How A Salesperson Made A Great Impression

I love buying things. But I hate being sold to.

I’m sure you’ve heard that many times, and have experienced it yourself so many times, too. And I had an example recently where I was sold to, but didn’t even realise it.

Every now and again, I’m forced to go shopping with my wife Donna and daughter Holly. By ‘forced’, I mean they aren’t strong enough to carry the bags, so the pack mule has to accompany them on the expeditions that makes only one part of me lighter; yes, the wallet.

Just kidding, of course; I love spending time with the girls, and it gives me an opportunity to look at shops I like, while they wander off into the girl’s paradise areas called ‘shoes and toys’.

Anyway, while wandering, I passed a jewellery store that had some especially enticing items on display. One particular necklace caught my eye, and I found myself obeying the Law of Attraction towards toward the ‘counter-of-much-delight’.

I decided on an impulse buy of the necklace and offered the payment. This is when I was sold something without even realising it.

The assistance said ‘Seeing as it’s a special gift, would you like it wrapping in something nice?’

This innocuous question caught me off guard and I immediately said ‘yes’ with no alternative thought crossing my mind.

As she wrapped it for me, she said ‘This  addition makes it look so beautiful, doesn’t it, with the bow and everything. And for the extra £2 it really makes it special, don’t you agree?’

I was caught, hook-line-and-sinker.

I even thanked her for charging me the extra money, even though she had embedded it in the selling question. I’d have felt a proper skinflint if I’d said ‘Oh, it’s an extra £2? No, unwrap it, please’.

How did I feel afterwards? Duped? Forced? Sold to?

Actually no. I felt grateful that I had gone the extra step to make it special. And the specific amount didn’t seem too much, even though the actual paper and bow would have only cost a few pennies in reality, if I’d bought them in the shop opposite.

This salesperson made a great impression on me, simply by offering something that added real value to the gift and not embarrassing me by asking if I wanted to pay the extra money. She just assumed it was OK, which under the circumstances was perfectly all right.

I may go there again for Don’s next present, too!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

“I Am Happy With My Current Supplier,” Is NOT An Objection

Every day, I hear from sales people who are confused, frustrated or defeated by facing what they feel is a nearly insurmountable objection:

“I am sorry, but I am very happy with my current supplier/vendor. We have been doing business with them for many years and have no reason to change…”

This position strikes terror in most sales people and many ask me for advice on how to overcome this objection. The problem is that this is NOT an objection. It is a matter of fact, and should be expected.

Waiting for You?
My question is, when you call a prospective client, what did you expect their situation to be? Did you really think the prospect would be sitting there, without a current supplier or vendor and just waiting for you to call?

It is obvious that the prospective company is already doing business with one of your competitors. Now, if that decision maker were completely unhappy and unsatisfied with that current vendor, do you think he or she would have done something about it? What businessperson would continue to do business with a vendor for which they truly did not want to do business? And if, that were the case, then would not that vendor had probably called YOU?

Common Sense
Of course, they are happy with their current supplier or vendor, and you should already assume that. It is not an objection. Therefore, do not take it as an objection and move on. Instead of trying to argue the fact that perhaps you would make a better supplier, take the sales process as it should progress…one-step at a time.

Glad to Hear That
Do not argue the point. Instead, agree and even congratulate the prospect and let them know the reason for your contact at this stage of the sales process.

Prospect
“Well, I am really happy with our current technical training company. We have been working with them for about ten years, and we are very satisfied.”

Sales Person
“Great! I am glad to hear that Ethan. I would think that since you have been doing business with XYZ Tech for all of these years, that you are indeed very happy. I am also certain that they EARNED your business. Ethan, I am not asking you to GIVE me your business because I have NOT earned as they did. All I am asking is that you allow me to give you some valuable information about new developments in our industry over a quick 30 minute meeting. Perhaps in time, I might be able also to EARN some of your business. But in the mean time, the information will beneficial to you…”

The Opposite
The situation is the exact opposite of what most sales people think: Don’t fear the prospect who is happy with their current supplier…fear the one who is not.

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

3 Essential Tips For Providing Great Customer Service

Providing unparalleled customer service, and after the-sale service, in today’s marketplace, is essential in maintaining customer loyalty. Today’s modern and educated buyer demands more for less, and is always aware of alternative options, including alternative vendors and competitive offers.

Check it Out
Following are three mission critical points for providing good customer service. Although these tips may seem obvious, do not take them for granted. Check your internal processes and procedures.

