buy from you.  Then you'll know what it is you really sell.

So SELL WHAT YOU'VE GOT, and GET WHAT YOU SELL.  It's how the most successful businesses make money.

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