Talk at the Right Level

People at different organizational levels have different concerns and your conversations at each level should be different, even if the product or service is exactly the same. Most executives don’t have time for the details and many worker bees can’t see the big picture. For example, the end user of a software package might be concerned with the ease of use of the system and how it will modify the work flow of his department, whereas, the VP who has to spend the money, might be focused on overall efficiency of the department and reducing headcount. You wouldn’t want to talk about reducing headcount to the end user and the executive might not care about the details of how the system worked. As a side note, you may not need the technical expert when you meet with the vice president, but she may be essential when meeting with the end user of the system or the IT department of the company. It is imperative that the optimal salesperson feel comfortable in both arenas and be aware of the different levels of conversation.

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The Importance of Belief

Belief is essential to success in sales. If you don’t have belief, you will not be convincing when you speak about your product or service. Your lack of belief will communicate itself through your tonality and body language. In short, you will not be believable if you do not have belief. But Belief in what? First you need belief in the product or service you are selling. I think everyone knows that. But in addition, you must believe in your company. You must believe in your company’s ability to deliver the product on time if you are a distributor or manufacturer and you must believe that you can deliver the results you claim if you are a service provider. But the most important belief you must have is your belief in yourself. You must believe that you belong in the meeting with the person you are talking to. You must believe that you have the ability to carry on the conversation at the level it needs to be held. And you must believe that you have the ability to make this sale. If you don’t have belief in yourself, then it will be very difficult to even have the chance to exhibit your belief in your company and your product.

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Call Someone You Haven’t Talked To In A While

The most overlooked source of new prospects exists right in your database. Everyone has old contacts. They are people you used to work with, old clients who changed companies, old friends, former members of networking groups among many other categories of people. When you make the call you don’t have to drop into “sell mode” All you have t do is “catch up” with them. After exchanging personal information about the kids etc., the discussion will naturally flow to what you are doing now. If you describe the pains you are currently addressing for a client similar to who they now work for, they might ask you if you could help them. Don’t spend too much time prejudging who to call and who might have a problem. And, whatever else you do, don’t launch into sell mode. These are old friends and most likely they know you and what you do. An Adroit description of What problems you are solving these days and who you are solving them for is all that is needed in most cases. One last tip, Let them talk first about what they are doing. It will help you decide which current client and/or problem you choose to talk about.

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100% of Followup is a Waste of Time

Salespeople waste a lot of time following up. That is because they take put offs from a prospect and interpret them as sincere interest. The prospect says “send me a quote”. So they do thinking they have a qualified prospect. However, many times the prospect knows that asking for a quote (or to send information) is the easiest way to get rid of the sales person. Then they ignore the salesperson’s calls when he or she spends valuable time trying to track down the prospect for a decision. The way to avoid this is to get a commitment for a decision at a specific point in time and even to get an appointment (in person or by phone) to get the decision. If the prospect won’t give you that then they are probably not as qualified as you think they are. Its not following up if you have an appointment to discuss the outcome of the quote. Almost all of “follow up” can be avoided if you follow this simple rule – “Never do anything until you know what is going to happen after you do it”.

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Jumpstart Your Sales

As the saying goes … doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is … well you know the rest. So if sales are down or not where you were hoping they would be, then inject a little jolt of energy (just like when you jump your car) by a short spurt of massive sales activity. It is almost the only thing you can do. In the short term your sales skills are fixed. Deals you are pursuing have a set timetable to close which you probably can’t change without giving discounts as an incentive or “twisting some arms” and neither one of those is ever a good idea. So inject a little energy by doubling the number of calls you make for the next few days or maybe a week. Then go back to your normal amount of activity. Call clients you haven’t talked to in a while. Call referral sources. Call people who didn’t buy from you in a while. Make cold calls if all else fails. You don’t have to do it forever … only a few days. You don’t keep your jumper cables connected once the car starts do you? So, commit to some massive action for a few days and the world will change around you.

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Closing is a Journey Not an Event

Closing is a Journey you take with the prospect. You may guide the prospect through journey, but but it is something that is a joint effort. Closing is NOT something you do to the prospect at the end of a discussion. Way too much emphasis is placed on closing in popular movies and even in sales training. If you do the right things up front in qualifying the prospect, then closing will happen as a natural consequence of everything that went before. If you do not qualify properly then clever closing techniques will not save the day. Remember that closing can also mean ending the pursuit.

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New Year’s Resolutions Are a Waste of Time

New Years resolutions are a waste of time. That is, they are a waste if you only do it once per year then forget about them two weeks later. Goal setting and commitment are NOT a waste of time. In Fact, they are a necessary and invaluable part of your growth as a salesperson. BUT, (and it s a big BUT) you have to do it consistently throughout the year. Set goals, review progress, stay committed or renew your commitment. It is not a once a year thing.

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The Two Group Technique

 

A simple direct way to determine if the prospect has a compelling reason to buy is to define two groups and ask them to put themselves into one or the other. This binary choice leaves no doubt whether they have pain or not IF (and only if) you set up the groups correctly. It is a simple technique just define one group that has pain and one group that doesn’t and ask you prospect to put themselves into one or the other. This video illustrates how it might sound when you say it to a prospect.

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Don’t Argue With Your Prospect

This may seem like an obvious point, but

you may be arguing with your prospect and not realize it. This sales tip discusses how your prospect may view your interaction as a debate and explains how that will defeat your purpose. Remember that your main purpose is to find pain, and pain is emotional not logical. Getting stuck in a logical “discussion” may cause the prospect to harden their position. If that happens you may find it hard to move the sales process forward. 

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Are You Confident Enough To Be Humble?

Confidence in your ability and in your solution is necessary to be effective in selling. However, confidence can be interpreted as arrogance if you are not careful. When you are in the discovery phase of the sales process you need to be humble enough to ask questions with a sincere curiosity to understand the perspective of the prospect. Anyone can uncover the intellectual aspects of the problem that the prospect has, assuming that they have one. Only a person with the humility to understand that they do not know how this problem or situation affects the prospect personally will be effective at uncovering the real compelling reason to buy. Humility is required to refrain from prescribing a solution while they seek to understand the personal pain of the prospect. An ability to anticipate the problems the prospect might have coupled with the humility to ask questions, is essential to earning the trust of the prospect and truly qualify the opportunity.

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