#1: Can You Hear Me Now?
You must make it easy for your customers to be heard. The customer has to have the ability to quickly SPEAK TO A REAL LIVE PERSON! Having a problem is one thing, but when the customer cannot even get to a LIVE person to explain their problem, it creates a frustration and often an anger that has the customer saying things about you and your company that I cannot even print!

Listen, I don’t care what you think about your super-duper-smart-voice-recognition-software, voice-mail technology. Whatever you do, please, make it EASY for clients to talk to a real person, at least during your normal business hours.

#2: A Little Understanding
Now finally, after 25 extremely frustrating minutes of getting the run around with automated systems that made no sense, the customer gets a live person on the telephone. However, that person immediately informs the customer that problem for which they are calling about is something that is a simple, and in fact is actually the customer’s fault in the first place!

Look, as professional sales people, we all know that the customer is NOT always right. However, you don’t have to slap them in the face when they are wrong, either. Train customer service people to have some sensitivity.

#3: That’s Not My Job
The customer navigates a nightmare maze of automated messages and incorrect links that take them around and around in circles for 25 minutes. Finally, they actually get to the exact department they were directed to, and, unbelieving; they reach a HUMAN in that department!

However, that human, almost proudly, informs the weary customer…

“I’m sorry, but that’s not my department.” Or, “I can’t help you…”

ARRRrrrrrggh!!!*&^$%%&$#$%^!!

Do not force customers to have to FIND the right person to solve their problem. YOU find the right person for them. Make sure no one ever answers a customer grievance by saying, “I’m sorry, Ms Customer, but that is not my job or department…”

Instead, “Ms Customer, I am so sorry to hear you are having a problem. Although, I cannot handle this or fix it for you personally, I am going to get the right person to help you get this solved right now. Just hold on a moment, and I will connect you to the best person to solve this problem…”

The Truth
I know that to provide such customer service costs money. I know that it takes a lot of work, training, and effort. In my opinion, such service is not an option. It is what we do.

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Renjith Krishnan)

To Be A Top Sales Person, Just Follow The BASICS

Everyone and anyone in the business of professional selling wants to know, “How can I become a top sales person in my industry?” Most sales people have a desire to be the best, and of course, that achievement requires working hard as well as smart.

However, with all of the millions of tips out there, I believe I can break this down into a few simple and basic things you need to do to reach the highest levels in your profession.

Just follow the B.A.S.I.C. s.

The B.A.S.I.C.S

B = Believe
I know you have heard me say a thousand times that you must truly believe in what you sell. Yet, please understand that I say that because it involves more than just psychology or mental disposition. Your belief in what you do, or the lack thereof, will severely affect your technical ability to sell. Your belief in your product or service and the benefits to the customer, has to be much stronger than your personal desire for the commission, or it will hamper your ability to close.

A = ASK
You have to confidently and consistently ask for the order. Once again, I know some are saying, “Come on Sean, you told us that a hundred times.” Yet, please understand, most sales people do not ask for the order with enough strength and conviction to be successful; which brings me back to the B – Believe.

Unless you wholeheartedly believe that buying the product or service is the best decision for the prospective customer, you will have difficulty asking for the order after the second, third or fourth “NO.” The difference between professional persistence and nagging harassment is your personal conviction of the offer.

S = Science
You have to understand the science of your profession. By science, I am referring to the understanding of the mathematical logic and reasoning of your profession, the numbers, the equations, and the averages.

You must develop a transparent view of how you EARN your money and what your time is worth. You need to understand your closing average, average sale, and average earnings, so that you can see not only how much you earn on an average sale, but what earn when you DO NOT sell.

Calculate how much you actually earn for every sales presentation or interaction, whether you close the sale or not. Then set your goals on completing a certain amount of interactions, period.

I = Information Technology
Look, it is very simple; if you are not using every electronic and virtual tool at your disposal, you are a dinosaur. Today, things like CRM software, calendar-sharing, e-prosecuting, social media marketing, and a powerful internet presence are not luxuries; they are the foundational tools of the trade.

C = Care
I dare use the age-old adage, “People don’t care how much you know, until they first know how much you care.” When a prospective client can see that you truly have their best interest at heart and that you care more about their welfare and benefits more than you do about the money, that’s when you will begin to see success beyond measure.

As you can see, the BASICs start and depend on the B – how much you believe.

So, to be a top sales person…

Believe in what you sell.
Ask for the order with consistent conviction. use the
Use the Science of Selling.
Make efficient use of Information Technology
Seriously Care about your customer and your profession.

Follow the BASICs and you will enjoy an income and style of living that is any but basic!

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

(Image by David Castillo Dominici)

They Bent Over Backwards To Satisfy The Customer

I just got this in from my friend and super salesman, John Landrine in the US, about an experience he had this past weekend. I had to share it with you and I have a couple of questions for you after you read this short story and example of customer service at its finest!

