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The 10 Most Common Mistakes Sales People Make

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Falling on a banana skinWhen discussions move round to the subject of sales, conversations often get quite negative. The profession has, in many circles, a bad reputation and it’s obvious to many that the salespeople they have been dealing with have difficulties in emotional intelligence so they can’t see when they are being unprofessional and unlikely to get the sale.

A little like the stereotypical Brit on holiday…when they aren’t being understood by a foreign-speaking person, they tend to speak slower and speak louder! This is mirrored in selling by the salesperson repeating what they have already said and then blaming the prospect if they don’t actually get the sale!

There are, naturally, many mistakes salespeople make in trying to sell their products and services. Here are my top ten:

1. Thinking they need to sell! What? Yes, it’s true! If your products and services are good enough, you don’t need to sell it. You just have to make it easy for the customer to buy!

2. Bad prospecting techniques. Simply looking at the prospect’s website and finding out who the buyer is, is not prospecting. It’s shallow and is exactly what your competition does. Please dig deeper, come up with specific reasons why the prospect should meet you, talk to you, buy from you, use you and remain loyal to you. That’s the minimum amount of prospecting you should be doing

3. Prejudging what the prospect will do. This entails everything from thinking you know what the prospect will decide, to saying to your boss what a jerk they were for not signing the order

4. Poor listening. Probably the biggest learning point for all salespeople. Poor listening equates to not really caring about them or their business and certainly doesn’t earn any respect or give them reasons to build confidence in you

5. Too much pressure. Yes, you’ve got targets to meet, but reverting to the old-style ‘buy-today-or-the-price-will-be-adjusted-to-match-my-desperation-to-get-a-sale’ tactic will be often met with a snort of derision and a swift decision to buy elsewhere, thank you very much!

6. Talking too much. By this, I mean about your product and your services. If you do talk, it should be about their needs and wants, with little allusion to your products until they become the necessary talking points

7. Reverting to closing tactics. This is the one that most buyers tell me really turn them off. They’ve experienced all the closing techniques many times, so don’t use them. Instead, create reasons why they should buy and help them decide. You will be happier and so will the prospect

8. Lack of sincerity. This will shine through very brightly, especially if you resort to ‘tricks’ that are easily seen through. Being sincere, honest and truthful will pay off many more times than not

9. Poor attitude. This, like lack of sincerity, will shine through every pore. If you don’t like your job, people will sniff this out and be affected, even at the subconscious level. The attitude should be one of helpfulness, curiosity and vision. These three will help you get the right answer o your prospect’s situation and problems

10. Lack of personal development. By not taking your development seriously, you’re being left behind by those who do. This is the career you’ve chosen for yourself, so why not take time to learn new ideas, research good stuff from those who know and keep up-to-date on your customer’s industry. It’s the least you can do to earn respect from your customers and prospects

Do you have some more ideas of the big mistakes salespeople make? I’d love to hear some more.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Lessons For Sales People | Tagged , | Leave a comment

3 Key Components To Build Customer Loyalty Successfully

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customer loyaltyThere is a saying that customer satisfaction is useless; customer loyalty is priceless.

This is well-explained when you consider a familiar scenario. Have you ever visited a restaurant and been ‘satisfied’ and yet never gone back there? I guess you have. If the restaurant measured their success by satisfied customers, they might end up being puzzled why they don’t get more repeat business.

Satisfaction just means the quality or service has lived up to your expectations. Nothing more, nothing less. Unless there has been a valid reason (excellent food, great service, etc), you may or may not return. Satisfaction doesn’t equal loyalty.

For your customer to maintain their loyalty to you over a period of time, there are three key components that will help you achieve that end goal. None of them are difficult to implement and maintain. It just takes consistency of approach and a dash of desire.

1. Provide exceptional customer service in a safe, timely and professional manner and at competitive rates. See? Not difficult. In fact, pretty obvious. The real acid test is in how consistent you are in delivering it. Anyone can offer this level once in a while. But when challenges are faced, when times are hard or when resources are low, that’s the time when we start making excuses to clients and to ourselves. Excuses don’t cut it when it comes to real loyalty from advocates and raving fans.

2. Provide personalised and customised service for each customer, based on your understanding of what he/she values in the customer-relationship, thereby converting repeat customers to loyal customers. By personalised and customised, we are referring to how we treat each customer who comes our way. Customising individuals is about identifying the true need at each step of the way in the customer journey. The more personalised the customer feel they are being treated, they more likely they are to have well-founded reasons why they should think about being loyal to you.

3. Deliver that value 100% of the time. This is where the consistency comes in. This is where we differentiate ourselves by being dependable when customers require it and approachable when things go wrong. Anyone can do this when it’s easy – the rational-thinking person will develop loyalty when they see that you carry out the first two components whenever they require it, which is every time they give you their business!

Loyalty is earned by diligence, experience and hard work. If you want success with loyal advocates extolling your company to everyone they meet, adopt the systems that will allow you to deliver the components above and see if profits and revenue don’t rise, as you encourage customers to show their loyalty.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Jeanne Claire Maarbes at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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How To Be “Switched On” When It Comes To Your Sales Approach

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lbulbI once owned an old house and had to have it rewired. The electrics were basically shot and the place could have been a firetrap if I didn’t have something done pretty quickly.

The electrician worked hard to ensure everything was correctly done and, thankfully, he did an excellent job. I asked him to explain what would happen if something was wired incorrectly.

He told me that I would probably get a ‘short’, and the fuses would blow or the equipment might be damaged. In other words, incorrect wiring would not have the desired effect.

It’s interesting that we humans are wired up as well. Not in the conventional way with leads, of course, but in a more dynamic and free-flowing way. Our wiring (i.e. the way we compute information in our brains) will determine how we perceive our world.

For example, some people will need to see things before they understand them. They need the visual confirmation before they can comprehend instructions.

Others need to hear you say things in a particular way or use specific words before they will understand.

Still others will need to get hands-on experience before they can get a handle on what they need to do.

None of this ‘wiring’ is wrong; just different, and the degree to which people will follow this wiring will be almost unique to them, depending on their background, experience and conditioning.

So, what would you do with someone who has ‘visual’ wiring? You would show examples of what you’ve done with other clients, look at specific results that others have got using your solution or show the prospect what the finished product looks like.

With ‘auditory’ or ‘hearing’ wired prospects, you would describe how the services would affect their business, discuss what results they are likely to have and tell them how other companies have benefitted from using you.

The ‘kinaesthetic’ person needs to experience what you are talking about, needs to hold the product, get a feel for what it does, drive the process or physically be involved some way.

This different type of presenting your solutions will link up with the specific type of wiring the prospect will have, and will enable you to make the connection between what you do and how they want to know about it. Get it wrong and you could blow a fuse (no sale!). Get it right and you could light up their business (good result!)

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

Posted in Sales Interactions, Sales Mindset | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

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

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How To Spend The Five Minutes Before Meeting Your Prospect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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