Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: Top-Down Selling

In every relationship there is a “goer” and a “stopper.” If you are in a relationship you know who you are. There is always the person who is saying, “Let’s go for it!” and the other who is saying, “Let’s think about it.” In sales, we are the “goer.” We the sellers are the Yang in our Yin-Yang relationship with our customers.

In every relationship there is a “goer” and a “stopper.” If you are in a relationship you know who you are. There is always the person who is saying, “Let’s go for it!” and the other who is saying, “Let’s think about it.” In sales, we are the “goer.” We the sellers are the Yang in our Yin-Yang relationship with our customers. For some of us, this is natural, for others we will have to push ourselves to fulfill this role.

Most sellers have only a vague idea how much their customers are buying. Master Sellers find out by asking! Once we find out how much our customers are buying, we need to promote to their maximum need. Many sellers are merely “selling” their accounts. They are taking what the account gives them. The Master Seller’s goal is to dominate (read: sell the most to, if not all they buy to) their accounts. We want to turn our accounts into “bad, no buy” accounts for other sellers. Every time our competitors call, OUR account says, “Sorry, don’t need anything right now.” This is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Top-down selling is the way to achieve this goal.

Top-Down Selling

We know our customer is buying ten trucks of studs per month. Whether they buy from us on each call or not, we are talking to them about their inventory turns and those ten trucks of studs on every call. We promote their total upcoming need every time we call them. Many sellers are calling with just one item and only one of that item on each call. The Master Seller calls with the maximum usage on every call. The fallback position from one is zero; the fallback position from 10 is nine, then eight, then seven, etc.

Our closing percentage is based on how many times we ask for the order. When we promote the maximum and sell down from there, we give ourselves multiple opportunities to close. Our last sentence will be, “Okay, well let’s at least put on one for insurance.”

Anchoring

In negotiation there is an old adage, “Whoever throws out the first number loses.” This is not true. If the person who throws out the first number throws out a number that is high enough, with confidence, and moves down from there, he will win. Starting with one and moving up feels like, “Would you like to spend some money, more money, or even more money?” Our customers are emotional beings. How we make them feel during the sales process is the difference between Master Sellers and the rest. Anchoring a higher number, whether it is price or volume, is the way to get our customers to commit to more.

The sales process doesn’t start until the customer says no. Most sellers try to give the lowest number up front. They leave themselves with no room to negotiate. They leave no room for the customer to “win” by getting a better deal.  Master Sellers want to be high. If the customer takes their first offer, they know they have left money on the table! Master Sellers are comfortable with the negotiation process. They know they can negotiate and win.

Apartment Buildings or Houses?

Selling one or selling 10 takes the same amount of work and expertise. I sold an account for 15 years. For the first five, I promoted one at a time on every call. I sold the account one at a time. For the next five years I promoted two to five at a time. I sold two to five. For the last five years I promoted blocks of 20 on every call. Did I sell the account 20 on every call? No, but I did sell blocks of 20 every four to six weeks. I still got the onesy-twosy, threesy-fivesy orders, but the blocks of 20 turned them into my best account. Did the account change? No. My approach changed. When I started promoting volume, they started buying volume. Our accounts can’t and won’t do our job for us. We are the Yang. They are taking what we are promoting to them.

We find out how much our accounts can and will buy, and promote the maximum volume to them on every call.

James Olsen

James Olsen, Reality Sales Training.
(James@realitysalestraining.com)

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