All posts by Sean McPheat

Hi! I'm the founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training - we offer sales training solutions for companies both large and small. I'm blessed to work with 25 of the most talented trainers in the UK....well, I did recruit them! ;-) Today, we've delivered training in over 23 countries to over 3,500 different organisations and 100,000 staff. Our clients include Xerox, Friends Provident, Starbucks, Taylor Wimpey, CISCO, Allianz and Lloyds TSB to name but a few.

Use These 3 Cross Selling Questions To Generate More Business From Existing Clients

People who manage sales have to achieve growth.

There are different ways that this can be achieved:

Sell more to existing customers

Prevent existing customers from going to a competitor

Find new customers

Sell new products

For many people in sales the challenge is to grow their customer base by finding new customers.

However, what many salespeople fail to recognise is the potential within their existing customer base.

Cross selling is where we sell additional products to existing customers.

The theory is that if we have a satisfied customer who has been happy with our service they will be willing to hear about other products or services that we offer.

Many people in sales find this approach pushy and uncomfortable.

This is because they feel they need to do a sales pitch on an additional product then go for a close.

All high pressure stuff!

The answer is that you don’t need to rush into a high pressure sales pitch.

Asking questions is 3 times more persuasive than presenting information.

Let’s say you are selling Buildings insurance cover for the cost of damage and repairs.

You do a good job and have a lot of satisfied customers.

You also provide contents insurance, but are more expensive than the larger insurance companies.

Most people give up at this point and don’t try to cross sell.

The key to cross selling is to ask questions.

In this case 3 questions are enough:

  1. Who covers you for your house insurance?
  2. Do you know the renewal date?
  3. Would it be okay if we contacted you around then to discuss our house insurance policy and give you a quote?

Most salespeople fail because they don’t try.

They convince themselves the customer won’t be interested and worry about rejection.

The best salespeople take a few seconds at the end of the meeting to ask simple, low pressure questions to find out if there is an opportunity to cross sell.

Up selling is a process by which we try to work out whether what the customer has bought from us is really what they need.

It is very common for salespeople to sell a lower priced product or service because it is easier to sell.

However, if it turns out to be the wrong solution for the customer this can lead to problems further down the line.

Again the answer is to ask the right questions.

Explore the facts first of all, then the consequences of them making the wrong decision.

At the end of the day the customer has to make the choice that they feel is right for them.

As salespeople we need to offer the best alternative and make sure the customer realises the consequences of ‘down buying’.

Again, the danger is that if we don’t offer the best solution and things go wrong we will get the blame and we may lose the customer for good.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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5 Quick Tips On How To Generate Fresh Leads Through LinkedIn

When it comes to modern day selling, sales professionals and business owners alike can find real value in the LinkedIn platform as a sales tool, as there is so much potential for you to prospect for and engage with new leads and current clients online.

There are numerous different ways I in which you can use LinkedIn to network with c-suite decision makers and build your internet footprint, but here I thought I would take you back to basics and show you how you should be maintaining your LinkedIn presence on a weekly basis.

You see, in order to get the best out of the platform you need to contribute frequently on LinkedIn, to ensure that you are always at the forefront of your prospects’ minds whenever they access the site.

Keeping up-to-date with your LinkedIn connections – as with any social media site – requires a certain level of dedication, but there are a few simple tasks you can pursue on a weekly basis to ensure that you maintain your presence on LinkedIn.

After all, you have worked hard to build up your LinkedIn activity and you shouldn’t let this fall by the wayside simply due to time constraints, so here are 4 quick tips to help you manage your LinkedIn account on a weekly basis:

Keep Your Content Fresh

Generating new content consistently is a vital aspect of building your personal brand and positioning yourself as an industry expert in your field, ensuring that you are the go-to-guy when your prospects and searching for the products and services you provide online.

But more importantly than just generating new thought leadership content, is making sure that you distribute this in spaces where your prospects will find it.

LinkedIn is a great platform for sharing your content and there are so many applications you can use to do this, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your most recent blog post on your profile, your latest business read on your Amazon Reading List and an up-to-date presentation on your Slideshare app.

The more content you distribute the more you will build your presence on the platform, and taking 5 minutes out of your week to ensure it is all up-to-date is definitely worth your while.

