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Ways To Make Your Value Standout In The Crowd

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We often get asked to help salespeople craft their cold-calling script so that the recipient drools at the very thought of meeting with the salesperson and has sleepless nights waiting for the presentation that will change their lives for the better.

 This utopian situation doesn’t occur very often/quite often/seldom/hardly ever/once in a blue moon/never in world history (delete as applicable)

What’s happening here, then? Why would many salespeople find it hard to get in touch with a company to arrange an appointment to show them products that will improve their lives or businesses?

We know the reasons. Most sales calls are desperately poor in their production and execution. They rarely, if ever, have the prospect feeling that they should spare their valuable time being sold to.

It requires a proposition that builds value in the prospect’s eyes in actually allowing you to take some of their valuable time. Known as your ’value-proposition’ , it offers the chance for you to show how others have gained results from your products or services.

In simple terms, a “value proposition” is the sum of the total benefits that customers receive when they purchase a specific product or service from your organisation. Your product or service value proposition is a powerful, compelling statement designed to capture the mind and the heart of your customers by demonstrating a relevant advantage in buying from you.

Getting the value proposition right for what your business sells is so important, because it provides the basis for your business relationship with your customers; and answers the question foremost in every potential customer’s mind: ‘Why should I buy from you?’

Most salespeople, however, use the initial contact as a chance to practice their product knowledge by outlining what they sell and what they do. Quite frankly, at this stage the prospect isn’t interested.

What is it at this stage that the customer/prospect wants to hear from you?

Put simply, it’s a statement that demonstrates that you understand their situation – that you recognise the problem they wish to solve, or the outcome they wish to achieve -followed by a specific offer or explanations as to how you are going to help them address their situation.

Ideally, the value proposition will not only explain how owning your product or using your service will allow the customer to achieve a desired outcome; it will also explain how it is that your business is uniquely positioned to create that outcome.

So it should focus on the results your prospect will achieve, rather than the features or benefits of the product itself.

So, DO NOT explain the product or services you sell, or outline their features.

INSTEAD, detail the benefits to the customer of owning your products or retaining your services.

Weak statements would include:

“We’re the best in class”

“We improve morale and motivation”

“Ours lasts longer than the competition’s offering”

Yeah, yeah, yada, yada, yada.

How can I say this politely? 

They’re Not Interested!

Today, you need to have a strong value proposition to break through the noise and pressure they are feeling from all sides. You need to speak to the critical issues they are facing, be they production, staff turnover, cash-flow, technical issues, profitability, stemming losses, health and safety, or others.

How about a stronger value proposition?

“We’ve helped our last 15 clients increase their turnover by an average of 9% in two years, and their profitability by over 12%. All without having to cut costs or make redundancies”

That helps prospects see the real value that you can offer and helps them make the decision to see you as soon as possible, just to see if their business could benefit in the same way. By talking about results rather than products (which are what customers really buy, isn’t it?), you create reasons for them to accept your proposition of a meeting or presentation.

So, don’t talk about what you do or how you do it; talk about the results of what you do and how the prospect will reap those rewards with you.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have. Click on the image below to find out why your very existence as a sales person is in doubt…

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The New Breed of Sales Person – They Don’t Actually Sell

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Sales.

A great profession, isn’t it?

The world would stop if people didn’t sell things. I love buying things. I have toys and gadgets that surround me in my business and personal life. Many of them I bought out of choice, but many of them were bought by me after I was influenced by a salesperson, and I’m happy there was someone available to help me make the right decision.

You will know I’ve been preaching for years that the market most salespeople sell into has changed beyond all recognition. Buyers who existed 10 years ago don’t exist any more. Yet, there are still many salespeople who sell in the same way they did a decade or more ago.

There is a new kid on the block. Someone who is changing the way business is carried out forever.

Think of your typical salesperson, in many persons’ eyes. Brash, forward, assertive, pushy. Not really a nice image, is it?

The new breed of salesperson recognises the way the new buyer wants to be sold to. Here’s my list of qualities that the new breed lives by:

They have brilliant product knowledge: They know their product inside out. But more importantly, they know how that product will bring better results for their prospects

They are consultative: Rather than push solutions, they make recommendations. Rather than manipulate situations, they create suggestions and influence decision-makers.

They use customer experience: They are able to see the results customers achieved before and highlight the changes they will obtain by changing the format they use to obtain those results.

They know their competition better than the competition do: The new breed are on top of what the competition are doing. They use Google Alerts and other methods to improve their market-place knowledge, so when one of the clients mentions a competitive offering, they are able to show immediately how their product is still ahead of their new competitor.

They have a business head on their shoulders: Rather than highlight product or service attributes, they show their ability to assist the client by thinking of their business future and how they can help them achieve their future goals.

They concentrate on future results: Their thoughts are primarily on what the solutions will do for the client’s business, rather than on what the product or service does.

