3. TABLE OF CONTENTSFINDING WINNERS Four Insider Secrets To Sales Success ……………………………………………………………………………… 1 What Makes A Winner? ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 2-4 Person Versus Personality …………………………………………………………………………………………... 4-6TRAINING WINNERS Aligning Your Marketing Strategies ………………………………………………………………………………... 6-9 Leverage …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9-11 Listen People Into Buying …………………………………………………………………………………………. 11-12 Principles-Based Selling …………………………………………………………………………………………... 13-14PROSPECTING TIPS 7 Power-Packed Prospecting Pointers ……………………………………………………………………………... 14-16 Don’t Outnumber Your Customers ………………………………………………………………………………... 16-18 Personal Positioning By Alignment ……………………………………………………………………………….. 18-19RAPPORT BUILDING TIPS The Greatest Secret In Selling ……………………………………………………………………………………… 19-20 How To Reduce Tension And Establish Trust …………………………………………………………………….. 20-22MOTIVATION TIPS Selling During The Lean Times …………………………………………………………………………………… 23-24SMART QUESTIONING Discovering What People Will Buy: Asking The “Right” Questions ……………………………………………… 24-27 The Master Keys Of Selling: Asking And Listening ………………………………………………………………. 28-30 Turn Your Demonstrations Into Power-Packed, Value-Based Applications ………………………………………. 30-32DEALING WITH OBJECTIONS Justify Your Price By Proving Value ………………………………………………………………………………. 32-34 Needed: A New Direction In Sales Training ……………………………………………………………………….. 34-35CLOSING SALES Closing Tips For The Value-Based Salesforce ……………………………………………………………………... 35-36 All Is Lost If You Don’t Ask For The Order! ………………………………………………………………………. 37-39 The Watchword Of The 21st Century ……………………………………………………………………………… 39-40 Six Tools To Locate Qualified Prospects …………………………………………………………………………... 41-44 Building A Bridge: The Transition To Sales Talk ………………………………………………………………….. 44-46 Negotiating Tips For The Value-Based Salesforce ………………………………………………………………… 46-48 The Cornerstone Of Value-Based Selling: Proving Your Claims ………………………………………………….. 48-49 Bring Your Own Witnesses ………………………………………………………………………………………… 49-52 Notes ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………... 52Sales Management University * 1903 Ashwood Ct. Suite C Greensboro, North Carolina 27455 * 800-633-7762
4. FINDING WINNERS The Four Insider Secrets To Sales Success T here are four questions that must be asked consistently in the hiring, managing, training, coaching and retention of enough? Are they organized and structured... or are they a loose cannon? Yes, personality does have a lot to do with sales success. There are probably a hundred more! • Positive expectancy effective salespeople. These key questions are However, it may not play as big a role as some • Belief in self and product at the very center of a person’s ability to have traditionally believed it does. • Ability to think on one’s feet perform to any meaningful degree of sales • Product knowledge performance. Here they are: • Time Management skills “Will this person sell?” is a function of attitude • Neat, contemporary appearance and the real accelerator of sales performance. • Ability to deal with rejection I Can this person sell? Is a person a self-starter or do you have to • Strong problem solving capacity II How will this person sell? jumpstart their every effort? Can they deal with • Courage to ask for the order III Will this person sell? rejection? How about long hours? What is their • Strong interpersonal skills IV Why would this person choose to sell? attitude toward sales as a profession? Do they • Empathy view it as a necessary evil? Do they enjoy it? • Balanced communication Whether it is selling a service, selling trucks, How well do they handle stress? In the final • Conversational skills cars, computers or lingerie, the same three analysis, the sum total of these beliefs and • Strong ego questions always apply. They never change! many more will ultimately determine if a • Self-starting ability person will sell long term. They can even • Perseverance override a lack of selling skills, industry know- • Listening skills Why is that the case? In over 20 years of in- how or even interpersonal weakness. • Emotional maturity depth research, we have concluded that there • Physical stamina is a definitive formula for sales performance. • Resiliency The single most important question, however, • Selling Skill is this one: Why would a person choose to sell Is there any wonder why effective, productive • Behavioral Strengths in the first place? Simply put, it is this: What a salespeople are so tough to find, train, retain • Attitudinal Structure person is most interested in and inspired by, and motivate? Customer focused, positive and • Personal Interests & Values they will choose to do. By the same token the responsive salespeople are the most essential more enthused, interested and excited they are ingredient to your long-term success. Invest about something, the more diligently and the time, money, energy and effort to do the The answer to “Can this person sell?” is consistently they will work at it. This is true for following: determined by the level of selling skills and any profession. However, it is especially true knowledge that a salesperson possesses. What of sales where rejection is high, failure is • Attract the best this means is that a person