QUESTIONS: Who’s going to win the next Super Bowl? Who’s going to win the next World Series? Who’s going to win the next Masters Tournament?

ANSWERS: The team that’s the best prepared. The player who makes the fewest mistakes. The team that stays steady or the player who keeps his cool. The ones who create the breaks and who take advantage of them. The team that prepares one razzle-dazzle play, takes the risk at the opportune time, and pulls it off. The team with the most dedicated players. The team or the player with the best coach.

It’s the same in sales.

In this year’s Super Bowl, both teams were capable of winning. But victory does not always go to the best.

It more often goes to the smartest. The smartest coach. The smartest players. And, of course, whoever got the breaks, and took advantage of them.

Same in sales. The smartest will win, especially if they get the breaks. (Or do smart people create breaks?)

BIG QUESTION: What does smart selling mean to you?

MY ANSWER: It doesn’t take as much brains as it does take understanding. So, I have created the perfect acronym to help you: SMART.

S - SMILE. This defines your warmth, approachability and overall feeling. It’s a greeting beyond a handshake that sends a welcome, open message. It’s both peaceful and reassuring.

M - MAKE FRIENDS. This is not as easy as it seems. Some prospects want to keep it “all business.” Your responsibility is to create friendly dialogue that might result in finding some common ground. Look for their smile. That’s a sign you’re breaking the ice. And note my mantra: All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.

A - Have the ATTITUDE of a winner. This is not just a positive or a YES! attitude. This is a winning attitude that combines your will to win, your preparation and your self-belief. It’s a positive, internal confidence based on previous wins. Not cocky, more like self-assured in a way that passes your confidence on to the customer.

R - Take RELATIONSHIP ACTIONS. This means you take long-term-oriented actions. Actions that will stand the test of time. Actions that give your customers the feeling you represent their best interest, not just your own. You speak the truth, have high ethical standards and are known for service. You’re taking service actions, and value actions beyond the sale. Not sell and run (the 1970s definition of “hunter”); rather, stay and help. Earn the relationship to a point where it becomes referral-based, and testimonial-possible.

T - TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Taking responsibility starts with who you are as a person, and transcends to who you are as a salesperson. As a smart salesperson, you have to know the responsibility is yours if you lose a sale – the same as if you win a sale. The good news is when you become responsible for both success and failure, you also become a student of sales and life. Blaming others allows you a hall pass from self-education. It’s forgotten or passed on rather than studied.

BIGGER QUESTION: How smart a salesperson are you? Now that you have my definition, the reality is you may think you’re smarter than you actually are.

SMART SELLING REALITY:

• Smart salespeople don’t sell on price.

• Smart salespeople don’t reduce price.

• Smart salespeople don’t match price.

BIGGEST QUESTION: Now that you have read this, are you still as smart as you thought you were a few minutes ago?

Probably not, but that’s a good thing. Now that you’re aware of what “smart-selling” consists of, you can begin to take advantage of it.