Here’s just a quick heads up of something I am doing this coming Friday 23rd April 2010 at 1pm UK time.
In association with SMARTA I have been asked to conduct a LIVE Sales Surgery via webchat.
For a couple of hours I will be answering any questions that are fired at me via a LIVE webchat and I’d love to have you as a guest and to indeed, ask me any questions you like.
It’s going to be fun!
Click on the link below for details:
Here’s to a great sales surgery!
MTD Sales Training
Telephone: 0800 849 6732
I received this question yesterday from one of my subscribers to my weekly sales tips:
I have been coming up against a regular objection lately from my prospects and if you could offer some advice I would be most grateful!
When trying to close prospects they are regularly telling me that they wish to go ahead, however they have to convince decision makers who sit above them. I have offered to speak to/meet with these decision makers to help the decision making process, but this is rarely accepted.
I am sure that in some cases the ‘I need permission from a colleague’ excuse is a smokescreen, but I am also confident that it is a genuine reason in some instances.
Any help you can offer would be well received!”
My thoughts on this:
There are a couple of things to take into consideration with this.
Firstly, yes, you are right on some occassions it will be a smokescreen. That’s just how some people are wired.
But early on in the meeting/qualification you need to establish who the decision maker is and find out the type of person they are. Because what you are doing is a “sell for the sell”
You need to arm your “allie” with the tools, the knowledge and the correct approach to convince the DM.
So, the position you need to get yourself into is when your “allie” says “Yes, this is right for us. All I need to do now is to convince Mr/Mrs X”
Once you hear that it’s now time to switch into sales coaching mode!
You have to coach the prospect on how they are going to sell the idea to the decision maker.
What are their key drivers?
What type of personality do they have?
Why your product/service?
You need to also focus on “what’s in it for your allie?” They ultimately want to look good in front of the decision maker so help them to achieve this.
It’s a complex subject that deserves a lot more time spent over it but you need to facilitate the decision making process and help your key influencer to indeed influence the ultimate decision maker.
You need to set up a sale for the sale!
MTD Sales Training
Telephone: 0800 849 6732
Here’s a question I got asked last week about keeping on top of your game:
“I work for ABC and have been the number 1 performer for the last 4 years. Can you maybe give me any advice on managing the stress of constantly performing?
Things like being totally nervous and anxious before nearly every appointment even though I have been doing this job for 6 years. I feel that sales is like being on stage and the lights go on and it’s showtime but the feeling before each meeting seems to be getting worse but I never fail to perform.
Work is totally taking over my personal life so I can remain where I am, this is actually the first year I have been challenged from a performance point of view by another strong individual who I speak with daily. The week on week target which I have never failed to achieve is driving me on and on until I’m totally shattered.
I probably know the answer to most of this but wanted your thoughts”
Ok, here are my thoughts on this:
With that sort of drive you should be working for me and selling our courses!
Being nervous is natural and it means that you care. Sales people who are a little carefree don’t really give a damn or can be seen as arrogant instead of confident from their prospects.
Yes, I agree with the “lights on” mentality. You see, you couldn’t be in “showtime mode” all of the time or you would really be burnt out. Just before I go into important meetings I kinda flip a switch and go into sales overdrive. Weird kind of thing to explain but I’m sure you know what I mean. And yes, I get nervous too but a nice nervous.
I’m so passionate about helping my prospects that as soon as I walk in I completely focus on them and their situation and I’ll do all that I can to help them. Sounds like you do the same.
You need to be careful about it taking over your life though. You need to understand what’s the driver behind what you do. The money? The prestige of being #1? What is it?
For example if you’ve got to work your butt off just to get a decent wage then you could work in a different industry which has a different pressure and sales cycle but could make twice as much with the same effort. If it’s to be #1 then you’re not competing with yourself but you’re competing with something that you cannot control and that can lead you into trouble.
Overall, have a think about WHY you do what you do. You may find that the real reasons might surprise you.
Understand your drivers and can open the door to whatever you need….
Also, try walking before work. You will find that you’ll get more energy and you can ramp yourself up for the day. It will help with your stress levels. Make sure you do aerobic and not anaerobic work. You want to be in the “fat burning, low impact” zone.
There’s loads of other areas I could cover but try these for starters.
