• September 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: Selling What No One Wants to Buy

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Some merchandise just doesn't move, and in his new book, The Coldest Call: Why Some Good Products Don't Sell, author Gerry Cullen explains why--and why it might not be your fault. This former vice president of marketing defines four barriers preventing sellers from selling--and customers from buying--and helps salespeople determine if the companies they work for have any barriers to sales. CRM magazine:
What are some of the biggest reasons that products don't sell despite the best efforts of a sales force? Cullen: Many times the pricing and/or service plan is so complex, God couldn't figure it out. [Or] the problem the product solves is indecipherable. A salesperson needs to tell the customer the value right off the bat, but [not being able to isn't] always the salesperson's fault. I was in a call center listening to an outbound sales call. The salesman says, "This product is a new paradigm for Web enablement." What does that mean? When I asked him what the product really does, and why he just doesn't tell that to the customer, he said he needed to follow the script. The company ended up getting nowhere with a brilliant product. It's a perfect example of management putting up barriers in terms of the corporate organization and culture because executives are out of touch with the sales process. CRM magazine: How can CRM systems help salespeople to sell their products more effectively? Cullen: If you're a salesperson and you go into a company that doesn't have CRM, walk out--that company is in the dark ages. In today's Web-oriented world, there is information everywhere. The consumer has the power. You can't just make cold calls anymore. You need to know that somebody from service just had a bad interaction with a customer you're about to call, because that means you just went from being a salesperson to a CSR. It's this sort of data [that] salespeople need in order to sell effectively. Cold calling is a thing of the past. CRM magazine: What's most interesting about your book? Cullen: I provide a series of checklists that salespeople can use while interacting with a customer to help sell a product or service, and to determine if their company has built-in barriers to selling successfully. I also spend a lot of time talking about the impact that corporate culture and executives can have on a sales force, and how they can create barriers to successful selling. Other Page-Turners:
  • From J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie to the top innovators at Wal-Mart and Yahoo!, countless business leaders have implemented the principles of Woo, the skill of relationship-based persuasion. Using an accessible, four-step process and real-world examples, authors Richard Shell and Mario Moussa show readers in their new book, The Art of Woo, how they, too, can quickly and accurately assess a situation, identify five possible barriers to persuasion, make a memorable pitch, and secure concrete commitments.
  • Everyone wants the best deal possible. Sales calls are often much more than a straight sales pitch, and can quickly turn into a negotiation between the parties involved. In Red-Hot Sales Negotiation: Everything You Need to Know to Close Deals, Build Relationships, and Create Win-Win Outcomes, authors Paul Goldner and Peter McKeon give sales professionals practical tips and strategies that will enable them to consistently find "win-win" solutions while simultaneously maintaining relationships that will lead to future sales.
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