could have a constant reality, work levels are demanding • Select them carefully pleasing personality and the most positive and the requirements for success severe. In the • Train them correctly attitude in the world - and still not be able to final analysis, this is, perhaps, the most • Manage them with vision sell. You have seen it and I have seen it. important question of the four. • Create a positive, customer-focused and Perhaps more often than we care to admit! The truth is that selling anything requires highly charged environment and... certain skills and a solid grasp of the • Get out of their way and let them sell! All of that aside, what are some of the most To sample a free assessment, click here. knowledge and principles related to the commonly agreed upon characteristics that are Remember that selling is a very personal, one- science of selling. most critical to sales success? Let’s take a look on-one activity. It will always require at a quick checklist of twenty of the most effective, caring and competent salespeople. “How will this person sell?” is answered essential. Don’t ever believe - otherwise you’ll never be behaviorally. Is a particular salesperson “too able to offer most products through a vending pushy?” Not pushy machine!Sales Management University * 1903 Ashwood Ct. Suite C Greensboro, North Carolina 27455 * 800-633-7762
5. What Makes A Winner? The 80-20 Rule ExpandedT he well-known 80-20 rule (Pareto Principle) applies perfectly to sales simply this: they have and use the winner’s edge of customer-focused, value-based answer that raises an even more important question: How does any salesperson awakenforces, but we have discovered a little selling. In other words, they possess and use a prospect’s interest and convince people itknown corollary to it. Simply stated, the the power to convince people to buy. is to their advantage to invest time inbasic rule is that 80 percent of all sales are listening to a sales presentation?produced by only 20 percent of the If all things are equal within your niche, thensalespeople. That truism applies to most the Salesforce with the most IMPACT will There are countless techniques that couldareas of human endeavor and has spurred enjoy the most success. Let’s now find out give you someone’s attention long enough tomany people to success in a wide range of more about what customer impact is, rattle off a traditional sales pitch. Remember,enterprises. discover how it can give you the winner’s though, techniques are for short-range goals. edge and learn how to get it. To succeed for a long-range career, you mustYet, as powerful as its message is, we ground your attention-getting methods ondiscovered a startling enhancement to that Why Customer Impact Works principles. We have developed fourrule when we found that: principles that make the answer to the “what A great way to understand customer impact is the difference?” question absolutely clear:More than 60 percent of all sales are made is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. To learn about the IMPACT system, click here.by the top five percent of all salespeople. Here is one scenario that is easy to envision: Customers IMPACT Principle #1: We pay attention to people we believe haveWe wondered why that was true and began Your doorbell rings, you answer it and something important to tell us.asking salespeople we worked with, “Why discover it is a salesperson who wants tois it that more than 60 percent of all the sales come in and show you a miraculous new can The beginning of high customer impact inare made by the top five percent of all opener that can be yours for a phenomenally your career will come with your capacity tosalespeople?” We got a wide spectrum of low price. You are courteous, but you convince people that what you have to say isanswers. Some typical ones were: quickly get rid of that salesperson. If he or important to them. Your customers live in a she gets pushy, you might even speak world where they are continually bombarded“They’ve got products that are in great abruptly and slam the door. by people who claim to have somethingdemand,” some would say. “They’ve got important to say to them. Your challenge isgood territories,” others answered. “They Yet, later that evening an insurance to convince them.just work harder,” confessed some. “Some salesperson keeps an appointment with you,are born lucky” was a common response. and you spend more than an hour soaking up Again, put yourself in a customer’s shoes: every word of the presentation. When it isWe have found studies that refute every one over, you obligate yourself to spend All day long, people are trying to gain yourof those claims. Most salespeople in the top thousands of times what you would have attention. The boss wants you to hear or readfive percent would do well selling almost spent on the can opener. instructions; family members want you to doanything, almost anywhere, and they often things for them; friends and neighbors havework fewer hours than most of the sales- What is the difference? Why is it that we ideas they want to share; television,people in the bottom 20 percent. will listen intently to everything one person newspapers, and radio blitz you with appeals says, while we will not give another the time to buy things. You live in a never endingThe studies found that the true answer to of day? The obvious answer is that you were barrage of hype. Communications expertswhy the top five percent of all salespeople more interested in insurance than you were have found the typical American receiveshave become the real champions in selling is in a can opener. Yet, that is only a surface about 1,800
