If you search on Amazon for books on selling, the list goes on for ever. The advice out there is profound, in its complexity and number, and much of it is relevant only in certain cases or when you are working in certain conditions.
Salespeople in general are always looking for how to improve their results, whether this be in productivity or in profitability. There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes, so much of what you will read and digest will have to be personalised by yourself to acquire the best information and application of that data.
One facet of sales that always intrigues our delegates on our courses revolves around the processes of differentiation in selling products and services. They know that one size doesn’t fit all cases, and their ability to personalise the approach is paramount when they are working with prospects and customers alike. The differentiation we will discuss here will help you ascertain which approach would be best for you to master.
Fortunately, we can narrow this process down to three components, and if you choose the right one, you can improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
The approach you choose can be determined by how badly your prospect is in need of your solution. We will call these approaches level 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1. This is where your prospect actually has expressed a desire for the solution you have to offer. You might call this the easiest sale you could make, as they have already said they need a solution like you are offering. Here, you INFLUENCE the decision-making process. By influencing, you assist the prospect to come up with the right decision for them or their business. Think of it as guiding them on the right path.
The statement might sound something like,
“By making this choice, you’ll start to see savings pretty soon, as your production will increase and your costs will go down. It really makes sense to do this as soon as possible, and I recommend we install within the next week so you can take advantage of those potential savings”
The Level 1 approach is the softest of the three, where the client is amicable and you have built desire for the results they would obtain with the solution.
Level 2. This is where the prospect has yet to make up their mind, is unsure on which way to go or has expressed doubt as to which solution would be best. Here, you can use your PERSUASION skills to help them come to a conclusion. You persuade them by helping them choose from a series of options that would help them achieve their goals. Options enhance the brains ability to choose. Not too many, of course. The optimum number is three.
It could sound something like this;
“OK, Mr Prospect, we have seen that you need to increase productivity and decrease costs. I have some alternatives for you. Firstly, the XY123 will help you reduce costs in the short-term. It’s the best choice for quick results. Another choice may be the same model with the additional capacity. The results will be longer term and you’ll get increased savings with the bulk-buying of materials. Finally, there’s the larger model, DC342, which offers all the benefits of the other model but with greater load capacity, so you spend less time reloading and re-ordering supplies.
My recommendation would be to take the larger model on our easy-pay contract, enabling you to build those savings quickly and efficiently. Do you see it the same way?”
This persuasive technique shows the prospect what the benefits are while pointing them in the right direction for their business. You persuade by highlighting the results and helping them come to the right conclusion.
Level 3. This would be where the situation has become sluggish or the process is stuck in a rut. It’s risky and can be seen as manipulative, so has to be used sparingly and with tact. It’s called FORCING THE ISSUE, and requires you to outline the pains of not making the decision and the gains of actually doing so.
It could sound something like,
“OK, Mr Prospect, we’ve looked at the alternatives and discussed what would work. I recommend we go with the DC342 because it will achieve everything you said you wanted. It will show immediate savings and, with the improved discounts I can give you on the materials, will improve your productivity as well as long-term savings. The sooner you install, the quicker those savings will show up on your bottom line. I can assure you it’s the best choice for your business. in the short-run and for long-term results.”
See…it’s risky because you’re forcing them to make a decision. But you’re also showing them the benefits of that decision. This takes a high degree of confidence and belief in your ability to give advice and you also need to have the trust of the prospect. When it works, though, they will thank you, because you are getting them out of the rut of indecisiveness.
So, those are the three levels of sales that you can work at. Try them when you next have to present solutions to prospects and see how you get on.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Staurt Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.com)
LinkedIn is THE professional platform to be involved with, and if you are not on it by now then you really are missing out.
LinkedIn is full of opportunities for every executive, sales professional and business owner to generate leads for their business and engage with those all important decision makers – but how do you ensure that your LinkedIn account is a professional as you are?
Well, here are 5 top tips to take your LinkedIn account from office rookie to high-flying executive.
You need to think of your LinkedIn profile as being a 24 hour, worldwide advertisement for yourself and your company – so are you keeping it up to date? Having a 100% complete profile is a must if you want to use the LinkedIn platform to the best of its abilities, and it is so important to ensure that you regularly update your status updates and recommendations on the platform.
You need to look at your LinkedIn Profile as if you were a potential client who has never met you before and wants to know more about you – does your profile do you justice?
