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Double Your Sales With A Sat Nav?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

bignavIt’s my lifeline, my saviour, my instant access to finding new destinations.

Yet, since I started using satellite navigation systems, I have been lulled into a false sense of security, allowing it to control my thoughts and, against my better judgement at times, leading me down roads and motorways I would have been best avoiding.

Still, I’d rather have it directing my every move than have to rely on the old method of tracing a line with my finger on a road atlas while doing 69 mph!

It got me thinking about the connections between my sat nav and the sales processes we follow.

When we set out on a journey, the first thing we put into it is the destination, the end goal, the outcome. We make it as precise as possible, like the post-code or office number, so we can straight there.

Then, it works out our current position, the situation we find ourselves in. This is our starting point and allows the system to generate the journey from point A to B.

My system then gives me options to follow, maybe taking a quieter A road rather than the motorway, or routes to avoid tolls.

Finally, on the journey, I get feedback from the sat nav, outlining if any changes need to be made on my journey, diverting me away from blockages and traffic jams.

The sat nav is a good metaphor for our sales processes and, if followed precisely, can help us reach our destination (the close) in good shape.

Firstly, we can help the prospect identify his final goal, the destination if you like, or where they will be when they succeed.

Questions like, “How will you know this has been a successful project for you?” or “What will the end result be for you?” are good ways to find exactly what the prospect is looking to accomplish.

Then, we can find out what the current situation is like with questions like “What are you using at the moment and why isn’t that good enough to get to the position you’ve just outlined?” and “What are you using now,, and how has that served you up until now?”

These positioning questions help you identify what the gap is between the ‘now’ and the ‘future’.

We can then discuss options with the prospect. Asking things like “What changes do you see having to happen in order for you to achieve those goals?” and “What options do you see as you look to improve results here?” will help the prospect identify the various ways they can travel to achieve the end goal.

And finally, you can assist the prospect on the journey by outlining what needs to be done to achieve the final result. You can make suggestions, offer advice and build relationships by keeping them informed of what is happening as things progressing, offering feedback on his results and showing how the situation is changing as time goes on.

So, next time you program your sat nav for a journey, reflect on how it can help you with your sales process as well and adapt your meetings so you can fit in with the direction your prospect will want to make n their journey to results.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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The 7 Habits Of Highly Ineffective Salespeople

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Risky contractOur brains are wonderful things, in that it always tries to find the best for us. We can justify every and any action we take simply by identifying some kind of gain for us or achievement we attain.

When we are happy to carry out some task without even thinking about it, we call that a ‘habit’, i.e. something we do without having to think about it.

As salespeople, we tend to slip into habits by default, some good and some not so good.

Very few of us would deliberately sabotage our success by habitually doing things that would damage our chances of success.

But there are things we do that drive us toward failure without even realising it.

Here are just seven bad habits that could well influence and affect our success for the worse:

1. Not Having Any New Ideas Or Perspectives To Share With Prospects

This is simply poor execution of our sales processes. Very often we think that the product or service we have should sell itself and we simply pitch it to this product in the same way we have to everyone else.

Prospects are looking for new ideas, new perspectives and new concepts that will take their business further than it is now. If you don’t get into the habit of developing new ideas, you run the risk of becoming stale and being like everyone else.

2. Thinking The Product Is More Important Than The Solution

Many prospects know about your product before you step foot in their building, so resist the temptation to revert back to the 1980’s pre-internet age and assume the prospect knows nothing about you. Instead, form the habit of thinking about solutions for the prospect that will drive their decision-making forward. Just verbalising the details or components of your products or services runs the risk of losing momentum and causing the prospect to do all the hard work of applying what you say to their situation

3. Failing To Plan Effectively

I was talking recently to a salesperson who had been in sales since he left school in 1976, and he shared with me his exasperation of seeing many people ‘wing’ their presentations with poor or no proper preparation. Even though he has been in sales for nearly 40 years, this salesman said he strived to learn as much about his prospect’s business as he could before he approached them. He said this is one habit that has kept him in good stead at all times. It’s one of those habits you should not neglect as it just causes so many challenges

4. Knowing Little About Your Competitors’ Offerings

There can’t be many things more demoralising than presenting your product and the prospect bringing up details of your competitors’ solutions that are actually better than yours, and you didn’t know about it.