They challenge the client’s current thinking about their business strategies: This entails identifying the processes they use at the moment to drive performance and analysing, through your experience, how that could be enhanced and potentially improved.

What you’ll notice from all the above, and what is really happening in the great world of sales, is that successful salespeople are realising that trying to ‘sell’ is so old-fashioned. As my Head of Training keeps on telling me…”That is soooo 2013!”

Instead of selling, the new breed offer opportunities to businesses and individuals that wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t been there. Their advice and recommendations enhance people’s lives. They create situations where businesses advance quicker, solve problems more eloquently and build opportunities more effortlessly.

The new breed have future aspirations that have never been available before. They grab hold of the risks and play with them like they are rag dolls. Their offerings are just a by-product of what they do for a living. Not having to ‘sell’ takes all the pressure off them, and they allow themselves to see situations that they might have been blind to before.

This opens up so many doors and the great thing about it is every door is available for every one of us to walk through.

Happy ‘Selling’ !!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have. Click on the image below to find out why your very existence as a sales person is in doubt…

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The Best Sales People Make Effortless Rapport, But It’s Not What You Think

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Building rapport is the holy grail for many sales people. They think that if the relationship is cemented before they try to pitch their product, then they stand a better chance of successful outcomes.

What do most people think ‘rapport is? Most think it’s talking about the weather, some photos they see in office or how last weekend’s sports events went. However, the people we are talking with are busy people. Their mind is on something different…things like how their business is going now, the challenges they face at the moment, the problems they will experience if they don’t solve their current problems, etc, etc.

Am I suggesting you shouldn’t use small talk and just say something like, “Hi Mr Prospect, good to meet you. Now, how many of my product were you looking for?”

Err..not quite! There is a difference between building rapport through small talk and building Effortless rapport through talking their business language.

In other words, don’t think about the small talk as building rapport. It’s just getting the human interaction going.  Effortless Rapport is talking shop and finding things in common about the project, work, company news, something about the company etc.

The prospect is only interested in what you can do for them and their business. Rapport in this sense is being on the same business wavelength as they are on. This means creating rapport by identifying business needs and discovering or uncovering challenges their company is going through at the moment.

So, don’t view the small talk as rapport-building. All that does is create a start of the human interaction you are both going to go through.

Think of the rapport-building as the start of the conversation, because it’s at that point when the prospect begins to create awareness of what their needs or wants are. They need someone to work with them who they can see is going to be good for them, someone they can trust and someone who has a real interest in solving their problems.

It would go something like this:

“Mr Prospect, I’ve done my research on your company and I have two or three ideas that I might like to run past you. However, it would be good to make sure I have a clear picture of the current situation, so would it be OK if I asked a few questions to get us started?”

This builds effortless rapport in the beginning by

1) showing the prospect that you have done your homework and are interested in their business,

2) identifying the direction the meeting is going to go, and

3) asking permission to ask questions to help the meeting go forward.

The essence of this is to ensure you don’t think that just because you have spoken about his last fishing trip and how your holiday went, you are now in rapport. Effortless rapport is all about creating that foundation for the business discussion, when you talk about the real reason you’re there…to help their business grow.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have. Click on the image below to find out why your very existence as a sales person is in doubt…

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7 Things Successful Sales People Never Say

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What’s really interesting about we humans is the fact that, even though we don’t like to admit it, we are judgmental beings.

Often we don’t view ourselves as being judgmental; we consider ourselves to be realists. A situation occurs and we decide whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. Where do those ideas come from? From our programming and conditioning, that’s where.

We are conditioned to identify what we consider to be right based on our experiences, our values, our standards and our rules. Every other person on the planet has had different experiences from you, and so will have different values, different beliefs and, hence, different judgments.

For instance, when you say, “You shouldn’t do that!” you are coming from your own judgments and rationale. You’re weighing up the situation, determining what you would do in a similar spot and then balance up whether what is done instead lives up to your standards or rules.

It’s natural. It’s human. It’s ‘us’ being ‘us’.

So, are there some things that salespeople should never say? Isn’t that being judgmental just asking the question?

Well, in a way, yes. However, when you see the ideas below, you will probably agree these are things that shouldn’t be said because clients and prospects will probably judge us negatively if we did. And that’s the main reason. Not because we consider them to be right, but because the majority of our clients would say they are wrong.

Let’s face it, all clients use judgment to determine if the like you, believe you, have confidence in you and trust you. What you need to do is to lower the resistance by shying away from phrases or words that will cause judgments to rise up in the first place.

Take a look at some of the things salespeople should never find coming out of their mouths:

“Trust me!” Really? Do you need to tell me that? Your words are worthless if you don’t prove trustworthy. It’s pointless asking someone to trust you if you haven’t given them reasons to do so. Demonstrate you are trustworthy; don’t tell them!