R&R – Recommend And Be Recommended

A recent survey by Nielsen found that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so the fact that the LinkedIn platform gives you the opportunity to request and display your recommendations is a real bonus for any sales professional – so make the most of it.

Do be afraid to ask for recommendations via LinkedIn, and ensure that you follow up with this on a regular basis, as the more glowing recommendations you have for your work, the more trustworthy and reliable you will appeal to any prospects that land on your LinkedIn profile.

It’s also important that you are seen to recommend your LinkedIn connections whenever they ask, as few people will want to recommend you if you are selfish about returning the favour.

Take half an hour at least once a month to request new recommendations from your satisfied clients, and return the favour for any connections who have requested one from you.

After all, we all need a bit of R&R every now and again!

Take 10 To Make A Contribution

Your LinkedIn Groups are a hotbed of potential contacts, and contributing regularly to key discussions happening in these groups will help you to network and engage with more and more connections – as well as helping to build your profile as an industry expert.

Taking 10 minutes out of your day to contribute to 2 or 3 discussions via your LinkedIn groups or on the LinkedIn Answers platform will help to keep you at the forefront of relevant discussions surrounding your business.

Turn Your Business Cards Into LinkedIn Connections

As a sales professional or business owner, you’re likely to collect a tidy little pile of business cards from your meetings with your clients over the month, so don’t let these vital contacts go to waste.

Instead, find a bit of time in your week to search for these contacts on LinkedIn and invite them to connect with you.

If you find that some are not currently on the platform then you can also use their information to invite them to join you as a LinkedIn member, which will give you an opportunity to engage with them further following on from your meeting.

An Hour A Week Is All It Takes

Prospecting, networking and engaging with key decision makers via LinkedIn doesn’t have to be taxing, and taking as little as an hour out of your week to keep yourself up-to-date on the platform will really help you get the most out of your activity on the site.

By maintaining your presence on LinkedIn you are maintaining that all important contact with prospects and clients alike – and this is a hugely important factor in selling the modern way.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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12 Attributes ALL Salespeople Need To Be Successful

People often ask me what makes a successful salesperson?

Technical ability, product knowledge and communication skills rank highly.

However, being successful in sales doesn’t require academic ability, good looks or a posh accent.

The most important attribute you need is confidence.

Here are some tips on increasing your self-confidence:

Start with you.

Being fit and healthy is important.

Eat a healthy diet.

Get regular exercise and invest in your personal relationships.

If you are fit, healthy and happy at home you are more likely to be happy at work.

Invest in your business dress.

Whether you are male or female spend some time effort and cash in improving your appearance.

The better you look the more confident you will feel.

Become an expert in your field.

Many people in sales don’t invest time in getting to know more about their subject.

There are many hundreds of books that have been written about sales and selling.

If you read just 3, or 4 books a year you would be better off than most of your colleagues.

Find a role model.

Find someone who is already successful and match what they do.

Many successful people are happy to share the secrets of their success.

Set yourself objectives.

Successful people have clearly defined objectives both for the long and the short term.

Put together a plan.

Objectives are great but without a plan they often remain unfulfilled.

Set yourself timescales.

Work out a strategy and begin putting things into practice.

Review progress on a regular basis and change the plan as required.

Work on your body language.

When you meet people look them in the eye and smile.

Have a positive handshake and try to look and sound confident.

Build rapport by asking questions rather than talking.

Use effective listening skills.

When you are talking to someone respond to what they are saying by using verbal and non-verbal listening techniques.

Verbal listening techniques include asking questions and summarising what has been said.

Non-verbal techniques are physical responses that show you are interested.

These can include nodding, smiling, taking notes, responding visually in an appropriate way and looking relaxed and interested.

In meetings sit up straight.

I know that this is probably what your mother told you to do when you were young, but it has been estimated that our body language represents 55% of the message we send out at meetings.

Tone of voice represents 38% of the message and the words we use only represents 7% of the message we send.

Do something scary!

Volunteer to make a presentation to a group or set yourself a task that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Make 20 cold calls.

Go to the theatre on your own.

Just do something that makes you feel nervous and you will feel a real sense of achievement when you realise that everything is possible and achievable.

