Yesterday I was crossing the Canada/US border enroute to work with a new client. The custom’s officer asked typical questions such as “What’s your citizenship?” “Do you have any food or alcohol?” along with a few others. Then, as she handed me my passport, she asked, “What else would you like to add?”
A dozen thoughts ran through my head before I smiled and said, “It’s a great day isn’t it?” We exchanged a few more pleasantries and I headed toward the interstate.
For several minutes I wondered why she asked that question, because in my mind, it seemed very random. However, I started to think about the possible responses she might hear and reactions she might see as a result.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this could be a great question to ask new prospects. It could uncover additional opportunities, potential challenges or roadblocks, or reveal another motivator behind the buying decision.
I once spoke to a manager who told me about an interview he had recently conducted. During the interview he asked, “What else should I know that you haven’t told me yet?” and the person he was speaking with replied, “I have a criminal record.” Further questioning uncovered that the potential candidate had been jailed for fraud. Needless to say, he wasn’t hired.
During your next sales meeting—face-to-face or telephone—consider asking this question when you think you have all the information you need to move forward. You may just uncover something important that will influence your approach, affect your solution or improve your offering.
Planning a sales meeting, sales training or other related event? I might be able to help you get a higher ROI. Give me a call and we can discuss. 905-633-7750.
In recent weeks I have become intrigued by the television show, “The Dog Whisperer”, starring Cesar Millan. I admit that I am fascinated how quickly he assesses a situation and how effectively he transforms a dog’s behavior. However, what I find most interesting is that it is usually the owner’s behavior that requires adjustment.
More often than not, the owner of the “troubled” dog fails to behave properly to a given situation. That’s because people respond in terms that make sense to humans, not dogs.
The same concept applies to sales and selling.
Many sales people rely on their instinct when dealing with prospects, buyers and decision makers. This can manifest itself in many ways:
- they don’t look at the buying decision from the prospect’s perspective
- they fail to fully uncover their prospect’s buying motives
- they don’t address the internal challenges a buyer or prospect faces when making a decision
- they use jargon or terminology that their prospect does not understand
- they rush for the close
Ultimately, the reason a sale doesn’t move forward or a prospect doesn’t make a buying decision or use your solution is because you have failed to communicate in their language.
Sales people are usually focused on getting a sale or closing a deal. Unfortunately, most people selling a product or service don’t grasp or comprehend the complexities of business. They rely on their standard pitch which does not help their prospect understand how they, or their company, will benefit.
One of Milan’s favourite mantra’s is, “calm, assertive.”
Sales people need to be assertive.
We need to take a leadership role. We need to understand the buying process from our prospect’s perspective.
That means we need to ask the right questions to gain deep insight into our prospect’s problems and what factors will influence the decision making process. We need to speak their language. And, instead of focusing on the outcome (getting a sale), we need to invest more time getting into our prospect’s mind.
Sales people also need to exercise a calm behaviour.
Corporate decision makers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to produce results and they don’t always behave rationally—at least not from a sales person’s perspective. Rather than getting defensive when someone challenges you or getting frustrating when a sale doesn’t move forward at the speed you expect, you need to calmly look at the decision—from your prospect’s viewpoint.
I’m not a dog owner but I can say with certainty that Cesar Millan has taught me a thing or two about becoming a better sales person and increasing my sales.
In Case You Didn’t Know
I help sales people master their sales conversations so they can win more deals. If I can help you or your company please give me a call: 905-633-7750 or Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca
During a recent sales training workshop, we were discussing the importance of being able to deliver a clear, concise message when you first meet with a prospect and we agreed that a quick, thirty second introduction would be an effective approach. A participant challenged me, saying that an introduction of this nature sounded canned and rehearsed. As he recited his opening message, I fully agreed with him—it did sound canned. Not to mention extremely difficult to understand.
Unfortunately, he made one of the fatal mistakes that many sales people make when they first introduce themselves to a potential customer or client. That mistake is to barf on them.
Not figuratively of course. But verbally.
Too many sales people mistakenly believe that they should open their conversation with a background and history of their company. Or, a complete description of their products, services, or solutions. It’s seems like they can’t control what comes out of their mouth once they open it. They puke. They barf. They spew all over themselves.
A great opening message or introduction follows a few key criteria.
- It focuses on the other person.
- It conveys how you help your clients and customers.
- It is easy to understand.
- It does not contain an excess of adverbs or adjectives.
- It intrigues the other person.
- It must be delivered in a conversational tone.
Most sales people start talking about their products or services instead of focusing their attention on the customer. The best way to do this is to state the benefit of your product or service and how it relates to your customer. Here is an example,
“Mr. Adams, I’m Pat from Geeks R Us. We specialize in helping small businesses like yours fix computer problems. The reason I’m calling is to see if you ever have experienced computer problems, and if so, how they have affected your business?”
Notice that this introduction briefly describes the sales person’s business while clearly describing the problems they solve. It is brief—forty-two words in total—and it takes less than fifteen seconds to state. That means it is very easy to understand.
