Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Go for the “No” Early in the Sales Process

Tags: qualifying prospects, dealing with objections

One of the keys for more effective selling is going for the ‘no’ early in the sales process. I learned this concept years ago especially when I was vulnerable to ‘think it overs’ (TIO). I would get ‘think it overs’ at several stages in the sales process and maybe you get them as well:

  • On the initial phone call when you’re trying to get an appointment – “Let me think it over, give me a call next week.
  • At the end of your initial meeting – “This sounds really good and something I should consider. Let me think it over and I’ll get back to you in the next couple of days.”
  • When you finish your presentation and you ask for the sale. “You made a very compelling presentation and we are impressed with your depth of knowledge and your very creative solutions to our problems. Let us meet as a group and go over this one more time and crunch some numbers.  Let’s plan on talking next week.

Sound familiar?

stop in the name of love

Of course it does and these ‘think it overs’ are what is keeping you from being more effective in your sales process. That’s nice to know or consider but the question becomes, “What do I do about it?” (click here to listen to a 3-minute audio clip on eliminating TIO)

As I learned early on is to get ‘no’ as soon as you can. What is important to understand about getting ‘think it overs’ is the mindset of your potential buyer. Your potential buyer will tell you that they need to think it over because:

  • They really don’t intend on making any changes but you impressed them with some information that they want to take to their current provider and see if they can do what you can do.
  • They have a need for approval and instead of telling you they are not interested they want to let you down easy. Telling you they want to think it over gives you hope and get’s them off of the hook until the next time you talk.

To fix the problem, eliminate ‘think it over’ as an option. Let your prospect know that when you finish the next meeting, next conversation, the final presentation, they will have everything they need to make a decision. You can tell them that you will be prepared to answer all of their questions and when you are finished, they will be in a position to make a decision- yes or no. Then simply ask what objections they have to that process.

This one key will help you close more business, more quickly at higher margins.

For more tips on how to uncover a prospects real reason for wanting to 'TIO' watch our Sales Guy Unplugged video on the "Question Behind the Question".

Keep Doing What You’ve Been Doing… Unless You Need Different Results

Tags: qualifying prospects, sales prospecting, close more sales

A guest post by Walt Gerano, Sales Development Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group

 think-big-1

There is a saying that goes something like “If you do what you have always done, then you will get what you have always gotten.”

I talk to a lot of salespeople who continue to plow ahead working harder to make more sales with the same approach they have used for years. In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

You would probably agree that the basics around what salespeople need to do to be successful hasn’t changed – they still must hunt, qualify and close.  If your results are not what you want them to be, then maybe what needs to change is the way you go about those three critical tasks.

How is your Hunting?

  • Are you still hunting with old technology or are you using Sales 2.0 tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with prospects, customers and former customers?
  • Are you still relying on mass marketing approaches in the hopes that enough people will respond only to realize that most of those that do are looking for free information?
  • Do you have a systematic approach to generating a stream of introductions and referrals or do you still depend on cold calls?

What about Qualifying?

  • Are you still telling the prospect why they should do business with you or asking them why they agreed to meet with you?
  • Do you have an effective selling system that tells you when to stay and when to walk away?
  • Are you selling consultatively? Asking good questions, asking enough questions, developing relationships early in the sales process, understanding why prospects buy and listening effectively?

And what about Closing?

  • Does your prospect agree to give you a decision after you present your solution or do you get a lot of “think it over” and “we’ll let you know?”
  • Do you get derailed because you present without all of the decision makers present?
  • Do you finish presenting your solution and NOT ask for the business by asking, “What do you think” or “What questions do you have” OR will you close with “What would you like to do now?”

 

Today’s buyers have access to information that used to be unavailable to them and there are always going to be desperate salespeople that will give them whatever they want with the hope of getting a “shot” to write the account.

Maybe your results are where you want them to be, but if not, think about what YOU are going to get if you don’t do some things differently.

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8 Steps for More Effective Closing - Sales Solution #10

Tags: Selling, qualifying prospects, sales presentations, sales improvement, sales development, successful selling, close more sales

Sales people typically want to know how to do three things better:

  1. See more people
  2. Manage their time
  3. Close more business

When we are working with sales professionals during our sales training workshops, closing is one of the last things we get to. Not because effective closing techniques aren't important to every sales process, but because it isn't as important as the sales steps leading to the close.  However, I've decided that, as I was posting the 10 solutions for successful selling, I'd pop "8 Steps for More Effective Closing" in up front so that, with those deals you have in your pipeline today, you might have a slight edge in closing those deals with this information.

Years ago, I was taught that "the close" is an affirmation of the conversations you've already had with the prospect - or at least that's the theory. The theory runs aground, so to speak, if your qualifying steps weren't as strong as they needed to be and if your set up for the closing wasn't as strong as it needed to be. Let's do a quick recap of what should have happened prior to showing up for the close.

  1. A relationship, based on confidence and trust, should have been developed.  (check out a brief Seth Godin Blog)
  2. You should have identified the motivation/compelling reason for your prospect to take action.
  3. The prospect should have told you that they wanted to fix a problem or they realize a currently unrealized benefit.
  4. You and the prospect should have agreed to an investment of time, money and resources.
  5. You and the prospect should have agreed to a decision making process that included:
    • You would supply a solution that fits their specifications
    • You would supply this solution within their budget
    • You would be prepared to answer all of their questions
    • They would be prepared to make a decision- yes or no
  6. You would have sent an "as we agreed to" letter
  7. You would have followed up the "as we agreed to" letter with a phone call confirming the contents of the letter.

If, in fact, you have done these 6 things, then your close should be an affirmation of everything that you've already agreed to. If you haven't executed on these 6 items, then... well, you are in trouble at time of close.

Here are 8 steps for more effective closing:

  1. Be prepared to be dazzling (10 presentation skills you MUST execute)
  2. You review why you are there to present
    • There is a problem that needs to be solved
    • There is an "agreed to" investment to solve the problem
    • There will be a decision today to either solve the problem or not solve the problem (Tell you yes or no)
  3. You place your 3-page presentation in front of the prospect:
    • Page 1 - cover sheet
    • Page 2 - list of problems identified in closing process
    • Page 3 - bulleted list of solutions to problems
  4. You ask the prospect which problem they want to discuss first
  5. You provide the solution and answer all of their questions
  6. You ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you love it and 1 you hate it, how do you feel about the solution I've just presented?"  If it is 7 or better, you are in good shape, but the prospect does not have all of the information they need.  You now have to ask them, "What information do you need to get to a 10?"
  7. You proceed through each solution the same way
  8. When you finish all of your solutions you ask the question, "What would you like to do now?"

If you have done all of your work the right way, you will get a decision. The challenge here is two-fold:

  1. Did you do all the right stuff?
  2. Are you okay with hearing, "No, I don't want to do business with you?"

Executing the right stuff and being okay with hearing "no" are two of the things that make selling so damn hard.

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