Jump Start your sales

When you are in a slump you need a jolt of energy to get you going. When your car battery dies, you jump start it to get it going. You hook up another battery and give your battery a short term jolt of new energy which causes your engine to start and run smoothly. That recharges your battery and you can operate your car normally. Mimic that with your sales activity. If you are in a slump, for a few days ramp up your sales activity. If you were talking to 3 people a day in the prior few weeks, do 6 a day for 3 days and see what happens. If you are like most people, good things will begin to happen and you can scale back to your normal activity. Look, it is simple math. In the short term the market won’t change and your sales skills won’t change so doubling your sales activity will double the results you get. So the moral of this story is to treat your sales career at least as well as you treat your car. If your car battery dies you don’t just let it sit there. You give it a fresh jolt of energy to get it going. You should do the same for your sales career.

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Raise your expectations

When you raise your expectations … and actually believe it, everything changes and your sales effectiveness will rise in an attempt to meet those expectations. Here is the mechanism. When you believe in your heart that more is possible, your attitude changes and your beliefs about how things work change. Once your belief and expectation change your tonality will change. Think for a moment how your tonality changes when you ask a question expecting to get an answer and when you ask hoping to get an answer. It’s a dramatic difference right? Since around 38% of what you communicate is in the tonality you use, changing your beliefs and hence your tonality will have a major effect on the results you get. In addition, when you believe something will work you attack it with a different attitude and energy which will have a dramatic effect on the results you get. So today’s lesson is raise your expectations and work on your belief that the expectations are valid and your sales will rise to meet those expectations.

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Don’t have a list of Questions

Knowing what information you want to discover on a sales call is a good idea. Preparing a list of specific questions to ask on the call is a bad idea. Those two statements sound similar but they are vastly different. If you go in with a list of questions to ask, you run the risk of having the meeting feel like an interrogation to the prospect rather than a discussion. You will be inwardly focused trying to remember the questions and the order you want to ask them (and maybe even the wording) rather than focusing on what the prospect is saying. You then will miss subtle ques the prospect may give you about what concerns them. the questions you prepared may not fit the conversation exactly and may appear to be out of context to the prospect. The flow of the conversation will be interrupted. If any or all of this happens you will appear to be very “salesy” or worse out of touch.
It is a better idea to go into the call knowing what you need to find out and lead the conversation to a discussion of those topics. The exact questions you ask will be context based. That is, they will flow naturally from what the prospect has said just prior to the question you want to ask. Depend on your ability to formulate the question in a way that fits the conversation.

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Logic doesn’t work

Most of us think logically (some more than others). But the fact is that people buy emotionally not logically. Logically I should drive an economical car to commute to work. But if I worry about status and “feel” more successful in a Mercedes, I would abandon logic and spend more money each day to get to work. When your prospect seemingly makes an illogical decision to go with a competitor, it may be because you ignored some pain indicators the prospect gave and focused more on the logic of why your product or service was better. If a prospect for a car is more concerned about how he feels in the car he drives and believes what others think of him will be affected by what he drives, then the only logical thing for the salesperson to do is to sell the client a Mercedes even if objectively “logic” would dictate the prospect should buy something more economical.

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Value Propositions have no Value

Value propositions are not for salespeople to use on sales calls. The purpose of a value proposition is to define for employees and investors what value we plan to bring to the market or what value we believe the product or service has. This is great for planning and for the training of salespeople. But that thinking is inwardly focused. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the same is true for value. A product only has value to the extent that it alleviates a pain that the prospect has. So, to announce to a prospect that “the value we bring is to do ____” is to run the risk of the prospect saying (either aloud or to himself) “but I don’t care!” He would only care if he had the problem that the product fixes and also had a passion to rid himself of the problem. It is a much better strategy to use the value proposition as a basis from which to ask questions rather than a basis to make statements about what you bring to the table.

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Rehearse Your Prospect

When you can’t get to the person who makes the decision, your fate is in the hands of the untrained non-commissioned “salesperson” who carries your message to the “boss” who holds your fate in his or her hands. Does your contact know how to make an effective presentation of the reasons they want or need your product? Can they handle the objections the boss will throw at them? I never like to have my fate in someone else’s hand. A way to deal with this is to ask your prospect how they will make the case to the boss. If you like what you hear you can then ask them something like “when She asks why you went with our product even though we were more expensive what will you say”? One of three things will happen when you do this. They might have cogent reasons they can articulate to the boss which will be effective. Or they might not know what to say and you can coach them on how to make the case for your product. The third possibility is that they might get so uncomfortable with the idea of presenting your product on their own that they ask if you can accompany them to explain it to the boss. Any one of the three is preferable to letting them fail on their own and leave you with no sale.

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Be Yourself

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, in sales it can be very counterproductive. One of the primary goals of consultative selling and prospect centered selling is to connect with a prospect. The reason you need to connect at a deep level as possible is to create a conduit through which information and emotion can be exchanged. If you adopt someone else’s persona or imitate them, you will come across as fake and insincere. This will definitely derail your efforts at bonding with the prospect and make it very difficult to connect in any real way. You will find it very difficult to gather real insight from the prospect. You will be relegated to gathering only facts, meetings will be shorter and harder to come by. Training is a great thing but don’t imitate the trainer whether it be your boss or a consultant. Rather seek to understand the concepts and adapt them to your own style. In short, the best way to connect with a prospect is to be yourself. Let your true personality shine through and you will be viewed as sincere. If you are using an effective selling process and the prospect views you as a real, sincere, and caring professional that will go a long way to taking you to the highest levels of the sales profession.

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Sales Empathy

To truly understand a prospects pain at a deep level you must have sales empathy. One way to obtain it is to have actually held the position of the person you are calling on and dealt with the issues they are dealing with. Not every salesperson has that opportunity. However all good salespeople have the ability to “share” or “experience” the prospects real issues even if they have not held the position. They acquire this empathy by asking questions, focusing on the prospect and getting to deeper levels of pain over and over again. If you focus on your company and your presentation you will forever be constrained to operating with superficial information about what the prospect needs but be excluded from really understanding whether there is a compelling reason to buy or not. Sales empathy will also lead to more bonding, deeper relationships and higher closing rates.

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How to Eliminate Excuses

When you fail to do something I am sure that you have a really good reason … or do you? Next time you excuse yourself (note that word!) from an activity ask yourself if you would let a person who worked for you off the hook that easily. Ask if you would take that “reason” from your 7 year old. Ask what would you do if you couldn’t use that “reason” for an excuse. Then do that! This is a great way to break through barriers and end procrastination.

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Ask one you’ve never asked before


You ask the same questions … you get the same answers …and then wonder why you don’t seem to grow as a salesperson fast enough. Sounds like a variation on the definition of insanity. However, if you ask a question you never asked before, you will get to a place you have never been before. You will open up new avenues of discussion. You may disrupt the thinking of the prospect. You will be out of your comfort zone. You will get information you have never gotten before. You will get new insights. You will learn new things about the business you are in. You will have to think on your feet. And you will most likely differentiate yourself and your product or service from the competition. So go ahead, ask that question you have been afraid to ask in the past.

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