Knowledge of the market is imperative if you are to keep ahead of what is being offered out there, and it is an easy habit to fall into when you don’t keep up-to-date with what is happening.

5. Not Listening To The Real Needs Of The Prospect Nor Identifying How Your Solution Can Benefit Them And Their Business

Most humans only listen at the ‘surface’ level, and it’s a bad habit to fall into, because most of what you need to know occurs at the ‘deep’ level. Premature evaluation of situations can bring many problems, so resist the temptation to jump to conclusions without finding out more information.

6. Blaming Things Out Of Your Control For Your Performance

This is a very easy habit to fall into. People are naturally defensive when it comes to analysing why things occur the way they do. If you don’t get the results you want, our default position is that something other than us must be responsible. We tend to want to justify and defend ourselves by passing the blame from ourselves to something else, so our egos and self-esteem are kept intact.

Professional salespeople understand that we have to control the controllables and leave the uncontrollable to get on with what it needs to do. Make sure you don’t fall into the habit of passing responsibility for your performance to things that are not under your control.

7. Accepting Average Performance As The Norm

This is also a bad habit to fall into, as it can lull you into a false sense of being better than you really are. What this involves is seeing yourself performing at a level you think is the best you can achieve. The truth is that most salespeople never hit their true potential. They accept the performance level they have achieved and think it’s the best they can do, with justifiable back-up excuses that seem right to them.

Instead, think of yourself on a never-ending journey towards excellence, knowing there is always going to be a higher, better, more successful step that you can take. If you have that mind-set, you will never settle for average performance, the sort of “that’ll do” rhetoric that doesn’t allow for the improvements you know in your heart is achievable.

These seven bad habits should wake us up and make us more determined than ever to professionally drive ourselves forward to achieve more than we have ever done before.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Ask Open Or Closed Questions? I Don’t Care!

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Businessman and questionsAsking questions; probably THE single most important skill that you can possess as a sales professional.

I’m sure you’ve attended courses in the past that cover questioning techniques and their use in the sales discussion.

Many times we are told that ‘open’ questions (the ones that start with why, what, when, how, where, who, etc.) are the best ones to use, and that you should avoid the ‘closed’ type of questions that tie the conversation down (the ones that elicit yes or no answers).

In my opinion, as long as your questions have a purpose then the type of question you ask is irrelevant. Sure, you are going to get more information from asking an open question but used correctly closed questions can be very powerful as you control the conversation between you and your prospect.

So what’s their role in the sales process?

Answer – To get a clear, accurate assessment of a position, situation, challenge, condition, decision or viewpoint.

For them to work effectively, they should be followed up with a series of clarifying statements or questions.

For example:

“Are your productivity levels as good as they could be?” (Closed question)

“No”

“That’s interesting. What makes you say that?”

That follow up question shows you’re interested in and sympathetic with the prospect’s position.

Here’s another example:

“Do you see this situation continuing?” (Closed question)

“Yes”

“Right. If you don’t mind me asking, what impact is that going to have on your manufacturing processes? Will you continue to manufacture at your current rates?”

“No”

“That’s something I’ve heard from many other of my clients. So, let me ask you, what are your plans for future manufacturing?”

You see, you can ask further questions that elaborate on the situation, and it doesn’t sound like an interrogation…it simply continues the discussion you are having with the prospect.

You may need to ask one or two clarification questions, but you end up with a position where the prospect has given you valuable information you may not have obtained if you hadn’t gone down that particular questioning avenue.

Use closed questions sparingly, and at the right time and occasion. When you do, you’ll find they uncover specific positions the prospect is in and will help you to clarify exact requirements with the follow-up assessment questions.

So don’t be put off with the type of question you’re asking. Instead, ask yourself what is the purpose of asking the question and what response you want from the prospect. You can then work out what type of question to ask.

Do you get me? (See! A closed question)

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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The One & Only Reason Buyers Buy

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Hand with index finger raised upIs there just one reason? Can we actually narrow down the whole sales process to just one step?