Here’s a question I received today about prospects who stall and what to do about them:
I always enjoy your emails and find them useful (and succinct). I am after some advice. What do you do about potential prospects who express high interest, but you have to keep chasing. Even when you are direct and ‘try to push for a no’ they still maintain interest without buying anything. I know I should maintain them as contacts through marketing, however is there a killer technique/question to assess if someone is actually just wasting your time?
Here are my thoughts on this:
We all get them. You know what I mean. You have a great sales meeting with a new prospect, things seem to be going along really well and then……NOTHING!
Your calls are not returned, they stall, they make excuses – you name it.
And you’re left scratching your head wondering why!
Now the top sales people want to know whether this prospect will actually do anything or not. Either way they need and want to know and that includes being comfortable in hearing bad news!
Whereas the average salesperson will accept lame excuses and then they’ll promise to call them back in a week or two.
And so the cycle starts again!
Let me tell you, this will really damage your sales career. Time wasters are a nightmare!
So, if you receive yet another lame excuse ask this question:
“James, in your opinion, what do you think might stand in the way of you moving forward with this?”
This will unearth some excuses and then you can qualify them in or out!
I hope that is useful?
Until the next time, take care of yourself and happy selling!
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling
MTD Sales Training
PS Our 2010 open schedule is now complete and includes courses in Heathrow, Manchester and Coventry. For our 2010 schedule and also what’s left in 2009 please click on the link below:
I received this question from Tony Underhill 2 days ago:
“Hi Sean, I’ve just read an interesting blog post on another site about whether sales people are made or are they born that way. As you are “my guru” what’s your take on this? The posting said that it’s a mix of the two”
My thoughts on this:
It’s an interesting one because as a child I was the kid who would stand in the playground on his own!
I was a right “Billy No Mates”!!!
Natural sales person as a youngster? NO
Outgoing? Loud Mouth? NO
As I got older and began to improve my communication skills this obviously changed and today I can speak in-front of 3,000 sales people at a conference and not bat an eye lid.
So I certainly was not a “born sales person”. I’m 100% made!
There are no doubt some people who will be naturally more outgoing than others, that’s probably in their make up, or their DNA as a person and this has helped them to be seen as a “natural sales person” but just because they can talk the hind legs off a donkey doesn’t mean that they are a good sales person.
It’s just that they “seem” to be a natural sales person because they are more outgoing.
I don’t agree with that.
Buyers don’t want a “flash, cheesy sales person” They want an expert and whether that’s an over the top, gregarious person or an introverted thinker, it’s up to the buyer to decide.
Having the “gift of the gab” is no longer good enough. It might have got you through 20 years ago but not so today. Today’s sales people need to be seen as trusted advisors, as experts in their field and have a good alround business knowledge.
Some of the very best sales people that I have met have been 100% made. i.e they were not deemed as having a natural talent for sales until they did it. Maybe it’s their down to earth, natural approach that makes them seem more “personable and human” that makes the difference.
So no matter what end of the spectrum you come from remember that everything has to be approached from the agenda of your prospect.
Your buyers want to deal with an expert, a sales professional.
MTD Sales Training
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Here’s a question I got asked last week from a sales person who receives my weekly free sales tips:
“Sean, I hate it when you call or email your prospects and they never return your calls! It’s so frustrating. Can you advise anything? Thanks as always – Jeff G”
Here’s what I think:
You send an email, but the prospect does not respond. You then call and leave a message, but also no reply. You try to remain positive, but after few more attempts it seems that this prospect that was so interested will not return your calls. What is happening?!
Does this sound familiar?
I constantly have sales people asking how can they get prospects to return phone calls and emails, and the answer is simple: Only sell the return call or the email.
In every stage of your sales process, you should have but ONE objective. If you are calling to set an appointment—then sell only the appointment. If you are calling to get a return call—then sell only the return call. Typically, sales people try to sell everything at once.
Look at this example:
Tracy Drew of ABC Technologies is calling referrals from her customer, Lisa Jones.
There’s no answer so it goes to answer phone.
“Hi Mr. Prospect, my name is Tracy Drew with ABC Technologies. Lisa Jones of XYZ suggested that I call. ABC Technologies sells the best techno-stuff and we can help you. Lisa bought some of our stuff and she thought you might want some too. So, I am calling to see when we can set up a time to meet and I can show you some stuff. Our stuff is the best in the industry and Lisa agrees. So, please call me at 0800 849 6732 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be in your area next week, so anytime then would be good or anytime at your convenience. Thank you…”
This sales person tried to sell:
1. Her company
2. Her products
3. The appointment
4. The referral value
5. The appointment time
6. Justification of the product
7. Industry recognition
8. Her reputation and more
The last thing she sold was the return phone call!! And guess what? No call back.