Build up your network.

Keep in touch with your customers and build in time on a regular basis to prospect and expand your network.

Keep a sense of perspective.

We all find ourselves in situations where we don’t feel confident.

Try to remain positive and keep a sense of perspective.

Buyers will always claim that your competitors always give great service are cheaper than you and are great people to deal with.

Just keep reminding them what a great service you give and what value for money this represents.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How To Use Both Logic & Emotion When Selling To Your Prospects

Did you know that every buying decision is an emotional one?

People buy something from you because they either want it or desire it.

Wants and desires are emotional triggers and are much different to  a persons needs.

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

How many times in the past have you needed something but never actually purchased it?

Likewise, how many times have you purchased something (i.e a want) but you didn’t actually need it?

Thing is, we buy using emotion first and then we rationalise our decision by bringing needs into the equation.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about here.

When was the last time you actually needed a bag of fish and chips?

Did you actually say to yourself “I really need these additional 1300 calories of fat and grease?”

Of course you didn’t!

Were there any other alternatives around?

Sure there were.

But maybe you worked hard all week and fancied a treat or you didn’t have the time to cook anything so you went down the chippy!

Well, that’s what I call rationalising the want and turning it into a need!

Let’s take another example – what about that flash car that you have just bought?

Did you actually need it?

Was it the only option available?

Was there going to be any consequences if you did not buy it?

Of course not!

So why did you buy it then?

Well it’s because you wanted it.

A nice car is a status symbol of success and it makes you feel more confident.

It looks good outside your home and when you turn up to clients offices for sales visits and it makes you look kool too and you justified your decision to buy the car for those very reasons.

But you didn’t need it.

You could have got a much cheaper car and it would have satisfied your need for transportation.

But that new sexy, shiny, and head turner of a car that is sitting out there in the car park was bought because you wanted it.

Please remember that buying decisions are emotional decisions and they are then rationalised to persuade your logical mind that you actually need it.

That exactly what you need to do with your prospects as well.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How This Slight Change In Mindset Will Smash Your Sales Targets…

Most salespeople are set sales targets.

These are usually expressed in terms of turnover, market share, profitability, number of new accounts and renewal of existing contracts and so on.

The problem with being in sales is that everything we do is measured and if we are underperforming we are vulnerable.

It’s not our sales manager’s fault.

He or she is also measured on results and are equally vulnerable if the results of the team aren’t good.

I learned many years ago that if you are exceeding target they tend to leave you alone so I made it a priority to understand how to beat my sales targets on a consistent basis.

Here are a few thoughts:

Always challenge your target if you feel it is artificially high or unfair.

Use logical arguments rather than emotional arguments to present your case.

Aim to hit target before the year end.

I work on the basis that there are 40 working weeks in the year during which I have to hit target.

Call me old fashioned but I prefer not to be hitting target on New Year’s Eve!!

Begin by realising you can’t manage your target, which is an output.

You can’t manage outputs.

What you can manage is inputs.

Inputs are all the activities that make up a typical day in the life of a salesperson.

These include things like cold calling, booking appointments, going to see customers, selling over the phone, negotiating with customers and asking for referrals.

What we need to do is to set ourselves targets for all these activities so that we hit our overall target by the end of the year.

It is really important to measure your sales activity and results.

Remember, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.

By measuring activity and results we can predict future results more accurately.

Key ratios.

If we make 100 cold calls and, as a result, gain 10 appointments the key ratio here is 1:10.

What this means is that if we need to book 6 appointments in the future it makes sense to have 60 prospects to call up.

Here is a simple target broken down into sales activity:

Annual target:                                      £400,000

Average sales value:                            £5,000

Number of sales required:                    80 per annum

Number of working weeks:                   40

Sales per week:                                     2

Key ratio: Appointments: Sales              4:1

Number of appointments per week:        8

Key ratio: Telephone calls:                     Appointments made 5:1

Number of potential customers:             40 contacted per week

The target of £400,000 is broken down first of all by looking at the average sales value.

Because the average sales value is £5,000 we need to achieve 80 sales to achieve target.