6. messages a day that press for some form of This blind spot in salespeople’s attitudes often information about a product, service, oraction. That totals 9,000 messages in one results in a preoccupation with handling company that interests us. We will asknormal work week, and you are only one of objections. Traditional sales training has questions about things we don’t understand.those messages. preached that we should continually read, We will even welcome some gentle study, and practice techniques to “overcome persuasion to help us make up our minds. Yet,Americans have learned to tune out most of objections,” rather than find out how to the moment we feel someone is trying tothis stream of unwanted messages. We have connect with what the customer needs and manipulate, intimidate or dominate us, ourlearned to filter out all but those messages we how we can supply it. The top five percent of defenses take over and we prepare to put up athink are important to us. In order to be the selling profession always remembers WII- good fight. Tricky selling maneuvers are ansuccessful, salespeople must have the capacity FM and continually broadcast that they know invasion of personal space and propriety andto break through those thousands of other how to help people get what they need or people will defend their personal space almostmessages and convince a prospect that what want. to their death.they have to say really matters to him or her.How can that be done? Though the process of A single-minded focus on this one concept, True sales champions know that when abreaking through listening barriers involves that of viewing yourself as a needs-fulfiller for salesperson and a customer get locked into amany steps, we have found another impact every prospect, will easily place you in the top war of the wills, the salesperson always loses.principle that provides a basis for the process: five percent. That insight is important enough The emphasis must remain on helping to rephrase as a vital principle: prospects make the decision to buy, never onCustomer IMPACT Principle #2: selling. When you are meeting someone’sPeople buy for their own reasons; not for Nothing else can give you more customer needs, you never trigger negative emotions,yours or mine. impact than knowing how to direct every instead you become a welcome aide. appeal to the prospect’s self-interests.Champion salespeople know that prospects Customer IMPACT Principle #4:typically could not care less if they have a That leads us to the next vital insight into what Buying is basically an emotional response.chance to win a trip to Hawaii, or a new car, gives a salesperson impact:or even a yacht. We all have an inner radio The two most fundamental reasons any of usthat is pre-tuned to pick up only one station- Customer IMPACT Principle #3: buy anything are the desire for gain and theWII-FM. That stands for What’s In It For Me? People do not want to be sold; they want to fear of loss. We buy because we hope to gainEvery prospect you call on has his or her own buy. something from the purchase or because weneeds, interests, and desires and the only place want to avoid a loss we are currentlythey hear ads about how to fulfill them is on Have you ever noticed that when someone experiencing or expect may occur. Buying isWII-FM. proudly displays a purchase they are pleased primarily an emotional response. with that the most common expression is, “IDuring training experiences with thousands of bought it from...?” It is only when we are Our purchases may be guided by commonsalespeople, we have observed that the unhappy with a purchase we have made that sense and reason. We may temper ourgreatest single selling error occurs when we say, “That XYZ Company sold this trash to purchases by logic. We may be delayed bysalespeople consistently fail to broadcast their me!” In a crowded niche market, a few conflicting interests. Yet, what causes us tomessages over their prospects’ personal customers making statements like that will sign on the dotted line is emotion. Thatstation, WII-FM. Salespeople who use quickly ruin your reputation. principle suggests several important aspectstraditional selling techniques broadcast in a of customer impact that we should consider.buyer blind spot, focusing on why they want People resent feeling coerced, manipulated, orto sell, instead of who would want to buy what tricked into doing or buying anything. We willthey’re selling. We will listen to, and even appreciate,
