There are no excuses for lost sales…
But, if you’re like me, you’ve given plenty. Among my favorite are the following:
“I only get bad leads.”
“I don’t have enough time.”
“I can’t make someone do something.”
“I’m having a bad month.”
Most of the time we use excuses in place of well-honed technique. Instead of putting in the energy to master the basics of sales, and constantly improve, we would rather invent another creative reason of why every force in the world is against us meeting our quota.
Here’s a secret….(it’s a freebie, so no need to send money)…the number one reason why salespeople lose sales is….
Yes, salespeople sabotages themselves all the time. Just to prove it to you, think of the last time you visited your favorite retail store. Did an employee rush up to you and ask, “Can I help you with anything?”
Of course they did. They do it every time. Why? Because some well-meaning executive demands they assault every customer with this question. Why? Because it works, but only sometimes. Most people spit back an automatic response of, “No. Just looking.” This brief conversation happens so frequently that most of us don’t even have to think about it.
What does this have to do with breaking sales records?
Oh, only everything.
To break every sales record in your company, you have to master three areas of your sales process:
I’ll assume you’re familiar with the first two areas. So let’s jump right in, shall we?
Qualifying: Selling to people most likely to buy
It’s my firm belief that most salespeople waste time with people who won’t buy, can’t buy or might buy in the future. If you want to break records (and you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise) you must decide right here, right now that you will never trade time for nothing. You must promise yourself and your family that you will pro actively and strategically sell only to those prospects with the highest probability of saying yes.
How do you identify these prospects? By mastering the art of qualifying. In essence, this area blends into the questioning area. However, to achieve the level of success you desire, it’s important that you separate the two areas in your mind. Qualifying well is the first step towards breaking sales records.
To qualify, follow these proven steps:
1. Define your ideal customer. What would your perfect prospect look, feel, believe, say, and say? Obviously, they would have the power and money to purchase your product or service. Get as specific as possible, because you can only target your best opportunities if you know how to spot them. Go ahead. Take a minute and write it down. For example, for a furniture salesperson, the ideal customer might be someone with a need for new furniture, with the money and decision power to make a purchase immediately. In the best circumstance, this person would be looking for the type of furniture the salesperson can offer, and want to make a buying decision as soon as possible.
2. Develop a series of qualifying questions to identify this ideal customer. The furniture salesperson might ask: “What type of furniture are you looking for?” “When do you need it?” “Is there anyone else who needs to approve of this item before you make a decision?” And so on. You get the picture. I can’t over emphasize the important of this area in dramatically increasing your closing ratio.
3. Spend most of your time selling to your most likely customers (and their referrals, of course). Manage your day and your schedule by these prospects. Chase the other, less likely prospects, but only after you have serviced the top priority clients.
Master the Art of Questions
To a seasoned salesperson, that this area is vital is no surprise. However, most salespeople, even highly paid ones, still stumble occasionally with questions. Questions direct the minds of your customers and keep you in control. In order to break sales records, you need to be able to do both naturally. Interested? I thought so.
When designing a set of questions for your most likely customers, keep the following in mind:
1. Each question should lead the prospect towards a “Yes”
2. Use Questions to find out what you have in common with the prospect (comment on anything that makes you “Like” the other person: hobbies, life experiences, family, challenges, etc).
3. Ask questions to uncover your prospects problems, pains, challenges and fears
4. Ask open-ended questions that let your customer tell all about themselves and their problems.
5. Ask “yes” or “no” questions only if you know what the most likely response will be. Try to set up your customer to say, “YES” as often as possible during the questioning phase of the presentation.
6. Ask questions to focus the prospect on how bad their current situation is and how worse it will become if they do nothing.
7. Ask closing questions throughout the entire sales process. Collect commitments as often as possible. Example: “Do you like it in red or blue?” or “It sounds like this is something that you really need to do. Is that fair?”
8. Over half of the things you say during a sale should be questions. Answer objections with questions. Answer questions with questions. After every few minutes of presentation, ask, “Does that make sense?” or “Do you have any questions about this so far?”
9. Ask emotional questions: “How do you feel about that?” or “How does that make you feel?”
10. Ask questions that target values, beliefs, emotions and motivation.
Two of my favorite questions are: “What is the most important thing to you about…..?” and “Why do you want to…?” The first question uncovers values; the second motivation.
If you get good at the first two areas, you’ll be well on your way to breaking every sales record in your company. But if you get good at this last area, you’ll blow your competition away. In short, reversing is simply acting in direct contrast of expectation. Instead of being eager, you hesitate. Instead of trying to convince someone of something, you try to talk them out of it.
At first, it doesn’t make sense. Until you really think about it for awhile. And if you use it a few times you’ll walk away dumbfounded. Like a miracle, it will produce wondrous, life changing results for you.
Here’s the great news. You can “reverse” at every step of the sales process. Do the unexpected and reap the results.
Consider trying one of the following reverses this week:
1. Throw an objection back at the customer.
EX. Customer: “I can’t afford it?”
You: “That’s exactly why you should do this. Let me explain why…”
2. When calling old prospects you haven’t heard of in a while. If they say they’re still interested, instead of jumping in with a sales pitch, try acting surprised.
3. Whenever a prospect makes a positive comment on your product or service. Try saying something like this: “Before moving ahead, I want to make sure you have considered everything…” or “Let’s step back for a moment first. What about transportation? Babysitting?”
The magic of reversing comes when prospects start defending their decision to buy from you.
Now you have a choice to make: You can either print this article off now and use it immediately or save it to your computer for later use.
If you’ve gotten anything out of this article, would you do me a favor and send it to a few of your friends?