Given that we are assuming 40 working weeks we need to achieve an average of 2 sales per week and as we have assumed that it takes 4 appointments to achieve a sale we need to be getting 8 appointments a week.

On average, in this example, it takes 5 telephone calls to get an appointment so we need to be making 40 contacts per week to potential customers.

Some targets are more complicated and it may not be possible to plan this accurately.

However the basic principles apply:

You must have a plan.

Planning is imperfect and our assumptions usually turn out wrong but the plan can be amended and changed over time giving us better data to produce future plans.

Agree your plan with your manager.

The more work you put into developing your plan the more persuasive it will be.

Don’t let your manager force a target on you that is illogical or unreasonable.

Give your manager regular feedback.

This is especially important if there is bad news.

Give bad news early.

This gives everyone involved the opportunity to deal with it with plenty of time to spare.

Keep reviewing and updating your plan.

Work hard and measure everything.

There’s a good chance if you plan well and achieve results they will promote you!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How Salespeople Build Rapport Using Body Language

Understanding body language is an important skill for salespeople to learn.

However, it is important that we understand some key concepts first:

Look for more than one sign.

Try this for example.

Cross your arms.

It feels good doesn’t it?

You are hugging yourself.

Yet, if you read books on body language they will tell you that this is a negative signal that is being sent out.

You have closed down your body language and are being defensive.

We have to link verbal and non-verbal signals to understand the real message that is being sent out.

If I have my arms crossed and, at the same time I am saying what a great time I had at the match last night I am being positive.

If I look worried and am describing a service problem that I recently experienced then I am feeling negative.

Look for more than one clue.

Look for clusters of body language.

Look for changes in body language.

I attended a presentation recently and at one point members of the audience leant forward and started to make notes.

This told me that the presenter had just said something of interest, but he missed it and continued with the presentation.

I would have asked a few questions if I had been him.

Some of my top tips to help you look and sound more confident:

Eye contact.

Make positive eye contact when communicating.

Don’t stare but make regular contact.

This says you are confident.

Body posture.

Stand up straight and face the other person.


Look as if you are enjoying yourself

Personal space.

Different cultures tolerate different personal spaces.

For example, some cultures are very expressive when it comes to physical touch.

Think about Italy where a big hug and kiss on each cheek is considered a common and acceptable greeting, and then compare it to Japan where a proper greeting consists of a respectful bow and no touch at all.

Slow down a bit.

This goes for many things.

Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed.

Talk a bit more slowly too.

It makes you seem more thoughtful and intelligent.

Respond to what is being said.

Use non-verbal listening techniques; smiling, nodding, changing your facial expression to demonstrate that you are listening.

Try not to interrupt.

This is irritating and makes you appear less confident.

Match, or mirror their changes in body language.

When we feel comfortable in a group we match, or mirror the body language of others without thinking.

This can be done proactively to build rapport.

Avoid negative signals.

We all know when the person we are talking to is in a rush or late for a meeting.

Looking at their watch, pointing their body towards the exit and looking frustrated.

Dress for success.

Yes, it is a cliché but how you look determines how people respond to you.

Invest in quality business clothes and take care of your appearance.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How To Avoid “I’m Just Looking”

If you work in the retail industry then this tip is just for you!

No doubt, if you have worked on the shop floor, hearing those three dreaded words “I’m Just Looking” have annoyed you, aggravated you and made you quite angry at times.

Well, many customers will say this as a stimulus response to get you off their back and to give them a “breather” whether they are actually buying or not.

Some customers will say it because your greeting is the 12th one they have heard that day and they are fed up with being approached by sales people.

No matter what their reasons are for saying it, just appreciated that it is an automatic response.

So how can you overcome the “I’m just looking” response.

Well, here are two tips to help you.

 Firstly, the greeting you use is key.

Think about the most common greetings you say to your customers on a regular basis.

You might even find out that you use same greeting every time

Well, if you are using common openings like “How may I help you?” or “Do you need any help?” you are leaving yourself wide open for a “I’m just looking” response.

Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use those openings but you should vary them throughout the day depending upon the circumstances and the customer.

You really do need to make yourself different to the rest.

Just think about it – your customer may have been in 7 different shops before yours and has received the same opening from every sales person!

