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Looking At Sales Success From A Different Perspective

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Success path conceptOne of my team has been running a successful sales programme for a large international client and, during one of our recent meetings; he mentioned how the client’s sales teams have been intrigued by our perspective on selling in the 21st century.

Many sales programmes put the emphasis on the sales process and how we should present solutions based on our products and services. This is commonly known as the ‘push’ method of selling; that is, the product or service is the main subject of conversation and the salesperson’s job is to push these onto the decision-maker, highlighting features and benefits of the products so they can see why they should buy.

Most buyers tell us this act alone is enough for objectives to come up or value to be questioned. Why? Because the brain’s natural inclination when put under any kind of pressure is to resist or fight back. A ‘push’ style of selling will always induce a form of pressure or stress, because every buyer we have come across doesn’t want to be sold to….but they do want to be given the opportunity to buy.

My trainer told me how he has been discussing our new, quantifiable method called ‘180 selling’. The 180 refers to the degrees difference between our perspective as a salesperson and the perspective of the buyer. By turning your attention around 180 degrees, you see things from a completely different angle.

As an example, most sales people will approach a prospect with questions in their mind like “How can I sell this product or service into their business? How will my product help their business? What benefits can I highlight that will impress them?”

These are normal questions that many sales people have been asking for years. But the ‘180 selling’ process looks form the angle of the prospect. The salesperson asks questions like “What position is this business currently in? What market are they operating in? What solutions would be best for their business right now?”

These questions ask you to think about the prospect’s business, not your product. The focus becomes one of building trust with the prospect because of the nature of your interests, by concentrating on their situation.

For example, if you sell photocopiers, rather than concentrating on how your machine copies 15% quicker than their current model (a feature), think what benefits their business would achieve with your new model.

Saying something like “You said that you currently make between 1000 and 1500 copies per day, and it takes between two and two-and-a-half hours to complete. How valuable would it be to the business if you could save 15% of your photocopying time (that’s about 25 minutes per day) each and every day?” would show you’re thinking of their business rather than your wiz-bang machine.

The buyer is now contemplating how that time saving could allow them to invest in other more valuable activities. It’s making them think of their business benefits, rather than having to work out why they should go for a particular product simply because it’s quicker than what they currently have. Saying your machine churns out copies 15% quicker doesn’t link to their business needs or benefits. Asking how they would improve their time efficiencies, and what their business could do with those savings, does.

So when you are planning or preparing for your next visit, think of ‘180 selling’. Think about how you could position whatever it is you sell from the perspective of the business that will be using it in the future. Identify the benefits in the long term. In our example above, the business could save 500 minutes per working month. That’s over 8 hours, or a whole working day. With that time saving they could employ someone much more efficiently and effectively. They just need to see it from a different perspective.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Mindset | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Guarantee Your Audience Will Sit Up And Take Notice

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bOnce in a while, I come across a film or video that makes an impression on me and I say to myself that I have to let as many people as possible see it.

This particular short film amused and intrigued me at the same time. You know when you fly in an aircraft that the safety film is really important, but most of the passengers simply carry on reading their newspapers or talking to their fellow passengers.

 

This film is guaranteed to have you sitting up and paying attention. Enjoy!

 

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It’s a great example of how to ‘sell’ safety by making it interesting, informative and entertaining.

It may not be possible for you to make a film of your products or services like this but you could think about how you can appeal to your prospects’ sense of curiosity and wonder the next time you present.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Here Is One Interesting Way To Deal With An Objection…

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hypnotistOften in a meeting, you’ll get to the point where the prospect brings up an objection. This is the point where the disadvantages of your solution or concerns they have about it outweigh the benefits they would get from choosing it.

Many salespeople at this point would handle the objection and move on. But there’s an interesting technique that might seem at first counter-intuitive, but actually works well.

It involves asking for more objections. What you’re looking for is to get all the objections you can get, hence clearing out the minefield that might be lurking in the customer’s mind.

The advantage of this is that you now know all the reasons they have for not buying and can decide what to do about them.

For example, if they bring up the issue of price and you then start dealing with it, you may have dealt with that one specific issue and think there’s nothing now to stop you from progressing. But then they bring up another objection, and you have to go through the whole ordeal of dealing with that one too. This could go on and on.

However, you want to approach the situation from the mindset of joint problem-solving. That is, you want to be on their side and help them see how their objection is justified in their eyes and see what can be done about them.

You do this by asking questions like, “Are there any other reasons why you are not yet ready? Is there anything else that is stopping you from going ahead? There appears to be more concerns than you have raised here…what else might be on your mind?”

This now gives you the opportunity to bring out exactly what might be on the mind of the customer, and you can approach them from the right direction.

After hearing the customer out, you could respond with something like, “So, you’re concerned about the pricing structure for the orders you are thinking of making, and you want the deliveries to be made to more branches than we originally quoted for. Plus, you’re not sure about our credit terms and whether they are the best we could offer. Have I got that right?”

This shows a number of things. Firstly, you’ve really listened to their concerns; then, you’ve highlighted the main ones and simplified them in language you both can identify with; and then you’ve confirmed that your understanding is correct by checking back with them.

Now you’re in a position to deal with these situations as a complete package rather than having to deal first with the pricing structure, then the delivery issues and finally the credit terms separately, which would have been the case if you had dealt with them individually.

It may be that you can link the pricing structure to the credit terms discussion, leaving the issue of deliveries until you’ve agreed on the principles of value for the products.

The benefits are that you can see the big picture much clearer when everything is out in the open instead of having to deal with them one at a time.

Try it and see if it works for you. You may find you are able to deal with any objections in a much more efficient and effective way.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Objection Handling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

5 Essential Steps To Eliminate Fear When Selling

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fearFear is one of the most debilitating emotions a human being can experience. It can stop you emotionally and physically from carrying out even mundane tasks, depending on the level of fear experienced.