Time Is Money
What exactly are you hoping to get out of LinkedIn? Are you looking for a new career? Trying to build up your business connections and generate new leads? Or are you looking to position yourself as an industry expert and leading authority in your field?
You need to be clear about why you have chosen to use the platform to ensure that you are getting real value out of the time you spend on the site. So many LinkedIn users just waste their time on the platform, simple because they are not actively seeking a purpose – so ensure you know what you want out of your time and make the time you spend on the site count.
The Opportunities Are Endless
Every time you connect with a new person on LinkedIn, you immediately become connected to all of their contacts, so your network on the site is ever-growing. The key to getting the most out of your connections on the site is to not only network and engage within your own connections but to also seek out which of your connections contacts might be a valuable connection for you.
Take the time to assess your 2nd Degree connections – there might be some real VIPs right under your nose and you don’t want to miss out on getting that all important introduction to them as they could mean big opportunities for you and your company.
Don’t Be Selfish
When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is still a social networking site, so don’t be anti-social. You will not build your presence on the site by being selfish with your activity, so make sure you regularly contribute to other people’s discussions rather than just posting your own – and contribute something of real value, don’t just make everything you do on the site about self-promotion.
Do You Want To Be In My Gang?
The LinkedIn Groups are a great way to engage with and prospect for new leads, so why not consider starting a group of your own?
By creating a group closely related to your industry, you can immediately see who on LinkedIn is interested in the products and services you provide – think about it, they wouldn’t have joined your group if the first place if they weren’t! You don’t even have to go looking for new prospects, as they will come to you in the form of new group members.
You can then use your own group to network and engage with potential new clients, as well as sharing all of your great content with them and demonstrating to them why you would be a valuable connection for them to have.
The modern day sales process has changed, and sales professionals across all sectors and industries are having to change the way that they sell in order to engage and interact with the modern day buyer.
The days of the mighty cold call are fading away fast, as the modern day buyer simply doesn’t want to be sold to. Instead, the internet and has become the buyer’s best friend, and they can find out all about your business and compare and contrast you against your competitors all with just a few clicks of a mouse.
The buyer is now in control of the sales process, and knowing how to redress this balance of power is so important for modern day sales professionals and business owners.
Sean McPheat, Managing Director of MTD Sales Training and best-selling author of eselling®, will be presenting a session on the modern day way to sell at the Business Boost 2012 event on June 1st.
In this fun and engaging session Sean will show you how to prospect, position yourself as an expert and sell using the internet and social media. After this session you will go away with an understanding of how the sales process is changing and what you can do to even up the odds with the modern day buyer.
But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what David Brent, from The Office, has to say:
Sean will be joined at the Business Boost 2012 by an array of high impact speakers including Steve Maraboli, Adrian Webster and Sandro Forte. The event is being held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on June 1st and tickets are going fast, so book now to ensure you don’t miss out – www.businessboost2012.co.uk
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
I came across this brilliant infographic from Intel the other day and I just had to share it with you all.
As you can see, some of the statistics in this image are staggering! For me, the following figures really jumped out at me:
And why do these figures in particular stand out to me I hear you ask? Well, put simply, these astonishing statistics go a long way to proving the real value of using social media and the internet within your business. If you are not online, engaging and interacting with your prospects and current client base on these platforms then you are surely missing out – and that is each and every minute of the day!
There are so many ways in which you can use social media and the internet to help you prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – all you need is the know how. If you would like more information about how you can tap into these fantastic figures and make them work for your own business, then please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
Recently, Sean was asked to contribute to a webinar on the topic of outdated CRM systems in the modern selling world of today, for leading online business publication MyCustomer.com.
MyCustomer.com is produced specifically for customer relationship managers and other customer management professionals across the UK, and Sean was invited to attend the webinar to discuss his views on how the sales profession is changing as an industry, how prospects and customers alike have changed and how the tools available to sales professionals and CRM’s nationwide need to change in order to keep up with the evolution of the sales process.
Sean was joined on the webinar by Editor of MyCustomer.com, Neil Davey and Kris Mackenzie, who is Head of CRM Sales at the enterprise application software provider SAP.
Please enjoy the webinar and feel free to share your thoughts on this subject below.
As always, my focus in these Techy Tuesday blogs is to keep you update to date with the latest and greatest ways you can use social media and other internet based resources to prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – and this week is no different!
This week I have been doing some research into a new LinkedIn application called Company Buzz, to find out if the hype around the new feature is valid and how you can really use it as a legitimate business tool.