Naturally, there are a myriad of stages that people go through before they make the decision to go with your solution. But when you strip away all the dross and dig down to the bear pit that is our gut feeling, there is only one real reason why we make the decision to buy anything.

Put yourself in the buyer’s position. Why would you choose the medium-rare steak in the restaurant over the fish choice? Why would you choose one particular brand of breakfast cereal over another? Why would you choose a more powerful or economical car over another?

Going back to basics, the reason we make a choice is that we feel it will benefit us in some way over the other choices we may have. We weigh up in our minds how something will feel when we wear it, or what it will taste like, or what our lives will be like after we choose our life-long partner.

When you consider all the choices you have made in the past, it boils down essentially to this one point – People make decisions because they perceive a better future with your solution than without it. 

Any decision you want your buyer to make, any purchase they make from you, any future relationship they decide to have with your company must answer that fundamental question: Will it make my life, my future, my company’s future better, easier, simpler, more productive, more profitable or whatever it takes to achieve what I would consider to be success? 

It’s a profound question and it draws people towards making a decision that will ensure success for them.

What it means is that everything you recommend for the prospect should be directed towards what they are looking to improve, how they are measuring success and what constitutes benefits to them.

It ensures you look at their business as an opportunity to show your skill in developing your consultative ability. Gone are the days where a ‘product pitch’ would do the job for you. Today, you need to prove that your solution will make a bigger difference to their business than using your competitors will, or than doing nothing at all.

Your solution has to have provable consequences for the prospect or their business. Somehow, they have to see a better future with you than without you. If you can make this happen, you have touched on the very reason buyers make decisions to change, modify or improve.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Buyer Types | Tagged , | Leave a comment

ABC? No, Never Be Closing!

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alecI’m an avid reader of good quality books on many subjects, and one that my team put my way last week has intrigued and interested me.

“Never Be Closing” by Tim Dunne and Tim Hurson is an inventive and creative journey into presenting a sales structure and then providing invaluable techniques to help you use problem solving no matter what sales situation you encounter.

The book introduces a model that is not unique but offers ideas in differing formats. Called the ‘Productive Thinking’ model, Dunne and Hurson identify six components that allow for expansion of the existing sales model. It requires us to be thoughtful about the questioning process and invites us to use a deeper response mechanism when investigating processes that buyers go through when making decisions.

The model consists of a six-step process:

“What’s Going On?”: This asks us to make a thorough fact-finding researched analysis of the current situation and what’s caused it

“What’s Success?”: How will the success of a particular process or project be measured and what will the determining factors of that success actually look like?

“What’s the Question?”: This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how few salespeople ask the questions that truly make prospects think about their business in line with what we can offer. Digging deep with power questions can differentiate you from your competitors, as you make your prospect think more about what needs to be accomplished

Generate Answers: By assimilating options, you give the prospect opportunities to think through what would be best for them and their business. Answers to their problems must involve the prospect in determining the best solution, not just a diatribe of product features and benefits

Forge the Solution: This is where the answers, or options of choices that would work, are refined to achieve the goals, objectives or targets the prospect is looking for.

Align Resources: Identify how you can ‘line up your ducks’ to achieve those goals, allocating the proper resources that will build on the current situation and help them create something different to whatever the competition are thinking.

The book highlights exactly what processes you can go through to build confidence in your prospect to make the best choice. Never Be Closing may well be different to what you’ve been taught in the past, especially those brought up on the ABC acronym (Always Be Closing), but it does offer a real alternative to the ‘stack-em-high-sell-em-cheap’ merchants who go straight for the kill.

Dunne discusses how the ‘DRIVE’ model can help you plan for success in meetings. Desired outcomes, Risks to avoid, Investment not to exceed, Vision or Values and Essential outcomes are all discussed in detail to help you think and prepare for the sales meeting.

Dunne and Hurson mention that many salespeople are still strangers to their clients even after selling to them for some time. What the book does is offer insights into how to build problem-solving relationships so that you don’ have to resort to closing ‘tricks’ that will cause more problems than they solve.

All-in-all, a satisfying read for you if you need a boost to your sales repertoire.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of Vendesocial)

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment