We’ve all had it happen. We call a customer service number, or we’re dealing with a vendor, and our question is met with a response that sounds like it came out of a can. For most of us, this doesn’t inspire much confidence, and a lot of times, it can even seem as though the individual isn’t giving us a straight answer. Why then, do so many of us use scripted responses in our own business? Continue reading
Another key challenge for salespeople in many instances is finding the right person to pitch. Few things in sales feel worse than taking the time to build rapport, present your pitch, and then find out you’re speaking to someone who has little or no influence in the decision but instead listened to you simply because they wanted to seem important. In my early days as a sales rep for a tech firm, this happened to me a lot. There is, however, a simple solution for this: qualify the prospect right away, or as one salesman I knew years ago liked to say, ‘Don’t qualify him, disqualify him!’
Now, this isn’t to say that you really should try to disqualify your prospect, but rather that you should develop your own way of quickly weeding out the unqualified, pretenders, tire-kickers and people who just won’t pull the trigger because for whatever reason they’re oh-so-happy with the status quo.
One of the ways I do this is by being as direct as I can be without being rude. I might open with something like, ‘I provide dynamic sales training that increases productivity AND will result in qualified referrals even from prospects who don’t business with your company. I’m wondering if you handle the sales training budget for your company, and if so, what would I need to do to earn your business?’
At this point, I just wait for an answer. Very often a direct question will often elicit an honest answer.
Why? Over the last 15 years, one thing I’ve noticed is that important people in a company are nearly always direct and to the point when they speak. By being direct, you establish yourself as someone important with no time to waste. It also creates a chance to see whether you really should invest your time in pitching the prospect.
If you’ve got the right person on the phone, it’s pretty likely that at this point they’re going to tell you exactly what you can do to earn their business. When this happens, don’t trust your memory no matter how good it is. Write it down for use in future conversations. Now, there’s always a chance that they may just tell you there’s nothing you could do to get their business, in which case, they’ve just saved you from wasting your time pitching them. Either way, you’ve got clear direction as to how to proceed. This doesn’t mean you just give up if they do say no, though. You can try to uncover what the underlying objection is and see whether you can catch their interest, anyway, but if at that point they still refuse to hear you out, you’re better off making the next call.
Remember: Always be clear and direct.
One of the reasons some of us struggle in sales is that we approach the prospect with the expectation of receiving something from them (the sale) without actually having delivered value first. Now, we can split hairs and say that the sale has to close in order for us to get the chance to deliver, and while that’s true if we’re only thinking in terms of what our product or service can provide for the prospect, the truth is that we have te ability to give value before the sales process even begins. Continue reading
I haven’t asked for a referral in more than a decade, and I’d like to tell you why.
Most sales trainers and managers will tell you to ask for a referral as soon as you’ve gotten the sale. Some will even tell you to make a recording of yourself saying ‘I always ask for referrals,’ and play it on your CD player or MP3 in your car and other similar nonsense. Yes, I called it nonsense. While asking for the referral can work sometimes, in my opinion, it is somewhat presumptuous and can be perceived as a risk by the new client. Continue reading
Sometimes, a prospect can go through your entire sales process and still be undecided. This usually happens for two reasons. The most common reason is that you didn’t communicate the opportunity in a way that would inspire him to take action, which in turn usually means that you may not have listened well enough or asked the right questions to uncover the underlying objections that, for whatever reasons, the prospect is unwilling to disclose. However, it also frequently happens that we’ve failed to properly qualify the prospect. Continue reading