Being fearful is not something that can normally be instantly put aside. If you’re really concerned about an upcoming meeting, where you feel you may be put on the spot, or you haven’t prepared enough for, someone telling you that ‘it’s ok, everything will be alright’ isn’t actually very helpful, because the person suffering knows that the opposite will probably be true.

Psychologists tell us that fear is a protection mechanism that the brain employs when it realises it faces a dangerous, difficult or pain-inducing position. Wikipedia’s approach is ‘Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present, or to a future situation, which is perceived as risk to health or life, status, power, security, or in the case of humans wealth or anything held valuable. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.’

The fear-triggering memory or stimulus can make us appear nervous wrecks in front of decision-makers. But remembering that it is there for a purpose should help us as salespeople in coping with the situations we have to face. If you also remember that FEAR could stand for False Expectation Appearing Real, it could help you approach that situation with a little less trepidation.

What can you do if you face a situation that makes you fearful? NHS Choices give us some tips on how to deal with those types of situations. Here are just a few:

1. What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

When you’re anxious about something, it can help to think through what the worst end result could be. Even if a presentation, a call or a meeting goes horribly wrong, chances are that you and the world will survive. Sometimes the worst that can happen is a panic attack.

If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it. Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Placing the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathing slowly and deeply (no more than 12 breaths a minute) helps soothe the body.

It may take a while, but eventually the panic will go away on its own. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.

2. Get Real

Fears tend to be much worse than reality. Often, sales people who have been rejected feel that it will happen on every call, but with proper preparation, it may not happen that way again. Similarly, people sometimes tell themselves they’re a failure because they don’t hit their targets every campaign. This then makes them feel pretty bad. But when you recognise these fears are normal, the anxiety often goes away.

3. Don’t Expect Perfection

Black-and-white perfectionist thinking such as, “If I’m not the best salesperson in my company, I’m a failure,” could be unrealistic and only set us up for anxiety.

Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s essential to remember that life is messy.

4. Go Back To Basics

A good sleep, a good meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety. The easiest way to fall asleep when worries are spiralling through the mind can be to stop trying to nod off. Instead, try to stay awake.

Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-treat anxiety with the idea that it will make them feel better, but these only make nervousness worse. On the other hand, eating well will make you feel great physically and mentally.

5. Reward Yourself

Give yourself a treat. When you’ve met that decision-maker from hell or made that call you’ve been dreading, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a country walk, a concert, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy. You will associate this success with overcoming the fear, so next time you brain will concentrate on how well you did last time and help you to look forward to the situation next time.

It may be that your fears are actually hindering your sales success and causing more problems than these five ideas could solve. In those cases, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been successful in helping people overcome fear. Because fear is more complex than just forgetting or deleting memories, an active and successful approach involves people repeatedly confronting their fears. By confronting their fears—in a safe manner—a person can suppress the fear-triggering memory or stimulus.

Above all, don’t think that you are alone in having fears. Every human being, no matter how confident they appear, will have fears, so be aware that they can be overcome with the right strategies and approaches.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The 5 Stages Of The Customer’s Decision Making Process

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Young person thinking with a machine head illustrationWhen people make decisions, they have a shift of perspective. That is, they stop wondering about the choices they can make and now start to live with the consequences of that decision.

The word comes from the Latin “Desicio”, literally meaning ‘to cut off from’. So when your prospect makes a decision, he or she is cutting off from any other alternative.

This can be quite frightening for some people, as it mean they have made a choice and they no longer have options. Some may actually feel happy when they have options, as it means they can choose between various things. An actual decision means they have no need to seek further options, and that can make them feel fearful, in case they made the wrong decision and are cut off from other choices.

So, what is the process that most people go through in order to make a buying decision? It’s not always as clear-cut as this, but here’s a six-stage process that would make sense to most buyers:

1) Recognising They Have A Problem. Until that is clear, people would stay in their comfort zone and see no need for a change to the status quo. The only reason a decision has to be made is because the current situation doesn’t match their map of what reality should be. They have to move away from the pain, loss, challenge or problem they are experiencing and toward a solution. You’re there to develop that need and help them on the journey

2) Search For Solution. As soon as the problem/challenge is recognised, the search for the solution can begin. Various criteria are drawn up to determine what would be a successful outcome for the situation as it stands. This is often done on-line but will also involve face-to-face discussions to create the journey towards solving the problem

3) Evaluate Available Solutions. As soon as potential solutions have been verified, the next step is to weigh up the potential for each alternative. Will it help me achieve my goals? Does it fit my decision criteria? Will one option be better than any other? By making the evaluation, the prospect is able to weigh up the consequences of each choice and so ease the fear of making the wrong choice

4) Make The Choice And Decide. This is the crux and will determine the success of the whole process. This ‘cutting-off’ point may be exactly right for the company and solve their challenges immediately. Or it may be the first step on a journey that may take a long time to evolve. Hopefully, the decision-maker has evaluated the pros and cons and made the right decision against the criteria they were basing their decision on.

5) Evaluation Of The Decision. It may take minutes, hours, days or weeks for the final decision to be made. But when it’s been completed, the next stage is to see the value of the service or product in actual use. If it lives up to expectation, then the decision can be verified; if it doesn’t, then recriminations often begin.

It may be only a small decision that is being contemplated, or it could be a massive, long-term venture the company is embarking on. The same process could apply. If you ensure you are there each step of the way on the journey, you create opportunities to assist the prospect in the whole process, hence reducing the fears and giving them confidence that making the decision to go with you was the right one all along.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Decision Makers, Sales Process | Leave a comment