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matrix vision newsletter
Selling Skills Issue
August, 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 8
In This Issue
SPIN Selling
Customer Objectives
Feedback for Salespeople and Sales Managers
Quick Links
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Story of the Month
The Sales Manager was excited when he called his sales team together.  He had just read that there was a strong correlation between the number of calls that salespeople made and the number of sales they made; - the fewer the calls the fewer the sales.  He had decided to get his team to make more calls to increase sales. 
"We need to make more sales calls!" he exhorted to his team, "I want you to make more calls today than you have ever made before!"
At the end of the day he checked on the number of calls his salespeople had made.  Some had increased the number of calls from the average of 6 to around 8 sales visits in the day.  A couple of his team had achieved more than 10 sales visits that day. 
However one of his salespeople reported that he had made 103 sales visits that day.  The Sales Manager was delighted.  His face beamed as he patted his salesperson on the back.
"That's nothing", the salesperson said, "I could have made more, but a couple of people asked me what I was selling."

Selling Quotes
"If nobody sells, a terrible thing happens.......nothing."
Author Unknown
"Internalise the Golden Rule of sales that says, 'All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust." 
Bob Berg
"Be clear - if you cannot identify any competitive advantages offered by your existing products or services, than you need to improve them so that you can.." 
Phil Stone

"I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed; and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying." 
Tom Hopkins

"If you want to sell your product to our company, be sure your product is accompanied by a plan, which will so help our business that we will be more anxious to buy than you are to sell."
Sign in a buyers office


Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for August.  This month's newsletter is focussed on what businesses and business owners need to be able to do to successfully grow - Sell their products or services to new and existing customers. 
The messages in this month's edition contain a few tools that can help us do this essential business task.
This newsletter presents some tips and tools on how to be better at selling.  We have articles including:
  • the "beam balance" selling model,
  • developing your Unique Selling Proposition,
  • the questionning techniques of SPIN Selling,
  • Understanding the objectives the customer is trying to achieve with your product or service and
  • multi-source feedback for salespeople and sales managers

Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!

If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us.  We would love to talk with you.
Selling, to me, is represented by a beam balance.  On one side of the beam balance is is a box with a large "P" representing price.  On the other side of the beam balance is a box with a large "V" representing value.

Beam Balance 1 

The reason why the "P" box is larger than the "V" box is that the customer's initial perception is that they cannot immediately see that the value of the product or service is equal to the price.
The easiest solution to redress the imbalance between the price and value boxes would be to make the price smaller.  However, that is not selling, but devaluing the product or service.

Beam Balance 2

Real selling is all about changing the perception of the customer about just how big the value box actually is.  This is done by helping the customer understand that the benefits they accrue in value is greater than the price they are paying.

Beam Balance 3

In order to build value you must first understand what the customer is trying to achieve and secondly be able to present the benefits of your products or services to meet those needs.
It also helps if you have and are able to articulate a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Unique Selling Proposition
A USP is defined as "The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition"
The USP very clearly answers the question, "Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?"

The USP may be used repetitively in your marketing literature to build the customer's or client's identification of your company with your product or service.
There are two major benefits in developing the USP. First, it clearly differentiates your business in the eyes of your current and potential customers or clients. Second, it focuses your team on delivering the promise of the USP, helping to improve your internal performance. 
If you would like to build the your selling skills or those of your team  CLICK HERE
SPIN Selling
SPIN SellingIn the early '80's I had the opportunity to attend the first presentation in Australia of a new concept in selling outlined in a book called SPIN Selling.  The presentation was given by the slight, bespectacled author of the book, Neil Rackham, who looked more like an accountant than a salesperson.  SPIN Selling was an eye opener.  The astounding thing for me is that the selling techniques outlined in the book were based on scientific studies of the differences between successful and unsuccessful sales calls.
The studies found there were a lot more questions in successful calls (those leading to orders and advances) than in unsuccessful calls (which led to continuations or no-sales).

What had emerged from watching sales calls is that successful people have a distinct pattern in the questions they ask.  Essentially they followed a model that can be captured in the acronym SPIN:
  • Situation Questions.  At the start of the call, successful people tend to ask data-gathering questions about facts and background. Typical situation questions would be "How long have you had your equipment?" or "Could you tell me about your company's growth plans?" While those questions have an important fact-finding role, you must be careful not to overuse them, because too many can bore or irritate the buyer.
  • Problem Questions.  Once sufficient information has been established about the buyer's situation, successful people move to a second type of question. They ask, for example, "Is this operation difficult to perform?" or "Are you worried about the quality you get from your old machine?" Problem questions like these explore difficulties and dissatisfactions in areas where the seller's product can help. Inexperienced people generally don't ask enough problem questions.
  • Implication Questions.  In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good situation and problem questions. In larger sales, they need to make a more complex and sophisticated query - an implication question. Typical examples would be "How will this problem affect your future profitability?" or "What effect does this reject rate have on customer satisfaction?" Implication questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences.  By asking an implication question, you help the customer understand the problem's seriousness or urgency. These questions are particularly important in large sales, but even very experienced salespeople rarely ask them well.
  • Need-Payoff Questions.  Finally, the research found that very successful salespeople ask a need-payoff question. Examples would be "Would it be useful to speed this operation by 10%?" or "If we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?" These questions get the customers to tell you the benefits your solution could offer. In effect, the customers are selling themselves on your solution. The studies often found that top performers ask more than 10 times as many need-payoff questions per call as average performers do.

