Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Staying Ahead in the Sales Game
|Selling is one of the most competitive fields in business today. It is one of the few careers where a person is able to determine what their income will be on a daily basis. So what can you do to separate yourself from the pack?|
First and foremost, to stay ahead in the sales game, you must outwork everyone. Coming in early and staying late always helps; but if you have family, that may not be where you want to focus your efforts.
Most people can't stay out of the "office gossip". A large number of sales people spend a good portion of their day talking about sports, family, or just general gossip with their co-workers. If you stay above the fray, put your head down and work when you are at work, you will get a leg up right away.
Make it a priority to out learn everyone. There are really two parts to this. Those two parts are sales knowledge and product knowledge. Most sales people will tell you the only way to learn is to slog it out every day. If you are taking the time to read this, chances are you are not one of those people.
While it is true the only way to learn how to sell is to sell, studying up always helps. Here is what I mean by that. Most actions by your customer should have a conditioned reaction. If your customer says X, you say Y. And it happens every time. It takes years to develop the right
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Never Taking No for an Answer
|A good salesmen never stops at the first "no". Or the second, or the third. People, in general, are conditioned to say no to almost every buying experience. Unless you grew up in a household with a salesperson, you have probably heard at least a few stories about the slick looking, fast talking, back slapping salesman that ripped your parents off. The advice they gave you to avoid the same situation they ran into is to just say no to every sales person that approaches you for the rest of your life. Over time it becomes almost a Pavlov's dog type reaction. See as salesman, say no. |
The sales person who stops there stays broke and doesn't usually stay in sales that long. They key is to begin asking questions to find out why your customer said no. The first "no" is very rarely ever the real reason they are saying no. It's the blow off no. It's the programed "no" they are supposed to toss out there.
I often hear this part of the selling process referred to as "peeling the onion". The process involves finding out why the customer says no every time he or she says no. Eventually you end up at the heart of the onion, or the real reason he or she is saying no. Only after you have worked your way past all the no's can you start to close.
There is one important note I would like to close with. The 80/20 rule should be in effect at all times. Eighty percent of your time should be spent with the twenty percent of the customers who make you money. Don't spend all day trying to close that one guy who says no every time. There are plenty more people out there who need your product or service.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
|Organization is a key for any good sales person. The problem is, most of us are not organized by nature, including myself. Neat, organized, focused people become scientists and engineers. Those of you that are like me (which is many I suspect) are always in the hunt for the next sale. When this becomes a problem is when we leave a disaster area of paperwork and loose ends in our path. Many times there are solid leads and half started sales in that mess that have been totally misplaced and forgot about.|
The important thing to remember is that it is always worth your time to stop and clean the mess. Especially when you are busy. We have a tendency to neglect our notes and our desk when the sales come start rolling in because we tend to think the all the activity is more important than our filing system and our desk. That's true for the most part, but there are five minutes in every person's day to tidy up and re-group. The benefits can be huge.
I can use an example from my personal experience. My desk and organizational system had all gone by the wayside over a few weeks and I had a few potential sales come in at the same time. One sizable sale was nearly lost in the mess and another sale which had been almost completed nearly suffered the same fate. One had been lost in the wasteland of my e-mail inbox and the other in the sizeable mess of paperwork on my desk. It would have cost me much more than the five minutes it took to clean my desk if I had lost those sales. Possibly into the thousands of dollars.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Learn to Love Objections
|It is the tendency of new sales people to be put on the defensive by an objection. Your life in sales will change when you learn how to handle objections. An objection is the second best thing that can happen to you. The only other options are yes and no. Yes is great, it means you got the order. No is pretty tough. A flat out no is difficult to over come. Not impossible by any means, but it is tough to do something with. That leave us with objections. Tom Hopkins says the sale begins at the first objection. The very first key to overcoming objections is learning how to deal with them mentally. You have to wire your brain to be excited about getting objections.|
The first step to loving objections start with a conversation between you and your subconscious. Have somebody throw an objection at you. Anyone, your spouse, a co-worker, anybody close by that will work with you. Have them toss an objection at you. What does your brain say when you get that objection? If your first thought is fear or disappointment, you need to explain to your subconscious why objections are a good thing. Keep working on this during your quiet time (maybe as you lay down in bed before you go to sleep) until your brain gets excited when you hear an objection.
Step two is to learn your objections and rebuttals. For most industries, salespeople hear the same seven to ten objections over and over again. Once you have memorized what those objections are and what you will say when you get them, your self confidence will soar!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I Need Your Help
|One of the single greatest phrases you can use in sales. People love to help other people. I use this one a lot when I am making cold calls. If I am calling business to business, I tell the gate keeper I need her (or his) help when identifying the decision maker within the company. That adaptation in my cold calling script has greatly increased my ratio of getting through the gate keeper. Try it!|
Thursday, June 29, 2006
What Makes You Uncomfortable?
|It is my firm belief that the difference between being average and being great is a willingness to do the things that make you uncomfortable. Average ordinary people avoid the things that make them uncomfortable. Successful people attack those things.|
I make about fifty phone calls every day. There are always a few of them that make me squirm. People that were rude or gruff, or for whatever reason, I just don't want to make those calls. I make those calls first. Not quite first, but in the first, say five calls. I pick up the phone and make a couple of easy calls first. People I know will be happy to hear from me or maybe don't usually pick up the phone. Those first couple get me loosened up. Then it is right into whatever call I fear the most. I keep scrolling through my calls and stopping on the ones that make my heart rate jump. As soon as I get that feeling, I make that call. I keep doing that until my heart rate stays even as I view all of my calls.
