Are you tired of trying to sell, sell, sell with poor results? Are your sales taking longer to complete? Are you finding that you are answering question after question after question, after the sale? Are you constantly competing on price?
The first thing I’m going to recommend is to “stop trying to sell” and switch to “helping people buy”. The reason is simple, most people hate to be sold to, but they love to buy. Salespeople make some serious mistakes and they have little to do with the product, service or the pricing.
Have you ever been sold something and two-three days later (or maybe a few months later) you wondered why you bought the item? When you came to the conclusion that you were “sold to”, how did you feel – about yourself, the salesperson who sold the item to you and the company that he/she works for? Yet, I can (almost) guarantee that you have bought products and services that were “just as useless” but you didn’t feel the same negativity towards the salesperson or the company. Why? The reason is, you were an integral part of the purchasing process.
Here are 4 recommendations for making your prospect part of the selling process and positioning yourself (and your product and company for that matter) as the supplier of choice.
- Listen to the prospect. One of the easiest ways to distinguish the difference between a successful sales person and one that needs more skills development is to watch how the salesperson interacts with the prospect. When the salesperson does all or most of the talking, there is a high probability that the sale will either be delayed e.g., need more information, want to think about it, etc., etc., or, will result in a failure to close. The bottom line is this, people really don’t care how much you know or what you can do until you show how much you care.
- View your prospect as an ally not an enemy. Some salespeople actually believe that you have to beat up on the prospect before they beat up on you. Often the cause of this is a hectic schedule or poorly organized work environment causing the sales person to take short cuts. The result is loss of sales and a poor reputation. As hard as it is to believe the prospect would rather see you as a friend than an adversary. Professional salespeople see their prospects as someone they want to do business with, someone they can talk to while both of you work to solve problems and attain goals.
- Take notes during the sales process. On a recent personal sales coaching assignment I asked the salesperson why they didn’t take any notes during the sale. He said that he has a ‘terrific memory’ and besides, he’s heard this same problem five times this week. He missed the point, he may have heard the same problem but his prospect doesn’t know that he has and frankly the prospect doesn’t care that he has. By taking notes we visually demonstrate that we are interested in the prospect’s problems and we’re reinforcing the value, criticalness, or urgency of the situation.
- Follow-up after a first meeting with a prospect. This is one of the most common errors made, particularly in business-to-business selling situations. By taking the time to write a personal note on company stationery, you help the prospect to remember you. It can be as simple as: “Dear Mary: Our meeting today provided me with some insight into the challenges that you and ABC Company face. I thank-you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I’ll drop by on Thursday with a proposal that I know will outline how we can work together to achieve the kind of results you are looking for. Sincerely, Michel Salesperson.”
Super sales people know that by listening to the prospect they will tell you everything you need to know to sell to them, their friends, and their other business contacts. When your prospects provide information and make choices about the solutions you present then they will make decisions about the sale, and you will be positioned to close it. Selling is not about the salesperson, it is about the prospect/Customer. Those that excel as sales professionals never lose sight about who is serving whom. Within five minutes of completing your next three sales calls, take a minute to: A) assess how much time the prospect talked; B) identify how you demonstrated how much you cared about the prospect’s current situation and problems; C) write a personal follow-up note for first-time calls.
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Copyright 2017 © Sid Ridgley
Sid can be reached at telephone: +1-905-895-7900 email: firstname.lastname@example.org