Science tells us that water boils at 212 degrees farenheit. This is not an opinion. The boiling point doesn’t change depending on the day of the week or the economy.
Your political persuasion does not affect the exact time that water boils, nor does the price of gas on any particular day. Water boils as expected: 212 degrees. 211 degrees… no boiling. At 212 degrees you can watch the bubbles begin.
Art, on the other hand, shows us details and then allows us to interpret it as we see it. The exact same picture can be interpreted hundreds of ways, depending on hundreds of different variables. With art there are no set answers. There is not one interpretation.
Sales is more of an art than a science.
Therefore, I unequivocally feel that sales is more art than science.
And as “artists” we must continue to practice our trade, if we are to expect people to stop and look at our work.
Here are seven areas in which I feel daily practice is warranted, if you are to become an “artist” in your craft:
Planning. The truth is that the plan itself seldom is executed as designed. The truth also is that the “act of planning” will prove to be instrumental in launching you to the front of the pact. Make it a habit to plan.
Asking Questions. Most sales “professionals” feel that they need to have all the answers when speaking with prospects. Nothing could be further from the truth. The salesperson who asks the most meaningful and logical questions will be positioned as the person to work with. In a business as vast as the travel business, you will never have a grasp of all there is to know. Ask. Listen. Interpret. Respond. Ask some more.
Bringing Value. Always be thinking about how you can add to the relationship. A worn-out phrase I have been using for the past 35 years is, “What are you bringing to the party?”
After you deliver the service that is expected, then surprise your client by adding to their delight with a tad more value. Lagniappe is a term that means “an unexpected bonus.” Think long and hard how you can introduce a little lagniappe into your client’s world.
Presenting. Another word for presenting is communicating. And that is exactly what you are—a professional communicator. But like all professional skills, this one does not come without due diligence, study, and a great deal of practice.
Presentation skills include body language, tone of voice, choice of words, posture, inflection, use of pauses, eye-contact, storytelling and more. As you can see, perfection in these skills will take some focused time and attention. Begin today.
Objections. Historically, “overcoming objections” was an important chapter in every sales book. Personally, I feel that most people have outgrown the need to be “overcome.” To me, this has become an insulting term and should be avoided at all costs. Stop overcoming objections.
Prospects have and are entitled to have “concerns.” And these concerns need to be addressed in a professional, matter-of-fact dialogue. Don’t “overcome” objections. Deal with logical and timely concerns. Talk to your prospects. Present your point of view.
Closing. This is another outdated sales term. Nobody I know enjoys or looks forward to being “closed.” What potential buyers do need is sincere support, meaningful motivation, and logical proof of what is being offered.
The combination of these traits will ensure that their current needs make sense, and that your solution is the logical choice. Don’t close sales. Assist with a positive buying decision.
Follow Up. Without a doubt, this is the number one shortcoming of all professional salespeople. When asked why, the most often uttered response is “time.” Very few people seem to have the time to do things right, but they all manage to find the time to do things over. If you want to distance yourself from the competition, do what you say you are going to do and then follow up over, and over again.
In my mind, selling is a lot closer to being an art rather than a science. Artists work their trade during all waking hours. If you practice the above seven skills on a regular basis, you will soon find that your “artistry” will begin to pay huge dividends.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** You want more to think about? Check out my weekly podcast (Mike’d Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.