They will be really wracked off if they hear “How can I help?” one more time!

Make yourself different from your competition.

Make the customer say to themselves “That was different” or “That was not the norm”.

So what sort of greetings can you use?

Well, look at the circumstances in your shop and then tailor your approach.

For example, you are selling mobile phones and someone is looking at a top of

the range brand new model – you could say something like “They make them more smaller and more stylish all of the time don’t they?” or “That’s a real stylish design isn’t it?”

If the customer is young, looks hip and trendy you could say something like “That’s a real kool design isn’t it?”.

If the customer is wearing an expensive suit, looks business like and formal you could try “XYZ supplier keep on pushing the boundaries with their models – it looks amazing doesn’t it?”

Think about what you currently use today and then write down some openings that you could use in the future for different types of people and then use the circumstances in the shop to tailor them and adapt them accordingly.

Secondly, inject some humour into your opening.

People buy from people that they know, like and trust.

By creating an opening based on humour you will break down some of the buying barriers that may already exist with your customer.

It is also a great way to build up some rapport right from the word go.

It will also be something that your competitors will most likely not have done so it will put you at a distinct advantage over them.

So how can you inject humour into your opening?

Well, there is a great opportunity to use humour when you get the “I’m just looking” response so you could actually set that up if you wanted to.

“Hi, can I help you with anything?”

“Oh, I’m just looking”

“That’s no problem, please feel free as it’s the only thing that the Prime Minister has not managed to tax yet”


“Hi, how may I help you?”

“I’m just looking thanks”

“No problem, It’s a lot warmer in here than it is out there! When you see something that you like, look for me and I’ll let you know whether it qualifies for the special offers that we have go on today. Was there anything that you were looking for in particular?”

Creating an effective opening can make or break a sale.

So I hope those tips will help you to overcome the “I’m just looking” but remember they will only help you if you actually implement them.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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14 Quick Tips On Becoming A More Assertive Salesperson

One definition of assertiveness is being confident and direct in dealing with others.

Assertive people know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.

They also respect the feelings and needs of others and are prepared to negotiate solutions that are acceptable to both sides.

Aggressive people want to win at all costs.

Passive people give in and are prepared to lose in order to keep the other person happy.

Here are some tips on becoming more assertive:

Work on your appearance.

How you look tells a lot about you.

55% of the message you send out when you meet people is through your body language.

Dress appropriately, make eye contact.

Try to look and sound confident.

Use a clear, calm voice.

You don’t need to be loud, but you do need to make yourself heard.

If people aren’t noticing you and you need service, say clearly “Excuse me?”.

Also, whatever you are trying to say, try to be concise.

Know what you want.

People can tell if you already know what you want out of them, and it’s much easier for them to do what you ask them if you can tell them clearly what that is.

Whether you’re speaking to an insurance agent or a waiter, their job is to serve you and you’ll make their job about ten times easier if you know what you want.

Be realistic about your aims.

Have a clear objective of what you want.

Assertive people mare not afraid to ask, but they also pick their battles.

Don’t misdirect your frustration.

If the airline counter agent tells you that you must pay extra for your heavy bag, don’t get angry at the agent!

Your beef is with the airline’s policy (and possibly your failure to read the fine print).

Instead, treat the agent like an ally.

If the policy was made available to you, apologise and ask for an exception.

If you were never informed of the policy, say so, and ask for an exception.

Either way, the agent herself did you no harm, so do not direct your frustration at her!

She is not the aggressor; she’s your potential ally.

So treat her well and negotiate respectfully…then take the matter up with the airline’s customer service agents.


If you’re about to engage in an important encounter, like asking for a raise or getting out of an unhealthy relationship, ask a friend to role- play with you.

Practice what you are going to say, and have your friend give you feedback.

If you aren’t assertive enough, try it again.

Be respectful.

Being assertive does not mean that you should be rude.

People are more willing to help someone who is both direct polite and respectful

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Asking questions will help you determine what you want and give you an idea of potential solutions.

Don’t be afraid to tell someone exactly what you think, but do so in a polite way.

Speak your mind.

If you have to deliver bad news, don’t offer unnecessary details.

If you explain every single reason for your decision, the other person can use those reasons as negotiation points.