Your introduction or opening should be scripted. However, one of the challenges of creating a script is that it must sound like something you would actually say. I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know don’t use many descriptive words when they speak. And, very few people write the same way they speak. The individual in my workshop had memorized a written statement that described the services he provided. He wrote something that he thought looked good on paper but it ended up sounding forced and stilted when it was spoken. Part of this was the number of adjectives and descriptive words he used. Limit your use of descriptive words. The shorter and more brief, the better.
Here’s the caveat…
While I believe in the use of scripts, they cannot and must not, sound like a script when you recite it. Your opening or introduction MUST be delivered in a conversational tone if you want it to achieve the intended results.
Consider the difference between a highly trained actor and a typical telemarketer who calls you in the evening. The actor portrays the emotion and feeling while the telemarketing simply reads the words. This means that you need to practise reciting your opening or introduction so it sounds natural.
If you’re not sure how your message sounds, ask someone you trust to evaluate it for you.
The barf factor also applies when you are delivering a presentation about your products and services. Instead of talking without taking a breath during the presentation of your product, pause after a few moments and make sure that your customer is still following you AND paying attention. It never ceases to amaze me how often a sales person actually speeds up when they notice that their customer is tuning out or no longer paying attention. As if that’s going to keep the other person’s attention!
Lastly, be careful not to barf on your customer when he or she expresses an objection. It is far more effective to empathize with the customer and check to make sure that you fully understand their concern BEFORE you present a solution. I have watched hundreds, if not thousands, of sales people in my workshops barf on their customer as they try to overcome objections. They ramble on and on trying to convince the customer why they should make a buying decision instead of making one key point and checking to see if that makes sense to the customer.
Barfing shows a lack of control. I mean, you can’t usually control this bodily function when you are sick. And when you barf on someone during a sales conversation, it shows the same lack of control. Demonstrate your superior skill and ability by controlling what you say and how you say it.
Looking for Help to Increase Your Sales?
Kelley helps sales people master sales conversations so they can win more business and increase their sales. If you’re planning a sales meeting, conference or event and need an engaging & informative speaker, call him at: 905-633-7750 or Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca. Here’s Kelley in action: http://bit.ly/ef5P5l
It’s been said that people love to buy but they hate being sold to.
A number of years ago I used to get together occasionally with a speaker colleague to trade stories and update each other. However, every time we got together I had the distinct feeling that I was being sold something. After a while I found myself being on guard when we met because I didn’t want to get trapped into making an unwanted decision. Eventually, I stopped getting together with him.
A friend recently told me he stopped someone halfway through a sales call when the sales person switched from having a conversation to starting his sales pitch. The sales rep’s tone of voice and body language changed and it became apparent that he was primarily interested in closing the deal, even though it was just a preliminary meeting.
The goal is to continue moving the sales process forward and you achieve this by having a conversation and simply talking to them rather than “pitching” them. You can still deliver a formal presentation but it should be done in a conversational manner.
During your sales calls this week; pay close attention to the other person. If you notice any type of defensive behaviour, there’s a good chance that you have slipped in “pitch” mode.
You’d think with all of the articles, webinars, podcasts, videos, and blog posts out there about how to conduct sales conversations, that those doing the selling would be experts who rarely have a prospect slam the phone down on them. Sadly, that is not the case.
There are still many sales people who don’t know how to first get a prospect’s attention and then hold it and guide the conversation to an eventual sale
During a recent podcast interview with Rain Today I stated, “Even though there’s a ton of information available, the interesting thing is the vast majority of sales people either don’t make themselves available for that information or use that information. And those that do read a lot of the blogs and information and attend webinars and things like that don’t actually apply the concepts on a consistent basis.”
You can listen to that interview here.
I strongly believe that two things contribute to the problems people experience during their sales conversations:
1. People who have been selling for a long time think they can use the same approach they used 15 years ago.
2. New reps don’t have the experience or knowledge and most new sales people don’t receive any type of formal sales training.
One of the big mistakes both types of sellers make is focusing on the features of their service and not on their prospects and uncovering their pain points so they can position their solution appropriately.
The great folks at RainToday.com have asked me to share some other ideas so tomorrow afternoon I will be conducting a full-length webinar from 2:00-3:30 PM ET. Here’s a glimpse of what I will be discussing:
- Three fatal mistakes many sales people make in the first few minutes of a sales call or meeting.
– How to develop rapport quickly and easily with new prospects (it’s not what you think!).
- 16 powerful questions to gain valuable insights into your prospect’s situation, decision-making process, concerns, and priorities.
- How to effectively transition from the qualifying process to presenting your solution.
- The one way to begin every sales presentation that will capture your prospect’s attention.
- 3 proven strategies that will help you reduce buyer resistance.
- How to gain commitment and move the sales process forward without being rude or pushy.
You can get the full details of the program here. I hope you can join me and participate in this program.