As a sales professional or business owner it’s so important to keep on top of your company’s reputation and be aware of any influential changes and developments in your industry, and this is exactly what the Company Buzz application does for your business.
This application is a great tool which combines both your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to display real-time tweets and LinkedIn updates relating to your company and any other specific search terms you request on your LinkedIn profile.
You can search on any word relating to you, your company, your products and services or your industry and see all of the recent tweets and LinkedIn updates related to that term.
You can then narrow down your search results by loads of different categories, including location, company, degree of connection, industry, time frame, update type and job title. You can then save these results and even share them to your profile. Company Buzz also shows you what words and links are currently trending around your chosen search term, and gives you a historical overview of the buzz surrounding your search terms over time.
So now that you know what the Company Buzz application is all about, how can you use it to your advantage?
Well, as with many of the great features LinkedIn has to offer, you can use Company Buzz to prospect, listen in for leads and engage with key decision makers online.
As the application allows you to be so specific with your search results, you can create a search on yourself, your company, or the title of your latest blog post, and then narrow it down to just your first degree connections, in your chosen industry, in a specific location. You can even select just the CEOs or Managers from this selection, and only view the updates which have happen in the last couple of hours…so you are literally getting the most specific and up-to-date view of all those who are talking about you and your company on LinkedIn.
Now that you can see who has been tweeting about you, commenting about your company in the groups, and sharing your latest blog posts on their profile you can go in and engage with these connections directly – using the same techniques as you would implement when engaging with key decision makers through your LinkedIn Groups.
Taking this slightly further, you can choose to view only your second or third degree connections in this same way, and you can then build up a picture of which prospects are already on LinkedIn talking about you and your company, so that you can make an offer to connect with them and engage further with them .
Not only does the Company Buzz allow you keep on top of your company reputation and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry, but when used in the right way it can also provide you with a great way to prospect and engage with key decision makers on LinkedIn.
That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.
Sales 2.0 and modern day selling are hot topics right now, as more and more sales professionals and business owners are seeing the benefits of applying these concepts within their day-to-day sales processes.
Social media and the internet have become big players in the business world, but few professionals really understand how to use these online tools to develop their sales techniques and generate qualified leads.
As many of you will know by now, MTD Sales Training’s MD Sean McPheat is at the forefront of the modern day selling revolution, and has written a bestselling book on the subject– entitled eselling® – which provides readers with a step by step guide on how to use social media and the internet to prospect, network and engage with the c-suite decision maker online.
In November of last year, Sean was invited to give a keynote presentation of the concept of eselling® to over 1,000 sales professionals from across Europe at the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s (ISMM) Successful Selling Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
The short video above is a quick excerpt from Sean’s presentation on modern day selling at the ISMM, which will give you a good overview of what eselling® is really about, and how you can put these techniques into practice within your business.
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
Today’s buyers are a lot more sales savvy; they conduct research online about your products and services, your company and your competitors all with a few clicks of a mouse. The internet and social media in particular are now your buyers’ best friends, as it puts them in control of the modern day sales process, so what are you doing to redress this balance of power?
Here are some scary facts and figures for you:
The way your buyers make their purchasing decisions has changed, but are you changing the way that you sell? Social media can be a powerful sales tool when you know how to get the best from it, especially when it comes to using LinkedIn.
You’ve definitely heard of LinkedIn, you might even have a LinkedIn account and you’ve heard of the benefits and the power that LinkedIn can provide you in terms of prospecting and selling….but your LinkedIn account is just sitting there gathering dust simply because you don’t know what to do with it!
Or is it because you have yet to be convinced of the real value of the site? Well, he’s a few LinkedIn stats for you to digest:
Considering this information, it’s unsurprising to find out that in a recent survey conducted by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that 93% of UK sales professionals have received no training in using social media, and 53% of these want help with learning to use social media platforms as a business tool.
As a modern day sales professional it is so important to understand how to harness the power of LinkedIn for your business, and MTD Sales Training are here to help.
We have created a complimentary report for you which will help you to understand how to get the most out of LinkedIn as a business tool.
“Ultimate LinkedIn Essentials For Sales Professionals” is free to download and will show you how to tap into the potential goldmine of prospecting resources and additional sales opportunities that LinkedIn has to offer. With a killer profile and the right approach to hunt out, prospect and engage with your target market, you will maximise your prospecting time and generate qualified leads.
Simply click the link below to download your copy:
If you still need convincing of the power of LinkedIn or if there’s anything you would like to ask me then leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
MTD Sales Training