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How To Make Sure You’re Selling The “Right Kind Of Value”

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

selling goldWhat was that? You mean, there are different kinds of value the customer is looking for?

Boy, I thought it was hard enough selling value to my customer, and now you’re telling me that there may be different ways that they evaluate value! What can I do about that?

This is often the reaction when we discussion the concept of selling value on our courses. It can be puzzling to the salesperson when the prospect highlights differing values that they will require to be dealt with during the sales process.

There are basically four types of values that a prospect will be judging your offerings against: Strategic, operational, political and psychological.

They may tell you endlessly that operational issues are the main criteria they will use to assess the benefits of your products. What will they be able to accomplish if they choose you? What savings will I be able to present to the board? How successful will my project be if I use your services?

Operational and even strategic and political issues will come into play if you are selling at a high level. Yet, the drive of the psychological values is most often the ones that are most powerful.

You don’t need to be told that people buy products and services to help them fulfil deep-seated psychological needs. You know that already. But what needs specifically are catered for by using your products and services?

The main psychological values are ensuring survival, avoiding pain, being part of a group and satisfying the ego. Anything else they may say they need (return on investment, the lowest cost per unit, highest production ratio to cost, etc.) is really a means to an end…the need being one of the psychological needs above.

When we asked one client of ours why they continued to use us, the summary was really interesting. This is what was said: “When we first started using you, we knew you weren’t the cheapest. In some areas, your competitors were even better. But we knew that we wanted a long-term relationship, and to be able to get on with the trainers and support team. That was more important to us, and you were the only company we trusted could offer that for us.”

We recognised that trust was really important for this client, and that equated to avoiding the pain of making a wrong decision, plus satisfying the ego. Everything else fitted into place when those psychological needs were dealt with.

These needs can override other, more outward-looking analyses that customers may feel they require. Decisions are made on an emotional basis, and justified later with logic. What the customer may perceive to be a rational need really turns out to be an emotional want.

For example, “We need the lowest price per unit” actually turns out to be “I want to show my boss I can drive a hard bargain, so he sees me as assertive and respects my judgement.

Also, “We need delivery within one week” actually turns out to be “If I can get such a quick delivery, I will show those people in accounts that I can be trusted after all”.

So, try to identify the psychological reason why the value is so important to the prospect, and you’ll see opportunities that may not have been evident before.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of mistermong at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

Posted in Sales Process | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Spend The Five Minutes Before Meeting Your Prospect

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at five minutes to twelve o clockSome salespeople relish meeting new prospects. They love the anticipation of the initial stages, are keen and eager to assess the business opportunities and are happy to build relationships that sometimes last years.

Others are not so secure. They become nervous about the impression they are about to make and are concerned about saying or doing the wrong thing with a person who could make or break the sale or long-term future relationship.

Whatever your situation (and there are probably countless other feelings going through your mind and body before meeting a prospect for the first time), there are some things you can and should do in the time building up to the meeting that will prove to be advantageous and rewarding.

Whether you do these while sitting in your car on the prospect’s car park, on the train journey to the meeting, or in the reception, they will help you in the few minutes prior to meeting the prospect.

- Complete your preparation: You’ve read their LinkedIn profile, re-read the google reports on the company and acquaint yourself with the up-to-date news that has been published or is on-line about the company or individual. Just skim read this info again, so you’re clear on what is current.

- Be clear on your objectives. What do you want to achieve from this meeting? Is it clear in your mind? If you can’t get this primary objective, what’s the least you want from the meeting? If you can hit your secondary objective, it means the meeting hasn’t been a failure.

- Think of the small talk you want to have that will set the scene as you go with the prospect to their office or wherever the meeting will be: Don’t over-prepare this, but have something of interest to say in the first few moments after the handshake. By the way, a long-winded description of the terrible journey you had would not be appropriate here. If you actually did have the journey from hell, just say something like “Well, you know how traffic is these days!”. You don’t want to start off on a negative point!

- Get into the right state of mind: This involves creating clarity of ideas and identifying how you will keep on track during the meeting. The state of mind might be one of ‘discovery’, where you spend time asking quality questions. Or you might be at the ‘negotiating’ phase with this prospect. In this case, you will want to have the frame of mind that allows you to listen effectively and build negotiable interests. Whatever the aims and objectives are, decide on the best mindset to achieve those goals.

The final five minutes before any meeting should be used to prepare and pre-frame the time you will spend together. It could be called ‘golden time’ as it can supply rich pickings if you get it right. Aim to arrive early just so you can achieve the right outcomes for you and the prospect.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Meetings | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Respond To “Call Me Back In 6 Months”

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

scream phoneYes, it’s that old chestnut again: the age-old-how-can-I-get-rid-of-this-pesky-salesperson answer.

Most prospects will use this simply to get rid of you and if you take it on face value, you might feel there might be a chance in six months’ time. Your manager asks you about this prospect and you say,

“Yep, this one’s in the bag…all I need is to go back in six months and the order’s mine, all mine”.

