Required Reading: Rethinking the ABCs of Selling
Stacey Hall has coached thousands of entrepreneurs on how to attract sales, satisfaction, and success. She has found that many of the long-standing sales tactics are outdated, making both sales reps and their prospects uncomfortable. In her new book Selling from Your Comfort Zone: The Power of Alignment Marketing, she offers an alternative. CRM editor Leonard Klie recently had a chance to discuss this new sales methodology with her in more detail.
CRM: You say the old “Always Be Closing” (ABC) mentality needs to disappear. What’s wrong with it?
Hall: For decades, sales trainers have been teaching methods that rely primarily on being pushy, learning scripts to overcome objections, doing everything to lead the conversation to the close, and controlling conversations.
For many people, this idea of controlling a conversation means controlling another person, which produces feelings of anxiety and decreases the likelihood of the person making the sale.
You also say it’s critical for salespeople to ditch the script. What’s wrong with scripts?
Most salespeople learn the scripts their company provides. They repeat those scripts as if they are robots spitting out facts without emotion. They are discouraged from adding anything personal into the script to ensure that all the information is conveyed exactly as the company wants it to be conveyed. And the scripts are written to ensure they are prepared to deal with objections.
Salespeople who are trained in this way are not trained to truly listen, show empathy, explore where they are aligned with prospects, and focus on building trust first before offering something for sale.
You say sales today is more about believing in the product, being able to authentically engage with customers, and solving problems. How can companies encourage their salespeople to adopt those roles?
Sales managers and trainers must first teach their sales teams to remember that people don’t buy based on facts. They buy based on how they feel and back up their decisions with facts. It’s that simple.
And the feeling prospects want before they buy is empathy, which comes from a sense of alignment and mutual understanding with the salesperson. It is essential for salespeople to be in alignment with the products or services they are selling and the people who will want to buy those products or services.
You advocate for a new sales framework called the Alignment Marketing Formula (Alignment + Belief x Consistency). Can you explain this?
This sales training formula is more appealing than traditional sales strategies for the following reasons:
- It’s a paradigm-shifting approach away from pushy sales tactics that are outside of salespeople’s natural comfort zones.
- It encourages staying within and expanding one’s comfort zone by being in alignment with one’s calling.
- It teaches how to bring meaning to their jobs by solving problems as the first step in building relationships with prospects.
The Alignment Marketing Formula makes it possible for every sales manager to help every sales representative do the following:
- Identify their unique strengths and purpose for representing the products and/or services they sell.
- Craft personal brand missions custom-fit for who they are and who they want to serve rather than attempting to fit into a mission and audience they’ve been told they should have.
- Know their ideal audiences, including their problems and how they can craft solutions to solve those problems.
- Locate where to meet people who match their ideal audience profiles through social media or in person.
- Create engagement quickly with ideal prospects.
- Transition the connection through the Know, Like, and Trust stages to a sale and then a long-term profitable relationship.
What kinds of results can companies expect with this new formula?
In my experience training sales representative of both genders in the Alignment Marketing Formula, the result has been the following:
- more sales resulting from stronger and more satisfying relationships with prospects who become customers;
- greater job satisfaction;
- increased self-directed motivation; and
- longer commitment to the same company and the company’s mission.
The Alignment Marketing Formula addresses the salesperson’s needs as well as the company’s goals.
What is the message you want readers to take away from this book?
The Alignment Marketing Formula is a simple-to-implement, personalized, and satisfying approach to building connections and collaborating with prospects, which produces more sales, greater satisfaction, and the achievement of goals.