Often the sales person forces the prospect to make a big buying decision, instead of a little phone call decision.
Here is Tracy selling only the call back:
“Hi Mr. Prospect, it’s Tracy Drew with ABC Technologies. Lisa Jones from XYZ suggested that I call you. Please could you give me a call at your convenience, it will only take me two minutes. Please call 0800 849 6732 whenever you get a quick minute and I think you will be impressed. Once again, that’s Tracy Drew with ABC at 0800 849 6732, and I look forward to your call. Thank you…”
In this example the sales person sold only the return call.
She did not even mention the stuff she was selling nor did she explain that the mutual acquaintance made a purchase; which does nothing more than put pressure on the prospect to also buy. No. This sales person sold only one thing: the quick phone call. Also, note the sales person stressed that the call would be quick and painless; she made it EASY for the prospect to facilitate the return call.
The same holds true for an email. Don’t go on and on in an email trying to reassure the prospect—just keep the one objective in mind.
With a phone call, an email or any other form of communication in the selling process, you must understand the objective at each stage and concentrate on that ONLY.
Take it one step at a time and you will get more returned calls and emails and close more sales!
Here’s some free sales training for you!
I received an email a couple of days ago that asked for advice on how to react to prospects when you are more expensive than the competition.
Here’s the question:
“Our company sells installations, a problem that we have is that our prices are quite high and some customers say they have found a cheaper option. I know there is always try and sell it on the basis of having a USP but I was wondering what other ways could really make it appealing to customers to use us instead of a cheaper alternative. Could you please help me with a few ways we can try and get around this and still win the customers with a higher price than a competitor?”
There are many sales techniques that I could cover here but here is something to get the grey matter working…
If you know that you are the most expensive than admit it and use that as an excuse to go over your value proposition. I assume that you are offering something that they don’t here and don’t just put the price up for the sake of it?
Say something like:
“Yes, you’re right, we are not the cheapest game in town but we offer the highest quality of installation and ongoing support within the region. We have a warranty that lasts for 5 years when our cheaper competitors offer only 3 which means that you still have the peace of mind for a further 2 years in the event of a breakdown and huge bills to fix it. Don’t forget the additional cost also includes 3 visits per year to ensure it is optimised…”
See where I am going with this?
Use it as an opportunity to explain the reasons why you are more expensive. Don’t hide from it.
I don’t care what anyone says people do not buy on price alone.
Don’t believe me? Well, just look outside at the cars in the car park!
Instead, bring to your prospect’s attention to other factors like quality, peace of mind, ongoing support, handholding, relationship, future costs, snob value, making them look good when they decide to go with the best etc…
You normally get what you pay for in this world and I would think that if things go wrong with what you are selling, then it can be costly and cause a lot of disruption to the business so you should use this to your advantage.
At the end of the day if I were to employ a surgeon to operation on my long standing tennis elbow injury I would rather pay £10k and have a specialist complete the operation than an ears, nose, throat and elbow surgeon for a grand!
Here’s a question I was emailed from one of my sales tips newsletter subscribers:
Firstly, thanks very much for the tips. I really find them useful. I was wondering if you could help with another type of prospect that I seem to run into a lot. “The Procrastinator”. This is the prospect who seems very interested initially and loves to have a meeting and demonstration etc.. But when you try to get a decision out of them they just say things like “I haven’t decided yet” or “We’re pushing it back for a month or two”. Can you give me some tips on how to bring them back to that feeling of interest in order to push for a decision.
My thoughts on this…
Some things to think about:
– Have you REALLY demonstrated and built the value in your sales pitch?
– Have you talked BENEFITS not features?
– Have you responded to objections with “What do you mean?” to qualify it
– “I need to think about it?” respond with “What specifically do you need to think about?” then build the value again
– Is he/she really the decision maker?
– Bring some sort of scarcity into the pricing. Early bird ordering. Discounts for up front payments etc
– Ask him/her what the next steps are?
– “What do you need to make your decision?” this will find out his/her buying strategy!
Overall, you either haven’t build up the value sufficiently enough to convince the prospect or you have not found out how he/she makes their decisions. These two vital areas are very important for closing deals.
Hope these help?