You see, I used to pass those phone calls up. Usually until I had no choice but to make them. What would happen is every time I would scroll past those calls, my anxiety level would step up a notch. I would spend the entire day getting more anxious and riddled with fear. Then, when I couldn't wait any longer, I would make those calls. The funny thing was, once those calls were done, I had an incredible feeling of relief.
Then one day, I remember my own saying. I starting making those calls first. Now I make it through the day with very little anxiety and my sales are climbing. It is amazing what a huge difference a little adjustment can make.
So, what makes you uncomfortable?
Monday, June 26, 2006
Ask More Questions
|It doesn't matter what you are selling or how long you have been doing it, if you want to increase your closing ratio, ask more questions. You should do this anywhere in the selling process. Here is a great example of what not to do.|
We recently had a sales guy walk out because he just wasn't cut out for sales. Since he walked out, two of us split his old accounts (thanks!). He had one account that he had been touting for quite some time as whale. Today our other salesman called that account only to find out there is no opportunity there. They source all of their equipment through a company with which we already have an account. He had been calling on this account for months and never asked if there was an opportunity there.
You must ask questions to qualify your prospect.
I see so many sales people go into a presentation and talk for sometimes an hour or more without stopping. Then they start their fact finding. You should be fact finding throughout your entire presentation. Nobody has an attention span to listen to every word you say for an hour. I once read that the average person could listen for only about two minutes without being engaged. Try to develop a timer that goes off in your head every two minutes that reminds you to ask a question. If you don't have a good one, I like "Does that make sense?". This will not only pull your prospect back in, but will also make sure you have not lost your prospect. Most people will not stop you to tell you they don't understand. There is nothing worse than talking for an hour only to find out you lost your prospect fifty five minutes ago. A word of caution though, if you ask "Does that make sense?" every two minutes, your prospect will want to choke you.
Set your two minute question timer.
I recently sat in on a role playing training with a gentleman who has been selling for twenty years. He was teaching the training and he was having people throw objections at him. For every objection, he had an answer. Immediately. This is fundamentally wrong.
There are two types of people when it comes to problems. There are problem oriented people and solution oriented people. Most of the population is problem oriented. These are the people who find a problem, stress about it, tell the whole world about the problem they are having, and allow that problem to be a barrier. As you can guess, these are not usually the successful people. As a professional salesperson, you must be a solution oriented person. You hold the solution to someone else's problem. Here is where the breakdown begins.
When a prospect throws an objection (problem) at you, it is very real to them and it may be a very big deal to them. When you slap the answer right back at them, it really doesn't matter how right you are. That prospect is now on the defensive. Handling an objection is like peeling an onion. You must keep peeling away layers until you get to the real objection. You do that by asking questions.
One of the many seminars I have attended was put on by Blair Singer. He is a phenomenal trainer, and he says you should ask five questions before you handle their objections. This is tough, but if you even get to three questions, chances are you will knock that rebuttal clean out of the park. Many times, they will talk themselves out of their objection before you get to five questions.
You must ask questions to handle objections.
The last place you want to ask question is when closing. That is a topic all in itself.
The Power of Positive Visualization
The power of visualization is limitless. The amazing, untapped secret of the mind is that it pulls you towards the person that you picture. The best source on this is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This power works not only to gain wealth, but obtain any goal you seek.
For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in politics. The problem is an interest is nothing more than that, an interest. People have interests their whole live that never become more than an interest. The true power is in developing what Mr. Hill calls a burning desire. Call it what you want, but when that interest begins to consume your every thought and action, when it wakes you up at night, you are on your way to realizing your goal. There are several components in creating a burning desire. I am only going to talk about one component today. Belief.
You must believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are capable of achieving your goal. You see most of my life, I wanted to be in politics, and I thought it would be great, but I didn't believe. As my time in studying success goes on, my belief in myself grows every day. That growing belief made me certain I could do what I had seen others do. Within weeks of making my political ambitions public, I was asked to become a director of NICPAC, a conservative political action committee. I now lead a grass roots organization that is changing the face of conservative politics in the great state of
Why am I telling you about my accomplishments in politics? It is by no means to brag. I was not born special in any way. I was born with special talents and abilities, just like each and every one of you. So I tell you these stories to help you visualize the types of things of which you are capable. Ordinary people with an extraordinary desire are capable of amazing things. But this blog is about sales. What does politics have to do with sales? In my opinion, it is the ultimate sale. There are no technical details, no warranty, and no price to haggle. You are the product. Your views and your opinions. Nothing tangible. That's what politics have to do with sales.
So now you understand the first step. You must have a belief in yourself that you can accomplish anything. Once you believe, you will feel that desire begin to engulf you. I will talk about how to develop that belief in a latter discussion.