Results-Orientated Selling for MBAs

 An MBA is one of the most prized and sought-after qualifications around the world. It provides you with numerous invaluable skills, one of which is selling.

In a sales career spanning 30 years, I’ve found the universe will inevitably confront you with many tests, and your ability to pass these tests will determine your level of business success. Furthermore, the pace at which you pass these tests can mean the difference between survival and extinction.

My partner Buki Mosaku, founder of Inquire Management, created the acronym, ‘MOST’ to sum up each of these tests:

M – Mind-set
O – Objectives
S – Strategy
T – Tactics

In my experience, most sales training solutions tend to be too action orientated. What I love about this formula is that it is far more results orientated.

Mind-set. When l was working for Motorola in Africa, the region was termed the ROA – Rest of Africa, which was basically anywhere outside South Africa. It was perceived as a no hope area and yet I saw immense potential. When I left, I had developed around $500m worth of sales. I don’t say this to boast, but rather to demonstrate the importance of having the right mind-set before determining your sales objectives! Audacious goals can fuel massive success.

Objectives. With the right mind-set, your sales objectives should be huge! The biggest mistake that most sales people and managers make, is thinking they should know how they are going to reach the goal.

When we started Mi Fone; Africa’s first home grown mobile handset provider, we knew there was an opportunity to meet the everyday African’s aspiration to have a mobile handset, and we had to make it affordable. And boom! Just like that we came up with our slogan; ‘Aspiration Within Reach’. This campaign from a boot-strapped start up fuelled handset sales of $40 million.

Strategy. When you adopt this ‘MOST’ formula, everything else starts to fall into place. This includes strategy, or in the case of many of our clients, the Go to Market Strategy. At Mi Fone, our advertising appealed to the locals. We used lifestyle marketing on their level, knowing that this would grow from the streets.

Tactics. These are very important, but their potency will be down to the preceding factors in the formula. That said, here are some tactics that will hold you in good stead:

Complex v Simple Sales
Sales that involve two or more decision makers require a more strategic approach to the way that you sell. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that every sale is a complex one just because big numbers are involved. In some cases, you just need to develop a good relationship with the other party to close the sale.

Going Beyond Need
Go beyond ‘needs based selling’ and start seeing yourself as a creative change agent. Focus on getting to the heart of what prospects and clients are trying to accomplish through effective questioning. Then, show how your product, service, or solution can help them achieve their goals faster, quicker, better, and more efficiently based on your understanding of their objectives.

Here are two underused prospecting tactics that will fast track your success:

Referral Generation is one of the most under used tactics and yet, word of mouth is the fastest way to grow any business. For instance, many professional services firms have up to 95% client retention rates, yet very few ask for referrals, or have a systematic referral generation process. The funny thing is that 85% of prospects or clients will gladly give referrals, but only 15% of sales people or practitioners ever ask.

Cold Call selling works. The fact that most people don’t know how to do it is a blessing in disguise, and you can differentiate yourself by doing it well. Of course, it should be used in combination with online marketing and social media.

In summary, the simplest way to sell well is to:

• Show a genuine interest in others, to build a level of trust that will be reciprocated.

• Spend 75% of your time asking questions, to elicit key information and position your solution.

• Gain collaborative commitment and agreement to the next steps. This will sift out time wasters and enable you to progress to closing the sale.

Alpesh H. Patel is author of the new book Tested, out now on Amazon and Apple iBooks. It is available on Kindle, EPUB and Print. Published in the UK by Peshmode Ltd. For more information see