“How are you today?” after opening a cold call. Please! Leave that to the slimy, smarmy toothy-grinned salespeople of yester-year, who thought that it built rapport with a stranger. These days it screams out the message “I AM GOING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING!!!”

“What will it take to earn your business?” Err…give me a free sample? This antiquated question lost it’s power when the first transaction took place in Antique-Land. It puts so much pressure on the prospect because it’s asking them to do all the work. They have to think about what ‘deal’ they would take. Instead you should be building the value so that the prospect sees that accepting your offer is the best thing to do for them and/or their business.

- “This is a limited offer” yeah right! This smacks of all those furniture store closing-down offers, only to spring back, phoenix-like, from the ashes of despair, making customers feel cheated. If it really is a limited offer, build value first before you discuss price. Limited offers come and go…they don’t have the impact they may have had in the 20th century (such a looong time ago!).

- “I give you my word” Hah! The cheese monster rises from his lair again. Another is “My word is my bond”. If you have to say these sentences, you are thinking words have a greater affect on people than deeds. Prospects want to know WHY they should trust you. Just saying it doesn’t make it right or true.

- “What do you think?” Eh? Surely there’s nothing wrong with this one? After all, isn’t asking for the opinion of the prospect a good way of discovering their needs and wants. Yes, of course, but this isn’t the way to do it. The question creates logical triggers. It’s better to ask how the person feels about the situation. Thinking is rational, left-brained in its drivers. ‘How do you feel about this?’ gets the person to go deeper into their thought patterns, and connects to the emotional decision-making process.

“Let me be honest with you!” What? You mean you weren’t being honest  before? I know that seems far-fetched, but the subliminal message that gets through is that everything I’ve said up to now is questionable…I am going to be honest with you from now on!

Successful people don’t say these phrases because they don’t want to give the other person even a glimmer of a reason to doubt them or question their professionalism. Think things through before you say things that might cause you to regret it afterwards.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have. Click on the image below to find out why your very existence as a sales person is in doubt…

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The One Factor That Drives Most Buying Decisions

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A friend of mine recently had the need to change his company car. There was a massive choice for him in the price range that he had been given, so he had to narrow the choice down using a series of questions. Based on his chosen criteria, he judged which would be the best car for him to go for.

Having made the choice of car, he then had to decide which leasing agency he would go to. The internet threw up around nine sites that enticed him towards their special deals. He thought the choice would be easy; it proved to be anything but!

In discussions with me, my friend said he wished he knew which agency would be the best for him to go with. Prices were more or less equal for the car he had chosen, but the actual agency choice was proving far more difficult.

I asked him what would make him decide in the end. He said it would be the one that made him feel most confident. How would he know? By the quality of the website, the ease of contacting the company, the amount of information available and the trust that he felt in their back-up services.

I then asked him to sum up in one sentence what would make him choose a specific agency. He said ‘the one that offers the least risk!”

This got me thinking. When buyers make decisions to buy, they have obviously covered a lot of ground before they make that choice. The word decision comes from the Latin word meaning “to cut off from”. In other words, when a decision is made, you ‘cut off from’ any other alternative. Your choice is final. You have decided.

(By the way, if you make a decision and then regret it, or have buyer’s remorse, you haven’t really made the decision, because you haven’t cut off from all other alternatives…you still are un-decided.)

So, one of the factors that influence decision-making in most buyers’ minds is the aspect of risk-reduction.

In many ways this is more important than the costs of solutions. For example, would you always buy the cheapest product available? Most of you would say no. Why? Because you appreciate that along with cheap price comes a sacrifice of quality.

Cheap doesn’t always equate to good value. There comes a point where the price line on the graph and the quality line cross over; the lowering of price always has a detrimental affect on how you perceive the product or service.

A lower price for most people may mean a saving in some respects. But it also opens the door to questions that would cause concern or anxiety in the buyer’s mind. Questions like;

‘Will this product really do what it says it will do? What happens if it breaks down? Have I got confidence that it will perform in the way the brochure said it would?’

These legitimate questions are the result of the risk you are taking by buying cheap. Most people would rather pay a little bit more to negate the risks they would be taking by buying too cheaply.

My friend decided to go with the agency that gave him the most confidence and the least risk. By making that choice, it made him feel less anxious about the whole buying experience. He chose on the basis of what would make him feel good in the long-term. I called him before writing this piece and he said the car had been delivered on time, in perfect condition and with the minimum of fuss. He feels he made the right decision.

Think of your customers and how they make decisions. How could you minimise or eliminate the risks involved in making buying-decisions? If you can answer that question, you open up many more opportunities to help customers achieve the results they want and need.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have. Click on the image below to find out why your very existence as a sales person is in doubt…

Posted in Buyer Types | Tagged , , | Leave a comment