Excellent Service = More Sales
“Sean, I just had to tell you about what happened in a restaurant this weekend. My girlfriend, her daughter and I go to an Elephant Bar Restaurant in Fresno, California. It’s a Friday night and they are packed. Nevertheless, William, the waiter/server, takes real time to go over the menu and specials. This would normally not be anything extraordinary, except, William had such a motivational manner and self-conviction that you had to believe that HE truly was fan and loved the food himself. He was so enthusiastic that it showed he loved what he was doing and the establishment for which he worked.

However, after ordering and receiving our meals, we had a dilemma. The dish my lady ordered, was simply not what she thought it would be. Though the chef prepared the dish correctly, it did not match what she thought it would taste like. The daughter, did not completely enjoy her dish either, as it too was something she never tried before and it was not as she imagined.

My suggestion was that the ladies order something else and we see how we can fix the situation. However, since we had practically filled up on appetizers, which both women really enjoyed, they were resigned to just remember the next time at this establishment, not to order those particular dishes.

When William came back and noticed the still-full-plates, he naturally inquired as to what may have been wrong. We explained that the problem was not the food, but the choice they made and there was no problem.

Well, for William, there was a problem. He says, “You don’t look very happy. Let me see what my manager says about this…” and walks off. Then enters, Steve O., whom I guessed was a manager, supervisor, yet I found was an extraordinary sales person.

We explained to Steve O, that neither the food nor the service was the problem, but simply a poor menu choice; but Steve would not accept such as an answer. He began asking questions.

The Art Of Asking Questions
Sean, this restaurateur, manager, supervisor or what it may be, began asking questions that any sales professional should be asking in the discovery phase of a sales interaction.

“So exactly what is it that you did not like about this dish?”
“What types of spices do you like better?”
“What do you consider too sweet or too spicy?”

I was impressed.

From the answers he gathered from both of the women, he suggested a dish he thought they would both enjoy and offered to prepared it, serve it and add dessert all at no charge. The women resisted, again reaffirming that the restaurant had no fault.

Then, Steve’s reply nearly brought a tear to my eye, Sean. He said something to this effect…

“I really appreciate that. However, I cannot feel right having you leave knowing that your memory of your experience here may be a negative one. Even if the first few dishes did not work for you, then I rather you remember that the last one you tried was the best thing you ever had! I have to make sure that you leave with a positive experience at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.”

Whao! Sean, I could tell, I could FEEL, that William and Steve took their jobs personally!

Anyway, to make a long story short (which I know is already too late), Steve O and William served the extra dish and a custom crème brûlée for the ladies. The check? The check reflected only my meal and the drinks…complements of Steve O. So Steve INVESTED, maybe $50 or so (US) and he secured loyal patrons that are not only going to come back often, but one who will tell everybody he knows; and hey, I know a lot of people!

Sean, many of the sales professionals that we work with around the world could learn something about enthusiasm, customer service and belief in what they sell from big, tall William and Steve O at the Elephant Bar Restaurant in Fresno, California!”

Regards,

John Landrine

A Few Questions
I thank John for relaying that experience and I can tell you that poor service can ruin a great meal. However, great service can make any meal great.

A few quick questions:

1. How personally do you take your job? Be honest. As a sales person, customer service representative, or whatever is your actual position title; ask yourself, how personally do you view what you do? Are you the, “I just work here…” type person? Or are you a PART of what you do and sell?

2. How enthusiastic are you about what you do? You have seen the product-line ten thousand times. You have demonstrated the machine over five thousand times. You have read that menu at least a thousand times. Are you still truly excited about what you do?

3. Are you willing and ready to do what it takes to ensure that your customers and clients have the best experience with you and your products or services? Are you committed to making sure that you deliver above and beyond what your competition can possibly do? Are you obsessed with being the best and delivering the best and making sure your customers experience the very best the industry has to offer? Or are you satisfied with just being “good.”

Sometimes, you may have to bend over backwards to be the best.

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Borderlys)

What To Do When The Prospect Blames You: Part II

It can be extremely frustrating when the customer wants to hold you accountable for something that your competition did or did not do.   In, “What to Do When the Prospect Blames You for Your Competitors’ Failures,”  I mentioned that when this happens, there are two possibilities:

#1 – The situation is one that is common in the industry
#2 – The situation is not common or is an isolated incident

 

Now continuing with #2.

#2 – The situation is not common or is an isolated incident
What do you do when the prospect brings up a negative experience that is a total surprise, and still associates you with the problem? Of course, you cannot prepare for the problem and cover it early in the sales interaction.