    Closing Techniques

    • Instead of finding a positive link between asking closing questions and gaining the sale, the research kept finding an association between closing and lost sales. 

    • In fact the findings indicated that closing techniques may increase the chances of making a sale with low priced products.  However with more expensive products or services, they reduce the chances of making a sale.

    • It becomes quite clear that successful salespeople spent more time in the SPIN questionning building client awareness of the problems, implications and need pay-off so that there was no need to try manipulative closing techniques.

    We can help you apply these techniques in your sales.  Give us a call. CONTACT US
Customer Objectives
Customer Objectives
It is useful to think about what customers might want to achieve through the purchase of your product or service.  It doesn't matter who your customers are, their objectives usually fall into the broad categories listed below:
Objective Categories 
  • Finances: Your customers are interested in conserving and enhancing their own or their organisation's financial well-being. 
  • Operations: Your customers want their operations to run smoothly; they want to reduce disruptions and to streamline administrative or personal procedures. 
  • Management: Typically, your customers want to be able to manage their business more effectively and efficiently.
  • Growth and Change: Your customers want to be able to cope with an uncertain future, changes in their marketplace, growing work loads, and rapid technological advances.
  • Service to Others: Your customers are looking for ways to improve the services they provide to other people or organisations. 
  • Personnel: Your customers are interested in keeping and developing their employees.
As you will see, these categories can be used to identify and organise a general set of typical customer objectives, and to provide a context for tailoring these objectives for your customers and your products.
Typical Objectives

Within each of the broad objective categories, there are a number of typical objectives which your customers may have. It is important to become familiar with the range of objectives within each category, so that you will be able to recognise specific objectives in a given customer situation. The typical objectives within each category are as follows:


Part of a customer oriented selling process involves learning to identify which of these objectives your customer is expressing when he or she is discussing plans, problems, needs, or desires.
Of course, following on from uncovering which objectives your customer is trying to achieve is being able to present the benefits of how what you offer can contribute to the customer achieving their objectives.

We can help you apply these techniques in your sales.  Give us a call.  CONTACT US

Feedback for Salespeople and Sales Managers
20/20 Logo 
Matrix Vision is a value added reseller and a user of the most powerful and versatile feedback software tool available today.
People need an efficient, confidential and anonymous vehicle for giving feedback to each other. State-of-the-art software can simplify the process of collecting multi-source (360) feedback for anyone in your organisation.
20/20 Insight GOLD is the world's most versatile feedback tool. With this system, we can set up surveys to collect virtually any type of feedback-ideas, opinions, impressions, ratings - from any number of people about the performance of an individual, a team or even your organisation as a whole.organisation.
Feedback for Salespeople and Sales Managers
The most immediate feedback for salespeople is the number of sales that they make. 
However in order to increase the number of sales the salesperson must know in which areas they need to improve.  To develop a better understanding of what they are doing well and where they need to improve, successful salespeople seek feedback from a number of sources including their manager, their peers, suppliers and of course their customers.
We have a 61 item feedback survey designed to help a salesperson plan their development.  The questions are in the following categories:
  • Sales Planning
  • Sales Administration
  • Building Customer Relationships
  • Determining Customer Needs
  • Creating Customer Solutions
  • Presenting Customer Solutions
  • Facilitating Sales Agreement
  • Managing Sales Accounts
  • Building Internal Company Relationships
  • Increasing Sales Effectiveness
For Sales Managers we have a 65 item feedback survey built around the behaviours that successful Sales Managers exhibit in the following categories:
  • Coaching
  • Delegation
  • Profit Mentality
  • Initiative
  • Answering Objections
  • Customer Relations
  • Account Penetration
  • Practical Intelligence
  • Analytic Ability
  • Teamwork
  • Political Acumen
  • Visioning
  • Communicating

We can work with you to develop the the feedback survey that suits your needs using our survey items or your own or a combination.
To learn more about the power of 20/20 Insight Gold click on the image.

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To talk with us about how you can use feedback to help improve sales, please  contact us 

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In September the theme of the newsletter will be "Interviewing".
All the Best,
Barry Signature
Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited