Improve Sales by Answering One Question

By Shannon Sage

Improve Sales by Answering One Question

Editor’s Note: Given the national focus on jump-starting the U.S. economy, the OnStrategy Team wanted to bring you expert advice to achieve the strategic goal of increased revenue generation through actionable sales strategies. We hope you enjoy today’s StrategyCheck that takes a less conventional approach to sales.

Sales Management Expert Alice Heiman, our guest speaker during our next Strategy Huddle, is often asked “What’s the number one thing that will increase sales?” While she has heard diverse answers, her opinion is the number one thing that must come before all the others is that you have to believe you can increase sales. And in order to believe that, you have to believe that what you are selling has value and that people need it because it will make a difference and have a significant impact on what they are trying to accomplish.

In her experience, it explains why in small to mid-sized businesses or a start up the owner or founders out sell their sales team. Of course they do, they have incredible passion and refuse to fail. If they are still outselling their sales team maybe they have failed to engage them fully in their mission, or to help them understand why they started the business and why it matters. Their salespeople are out selling what the company does and how they do it, instead of why. This requires passion. The business owner or executive needs to be an inspiring leader to instill this in the salespeople. If the salespeople love what they do and believe fully in the company and its products, the sales will follow. Of course they need training and coaching, but all the training and coaching in the world won’t help salespeople exceed quota if they don’t believe. Alice highly recommends Start With Why by Simon Sinek to help understand why getting to the “why” is so important.

Think of it this way—the selling doesn’t start until you suspect a need. How would you come to suspect a need? By getting to know the person. By asking questions and listening. Once they say they are interested, you can start learning more and educating them. Instead of telling them the features and benefits of your product and trying to differentiate your product from others, what if you helped them understand why your company does what it does, why you love your job and why you believe in your offerings. You would be getting them excited and engaged. Here’s an example:

How: I sell sales training, coaching and consulting.

What: I help companies increase sales.

Why: I believe that every company can have all the sales they need.

The last statement is more engaging. It’s emotional. Every business owner and salesperson I know wants to have all the sales they need. Think about how you can help your customers and prospects understand your “why.”

Connect the Dots Between Sales & Strategy

Watch a recorded video of the latest Strategy Huddle (June 22nd, 2011) where Alice offers key expert advice – Sales Strategy & How it fits into your Strategic Plan.


Why does your organization exist? How does that differentiate you from competitors?

Shannon Sage



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