The usual course of action in this case is to side with the prospect in attempt to shift the blame to the real culprit; your competitor.

Prospect:         “I’m sorry.  But I bought some of those widgets a few years ago from Old Fashioned Widgets and it was a nightmare.  I had nothing but problems that costs me a ton of money.  I can’t risk that again.”

Sales Person: “I understand Ms Prospect.  But I assure you we are not Old Fashioned.  We have the best, most up to date widgets in the industry.”

Prospect:         “Yeah, well, that’s what their sales rep said too!  Then they delivered widgets that didn’t work. ”

Sales Person: “They have been known to bend the truth sometimes…they are desperate.  I agree with you. Their work is often substandard…”

If this sounds familiar, then you know the eventual outcome.   As you attack the competition, you simultaneously degrade the credibility of your entire industry, which includes you and your firm.  The difficult task you have is to separate yourself from the competition, without degrading the competition.

Defend Your Competition
Remember, as mentioned in Part I, if your competition is guilty of conducting slip shod business; as a professional you should know about it, and bring it up early in your sales interaction.

However, if the situation is something that you have never heard of before, then let the prospect know that it is an isolated incident and defend the competition.

Prospect:         “I’m sorry.  But I bought some of those widgets a few years ago from Old Fashioned Widgets and it was a nightmare.  I had nothing but problems that costs me a ton of money.  I can’t risk that again.”

Sales Person: “What?  I am shocked.  I don’t think Old Fashioned is the best widget company around, but they are a respectable organisation.  I mean, they sell a reasonably good product.   Of course, with our modern technology, our quality and performance tops theirs.  But I never heard of their widgets causing serious problems.  This is a reputable industry.  Can you tell me what happened?”

With this approach, as you defend the competition, you defend your industry and yourself.  You separate yourself from the competition; not by pushing them down, but by raising yourself up.  You become an industry expert and an advisor.

So, when the prospect wants to hold you guilty by associating in the same industry as the culprit, remember:

  • If it is a common situation, you should already be aware and prepared to cover it in the sales interaction.
  • If it is an isolated incident, defend your competition and the industry and become an advisor.

I rest my case.

Happy Selling

Sean

Sean McPheat
Bestselling Author, Sales Authority & Speaker On Modern Day Selling Methods

MTD Sales Training

What To Do When The Prospect Blames You For Your Competitors’ Failures

What do you do when the prospect wants to hold you accountable for a problem caused by one of your competitors?  The prospect had a bad experience with a company that sells the same product as you, and is convinced that doing business with you will have the same result.

Guilty By Association
Below is a way to handle the situation where the prospect finds you guilty just by associating in the same industry as the culprit.  Be forewarned however, the following technique requires that you really know your stuff.  This is for professionals only!

Two Possibilities
When a prospective customer has negative experiences in your field, there are only two avenues to approach the problem:

#1 – The situation is one that is common in the industry
#2 – The situation is not common or is an isolated incident

#1 – The situation is one that is common in the industry
As a professional sales person you should know everything there is to possibly know about your competition and your industry.  You should already know if there is a competitor who is supplying substandard products or services in your business.  Therefore, you should already be prepared to meet a prospect who has had such a bad experience and will use it as an objection.

If the problem is common knowledge, then you need to anticipate and overcome the objection early in the sales interaction.  If you wait until the prospect brings up the negative situation and associates you with it, it is too late.  You are then forced to defend yourself and bash the competition, both of which push you and the prospect further apart.

The Bad Widget Company
Let us assume that you sell widgets and as a true professional, you are aware that your competitor, Old Fashioned Widgets, uses an outdated manufacturing process and therefore has many unsatisfied customers.

If you wait until the prospect raises the issue and accuses you, you will have to defend yourself and consequently degrade your own industry.

Prospect:         “It looks good, but I bought some of those same types of widgets before from Old Fashioned, and they said the same thing you are saying.  I had nothing but costly problems.  I don’t think I want to go down that road again.”

Sales Person: “I understand, Mr Prospect.  But we are not Old Fashioned.  We use a more modern manufacturing process than Old Fashioned.  They are not as up to date as us, so many of their widgets fail…”

While this sounds like it makes sense, you are actually acknowledging the fact that there are widget companies that sell unsatisfactory products.  Therefore, the entire widget industry becomes suspect, and that includes you and your company.

Bring Up the History Early
Instead of waiting to defend against the accusation, raise the issue as a positive, early in your sales interaction.