Your decision is firm, and this will come across most clearly if you are short and to the point.

Don’t get angry.

It doesn’t promote a problem solving atmosphere

Remember the big picture.

True assertiveness, as opposed to pushiness, allows you to come away from any situation respectably.

Pushy people may win battles, but only assertive people win wars

In confrontations especially, emotions can run high.

Remember to be respectful and keep a cool head.

The key to success in confrontations is to use an appropriate tone of voice and the correct words.

Speak to someone like you would like to be spoken to!

Try asking first; don’t demand things straight away.

Gather information and make the other person an ally.

If that approach doesn’t work, then you may put your foot down.

Be friendly.

If you are not, you won’t be assertive.


Keep a sense of perspective as well as a sense of humour

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Here’s Why Your Prospects Aren’t Buying From You…

This blog post is not going to cover how to handle objections, instead we are going to cover the underlying reasons why prospects don’t buy from you.

Objections are, after all, just reasons and points that your salespeople need answer to satisfy the prospect that your product does the job.

Let me go through the 4 reasons why your prospects don’t buy from you. By looking at each in turn and producing an action plan to overcome them, you will find that you will close many more sales.

Ok, here goes:

The first reason you don’t get more sales is because you haven’t qualified those buyers who can afford you.

A lot of the organisations that you do business with will have internal budgetary and financial constraints. The money set aside to purchase the product you are selling is competing with a whole variety of other potential costs.

That’s if any money is set aside in the first place!

So your product may not be competing against another product from another vendor – instead it may be competing with the new staff appraisal scheme that the company are thinking of implementing.

It’s not the case anymore of having the cheapest product or the best product – it’s a case of the opportunity cost of the money that the company is paying whether that be to you or someone else for something completely different.

Therefore it is very important to gauge right up front just what the prospect’s financial limitations are so when it comes to producing a proposal or sales presentation, you can design it around these constraints.

The second reason why your prospects don’t buy from you is because the company or person you are selling to has no need for the product or service!

I know this sounds crazy but there are still a lot of salespeople out there that come from the old school that everyone is a potential sale. That everyone can be convinced to buy their product if the pitch is good enough.

Well, I am here to tell you that if this is your attitude you must be wasting 95% of your time. Time that could be best spent with qualified prospects who actually have a need for your product!

Your product or service needs to help the company overcome a problem it is facing and they must want it in the first place.

I must admit I get tired of all of the sales calls we get into the office.

Firstly the quality of them are by and large appalling and they call up selling anything from sales courses through to new office buildings and one of our receptionists even had a call asking her whether I was happy with my current car!

I mean, come on!

Make sure that you qualify your prospects before you spend time on them.

People will not buy from you if they do not know, like and trust you and that is the third most common reason.

During your prospecting, during your sales presentations and throughout all that you do please bear this in mind. You must build your credibility, likeability and believability (if there is such a word!) at every opportunity.

The thing is, you will be found guilty until proved innocent!

What I mean by this is that in the main salespeople have been given a bad name by a shameless few who use hard hitting tactics. Most prospects will only take what you say at face value so you need to include as many third party references as you can to make the prospect know, like and trust you.

Think about all of the ways you can do this. Use testimonials from other companies, use case studies from the clients you have worked with, show the prospect articles you have written in on LinkedIn – do anything you can that will build your credibility and your sales will climb.

The fourth reason why you do not sell more is because you have failed to hunt down the person who pulls the strings in the company.

This is different to the decision-maker. You may have already found them! What I mean here is that in many companies there is always 1 person who seems to have an input into all of the decisions within that company and hence has a major influence on the decision makers ultimate decision.

Because of the stature and ego of this person the decision maker will normally go with what this person wants so that they do not rock the boat and make an enemy of him/her.

It’s your job to hunt down this person and find out who they are and what their motivations are so that you can either get them in on your sales presentation or present your information in a way that will appeal to him/her.

Sometimes it is not a director of the company but just someone who knows more about the company and the way it works better than anyone else.

Sometimes this person would rather be proved right than to make the right decision – if you know what I mean.

So, I hope this tele-seminar has given you food for thought on some of the reasons why people will not buy from you.

