Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 Questions with Dave Kahle, author of How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime


What aspect of selling do you feel is overlooked and therefore sometimes the cause of bad selling technique?

Step number six of the sales process: Follow up and leverage satisfaction.  Too many people think the sale is the end of the effort, when in many cases it can be the beginning of a relationship that results in multiple transactions.  The call made on the customer after he has purchased and used your product cements the relationship, shows you care, and leads to other opportunities.

How important is to believe in your product and/or completely?

Relatively unimportant.  I know that’s a departure from the conventional wisdom.  I sold expensive men’s suits for a long time, as I worked my way through college.  I always thought it was a bit arrogant and self-important to spend that much for a suit.  I never bought one myself.  That didn’t stop me from selling them, though.  Your opinion is secondary to what the customer wants.  .  It is far more important that you understand the customer and his/her interests than you believe in the product. 

We receive a lot of questions about selling advertising space online, do you have any tips on how people can improve their sales in that area?

Adhere to the process I articulate in the book.  Do each step well.  There is no quick, easy, simple “secret” for selling anything.  Instead there is intentional, disciplined adherence to a process. Think deeply about each step.  Prepare thoroughly.  Practice.  Implement with excellence.  Success in sales is a result of thinking about it before you do it, and then doing it with excellence. . 

What aspect of this book was the most fun to write about?

The last few chapters on turning your sales efforts into a system.  I’m a systems thinker, and much of my work as a consultant has to do with refining sales systems.  But that’s a concept that is new to many people and there isn’t much in the literature about it.  So, I enjoyed the opportunity to express the things that I have learned along the way on that aspect of selling and be one of the pioneer thought leaders on this issue.

How can one "practice selling" if they're intimidated at first?

In any endeavor, whether it be fire-fighting, brain surgery, preparing taxes, or selling, the serious practioner recognizes that part of the struggle for success is internal.  We battle against our own preconceived notions, habits, mind sets and emotions.  Just recognizing that is a great first step.  I only know of two ways to go from intimidated to competent:  practice and experience. So, practice every step over and over until you feel comfortable, but recognize that those feelings are going to be around for awhile, and you need to deal with them.

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