Well, some will be genuine and really mean they will be making a decision in 6 months. With others, it may well be a stall. Reasons for the stall may include:

  • They’re not the true decision-maker
  • They don’t like the product or service
  • They don’t like the price
  • They don’t have the money
  • They don’t like you
  • They simply want to get rid of you

The best way to determine if it’s genuine or they are simply playing for time is to ask specific questions. These might include:

  • What will be different in 6 months?
  • What’s preventing you from making a decision today?
  • Would you actually be buying in 6 months’ time?
  • How will the decision be made at that time?
  • Would you like to purchase now and pay in 6 months? (If you offer this kind of credit, of course)
  • Would you like me to show you how much you would save if you bought today, rather than in 6 months?

Remember though that any delay is not really the fault of the prospect. It’s more often than not the fact that you haven’t built up the value in their eyes of making the decision now. By determining how valuable a decision today would be to the prospect, you accentuate the benefits and lessen the value of making a choice further down the line.

Think how much benefit it would be to them to make that choice today and communicate that value in hard cash terms to the prospect. That way, the emphasis is on how the individuals concerned would gain from a quick decision, and you create awareness of how this decision is really the right one to take right here, right now!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Artur84  at

Posted in Telesales | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Only 4 Reasons Your Prospect Will Buy

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

shakerIt’s really quite simple when you consider it: customers become customers if you solve a business problem or create an opportunity for them.

That’s basically it, really. But so many salespeople think that just regurgitating a whole brochure-load of facts and information about their products or services will do this for the customer. Unfortunately, this makes the customer have to do the hard work. They have to make the connection between what you’re saying and how it will impact their business in the future.

So, the best way to encourage the customer to think of your solution is to link up with the valid business reasons why they should make the decision to go with you.

So, ask yourself, “What valid business reasons have I got for the customer to see me today?”

Here are some of the main business reasons people will see you and consider your solution:

1)  My solution will have an measurable and important impact on their business results

Somewhere down the line, the solution has to satisfy this basic business need better than their current supplier or add something to what they have in a different way.

2)  My solution will get customers the results they want quicker or more efficiently than the competition.

If your solution increases the urgency for the customer, you have another valid reason for them to listen to you

3)  My solution will make the decision-maker look good and help them achieve their goals in the business

Most decision-makers will be able to see the relationship between how the solution affects their business and the kudos they gain by choosing it too. If that can be advanced during the discussions, there is validity in considering your solution.

4)  My solution takes away the pain or achieves a gain better than what they are doing now or with a current competitor 

It takes a lot for a company to change suppliers. There has to be clear and measurable distance between the current position and future possibilities for a person to even consider a change. So your solution has to been seen as alleviating the problem or achieving a realistic goal in a much better way than anything else they are using.

So, think about how your product or service will help the prospect achieve any of the above. One or two is good. Three is better. All four is the ideal.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image by stockimages at

Posted in Prospecting | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Be A First Rate Version Of Yourself, Not A Second Rate Version Of Someone Else

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1st placeI remember years ago being on a training course where we were learning coaching skills. The facilitator was coaching someone to use a golf putter when they had never played golf in their life. It was fun to watch this person try to hit a golf ball a few yards across the room into a cup laying on its side.

The person tried a few times, and with the coach’s help, eventually managed to get the ball into the cup, to cheers and applause from everyone around. The smile on his face showed he was proud of his accomplishment, even though a little embarrassed by the attention.

The discussions centered around how we could improve as individuals and one person said that if we modelled someone like Tiger Woods (who was number one at the time), we would eventually be as good as him.

The facilitator then said that even if we did model ourselves on Tiger, would we ever be as good as him? Our conclusion was that, as Tiger had been hitting golf balls since he was 3 years old, we probably wouldn’t ever be as good as him. Then the facilitator said something that I wrote down and have had in my learning journal ever since.

He said, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, rather than a second-rate version of someone else”.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that we as humans tend to compare ourselves against others’ accomplishments and feel that we have to in some way ‘compete’ with them in order to be a ‘good’ person. The winner is honoured, the losers forgotten. (Do you remember who came second and third to Usain Bolt in 100 metres at the London Olympics?).

But that quote from the facilitator on that day brought it home to me that, actually, we would probably always lose if we were trying to copy someone else. In sales, this would include trying to use the script of someone else to sell our products, or copying a successful person’s characteristics when with a client. What could be the possible outcome?

Well, we might try to be as assertive as another person, so we can come across as being confident and assured. Unfortunately, if we move outside our comfort zone without a support mechanism behind us, we naturally fall back into that zone, as we feel safe there.

It’s far better to take our own skills, talents and attributes and try to improve those, instead of looking at what someone else does and trying to emulate or live up to their standards. You are not them. You don’t have their thought patterns or abilities. You don’t have their mindset.

By all means take note of how successful people have achieved that success. But make them applicable to your own persona, build confidence from building your own foundations and create situations where you have the natural ability to improve, rather than thinking you must try to be like someone else.

That first rate version of you will always make you feel better than the second rate version of someone else.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Stuart Miles at

Posted in Lessons For Sales People | Tagged , | 1 Comment