Sometimes it is completely out of your hands but by digging into the company politics you will make a better informed sales consultation and it will also make you into a better salesperson as you get to learn more and more about the internal games that companies play.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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11 Quick Tips On How To Best Prepare For A Sales Pitch

At some point in the sales process we need to make our pitch.

This is an area where most salespeople could do a lot better.

Most people in sales present a standard pitch that all their customers get to hear.

This doesn’t work! People are different and buy for different reasons.

When people buy things buyers have what we call buying criteria.

These are the overriding reasons for buying that are most important to them.

Think about a Mercedes car.

Different people buy a Mercedes for different reasons. Having trained many Mercedes salespeople I have learned that their customers buy for different reasons and these can be summarised as image, performance, finance and safety.

Image, or ego is a big motivator for some people.

They love the look of the Mercedes and the tri-star on the front says so much about their status.

Other people are interested in performance issues.

A Mercedes is a very sophisticated piece of machinery with billions of ponds in research and development that have made it what it is today.

Finance can be a big motivator for some Mercedes customers.

The residual value of a Mercedes is high.

You get a lot back for your car when you sell it making it a good investment.

This is what motivates some Mercedes buyers.

Finally, safety.

Until you speak to a knowledgeable Mercedes salesperson you have no idea just how safe these cars are.

There are many safety features that could be integrated to form a sales pitch to a safety minded Mercedes customer.

So, before you prepare a sales pitch, you need to understand what is going to motivate your customer to buy from you.

What is important to them? What are their priorities and needs?

On my training courses I stress the importance of asking questions in a controlled and structured way.

Many salespeople lack the self-discipline to plan and prepare their questioning strategy.

Their lack of professionalism excludes them from the top 5% of salespeople who make all the money.

Here are the areas we need to probe into if we are going to successfully identify facts, opinions, needs and feelings that will enable us to put together a sales pitch that is truly persuasive:

  • The contact. The person we are meeting with. We need to find out about them and what motivates them
  • The organisation. This is the company they work for. What is happening in their business? How might changes in their business provide us with selling opportunities?
  • The decision making process. How do they make decisions, who gets involved and what are the relevant timescales?
  • Current suppliers. Who are they buying from at the moment and how well is the competition performing?
  • Competition. Are we in a bidding situation with other companies to compete against?
  • Finance. What budgets have they prepared? What is their perception of price?
  • Problems. What are the current issues that we need to help them solve? All selling is problem solving. What are their problems?
  • Needs. What are their buying criteria? What do we need to provide to make us their choice of supplier? 

Once you have all this information you are ready to begin preparing your pitch. Here are some more ideas:

  1. Identify which services or products the customer is interested in
  2. Establish your objectives. Set yourself more than one objective so you have a fall back position if you fail to make the sale
  3. Clarify what style and length of presentation the customer wants: for example, a full blown PowerPoint presentation, a product demonstration or a short briefing followed by a discussion
  4. Establish the key message you want the customer to take away from your presentation – the main benefit, or set of benefits that make your offering attractive
  5. Establish a few key points that support this message; relate your points to the customer’s needs and interests. Don‟t over argue your case. The more arguments, the less persuasive your case
  6. Prepare a logical argument for buying your product or service based on your knowledge of the customer. However, also be aware that there will be emotional issues that have a major influence on the decision to buy
  7. Anticipate any objections or questions the customer might raise
  8. Prepare a beginning, a middle and an end for your presentation. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them.
  9. Collate any facts and evidence to support your argument: for example, product samples, brochures or customer testimonials. Make sure your samples work.
  10. Rehearse your pitch until you are satisfied. Practice makes perfect
  11. Think about how you are going to close. You must look for commitment; either to an order, or the next phase of the sales process

Make sure when you present your pitch you remind the customer of what was discussed in prior meetings. This shows you were listening.

Finally, during your pitch remember to trial close.

Trial closing is a process of asking questions during your sales pitch to get feedback on how the customer is feeling…

“How does that sound?”

“Is that the kind of thing you are looking for?”

“How do you feel about that?”

…are all examples of trial closes.

Keep asking for feedback and don’t forget the final close at the end. 70% of sales people don’t ask because they fear rejection.

Don’t be one of them.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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