Sales Person: “This is our plant, Mr Prospect.  Not only is it one of the largest in the industry, but it is the most modern.  We completely re-tooled so that we now use the silicon-based insertion rather than the outdated moving gears.  Some companies today still use the moving gears which cannot keep up to the stresses of today’s machines.   I have many clients who had problems with those older style widgets and I am glad I was able to help them.”

Prospect:         “Now that you mention it, I had problems with those widgets.  I bought some from Old Fashioned and you are right, they failed…”

In this way, you stay above the issue as an industry leader and avoid creating an adversarial atmosphere.   So, when there is history of the problem, address it early.

However,  what do you do when the prospect has had a bad experience that is unusual and that you never knew existed?  What do you do when the problem seems be an isolated incident?

Posting October 21, 2011:
What To Do When The Prospect Blames You, Part II

Happy Selling

Sean

Sean McPheat
Bestselling Author, Sales Authority & Speaker On Modern Day Selling Methods

MTD Sales Training

5 Successful Selling Tips From The Great Sam-I-am

Image by Damian M

You can find Sam-I-Am in the critically acclaimed children’s book, “Green Eggs & Ham,” by the famed Dr. Seuss.  First published in 1960 by Random House, “Green Eggs & Ham,” tells the story of two characters: one named Sam-I-Am and another, an unnamed character I will call “IT.”

Eloquently presented with colourful images and rhymes, the book follows Sam as he tries tirelessly to persuade IT to eat some green eggs and ham. As the IT character continues to resist, showing no interest in the meal, Sam relentlessly perseveres in what has become one of the greatest sales stories of all time.

In case you have forgotten, below is a short excerpt and some paraphrasing from the book.

Sam:    Do you like green eggs and ham?

IT:       I do not like them, Sam-I-am.  I do not like green eggs and ham.

Sam:    Would you like them here or there?

IT:       I would not like them here or there.  I would not like them anywhere.  I do not like green eggs and ham.  I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Sam:    Would you like them in a house?  Would you like them with a mouse?

IT:       I do not like them in a house.  I do not like them with a mouse.  I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere.  I do not like green eggs and ham…

This goes on throughout the entire book, as Sam proves to be incredibly persistent, suggesting numerous ways that IT may enjoy the product.  Sam suggests IT try green eggs and ham in a car, a tree, in the dark, in a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train, on a boat and even with a goat.

The IT character continues to object, until finally…

Sam:    You do not like them.  So you say. Try them and you may.  Try them and you may, I say.

IT:       Sam!  If you will let me be, I will try them.  You will see.

(IT tastes the green eggs and ham)

IT:       Say!  I like green eggs and ham!  I do!  I like them, Sam-I-am!  I would eat them (with all of the above) Thank you!  Thank you, Sam-I-am!

The Sales Genius
Sales trainers the world over have used “Green Eggs and Ham,” and Sam’s perseverance as a model of persistence.  However, Sam did much more than take a lot of “NOs.” Below are five successful selling examples Sam-I-Am demonstrates in the book.

1. Maintained his offer: No matter how many times the prospect said “No,” Sam never reduced his offer.  Many sales people are too quick to change their original offer or drop their price after only one or two objections.

2. Did not challenge IT: Sam never directly challenged IT’s objections or thinking.  He never asked, “Why will you not try them in a house?” Sales people often demand the prospect justify their reasoning, which creates an adversarial condition.

3. Did not try to change IT’s mind: Sam accepted all of the NOs. He never tried to make IT change its mind.  Sales people often try to change the NOs into YESs. You cannot get people to change their minds.

4. Continued to build value: After every failed closing attempt, Sam introduced new ideas and new ways the prospect could benefit from the offer.  Sam continued to build the value of the product by offering new information. Instead of building the value of the product, sales people often reduce the price or benefits.

Understand that while you cannot get someone to change their mind, you can help someone make a new decision based on new information.

5. Had the right motive: What would Sam gain or lose if IT did not try the green eggs and ham? There is no mention of a commission.  Sam’s persistence was based solely on the fact the he knew IT would enjoy the meal. Sam wanted to help IT get something IT did not even know IT wanted.  To help the prospect solve a problem he did not even know he had.

When prospects sense that you are pushing them because you truly believe it is in their best interest, rather than your commission, your persistence is acceptable, welcome and even desired.

When you’ve got that big sale you have to land,
And feel you did everything you possibly can,
Remember the story of “Green Eggs and Ham,”
And the powerful sales example in Sam-I-Am!

Happy Selling

Sean

PS Sam-I-Am could have pulled out the needs and wants of IT before presenting the Green Eggs & Ham to him too in a consultative selling manner!

It’s an old one but a good un: Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice!

Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling
MTD Sales Training