7. First, it suggests that people buy benefits forthemselves, not features, products, services, Person Versus Personalitynor even corporate reputations. They are uccess at value-based, customer-focused simply ventured forth armed with a smile, aseeking benefits that will fulfill their desirefor gain or protect them from the loss they S selling requires deeper personal qualities than merely having a good sales strong handshake and a case full of product samples and literature. Ironically today’sfear. personality. Yet, personality has often been highly-competitive markets have evenSecond, it suggests that a strong empathy for mistakenly used as the key issue by sales outdated the question, “Will they sell?”the customer is absolutely vital for success managers when hiring new salespeople. Thein selling. Since buying decisions always common belief is that if a person meets a Intelligence And Personalityinvolve emotions, you must be intuitively certain personality profile, they will be ableinsightful into what the prospect is feeling. to sell. Today, the crucial question to answer in finding successful value-based, customer-Third, it means that you must be the sort of Naturally, when you are screening new focused salespeople is, “Will they sell oursalesperson with whom people enjoy doing candidates, a question that should be in your products in this environment?” Now we havebusiness. During an emotional experience, mind is, “Can they sell?” The answer to that become very specific. Just because someoneno one needs a salesperson pushing more question is: almost everyone can sell. can sell a low-price, high-volume commodityinto the flood they already feel. Mastering the mechanics of value-based item doesn’t mean they can sell big-ticket, selling is easily within the capacity of most long-term, low-volume items to a very high-Your customer impact will rise sharply people and we have seen successful level market. Our research has shownwhen you put your heart into your work. salespeople with practically every conclusively that intelligence has to beLearn how to connect with your customers’ personality type under the sun. Personality, considered as a crucial quality in addition tofeelings and how to help them find and by itself, has little to do with selling unless it personality when determining how someonefulfill their desires or overcome their fears. represents some dreadfully repulsive or will sell in a specific environment.Benjamin Franklin stated it best when he negative behavior.said: Our research has revealed that in most sales With that knowledge, you need to ask a fields the intelligence level of the salespeople“In persuasion, talk of emotion, not different question about your candidates than fits into a relatively small band on the IQreason?’ whether they can sell. A better question to scale. For example, with our clients who sell ask is, “Will they sell?” This is where we a demand product on a repetitive basis toCustomer impact is the ability to gain and start to see a significant separation. While relatively unsophisticated buyers, their tophold the attention of the right people and to nearly everyone can sell, not everyone will. sales performers fall in the 40th to the 60thinfluence them to buy. It is your capacity to Many people simply have no interest in percentile in intelligence scores. With clientsget people to filter your message out of the sales. Some may be too lazy or undisciplined selling complex, highly expensive products9,000 others they will hear during their work to put forth the effort required to close sales exceeding several million dollars the topweek and eventually follow your lead in a while others may lack the clarity of focus performers fall into the 70th to the 90thbuying decision. toward key values that is necessary for sales percentile level. success. And some simply do not valueIf you do that, you will make more money, selling as a profession. Though few selling environments require ahave more control over your life and gain Mensa Society member to be able to sell thegreater recognition in selling than in nearly You can, however, identify and hire products, a high IQ can be an importantany profession available to you. Having high candidates who will sell, yet even that is not attribute. However, one role of salescustomer impact is the dominant factor that the ultimate question you need answered. managers is to properly match intelligenceseparates the winners from the losers in the The willingness to sell, by itself may have levels withselling profession. been enough in the days when salespeople
8. the demands of his or her specific what appeared to be an outgoing, glittering, They like to take time to think. She wasenvironment. For instance, in an powerful personality, only to discover six driving them nuts. “While she apparently fitenvironment selling very basic products, a months later that they could not perform? the classic mold of traditional salespeople, itsalesperson with an exceptionally high IQ What you see in those cases is the true was all based on personality. The personmight become bored while repeatedly person emerging from the personality. All inside was not well-suited for connectingmaking the same simple sales presentation to things being equal, personality is driven by deeply with people who specialize in veryapprentice buyers. That same high IQ needs. While that’s true, inner person is personal, very human problems.”salesperson, however, could easily find long- driven by their value structure.term satisfaction and success selling Forget About “Born” Salespeoplecomplex products that require complicated Here’s a good story that illustrates thetransactions with bright and demanding importance of value structure over Never again can you hire someone who has aexecutives. intelligence and personality in sales success. good personality or who someone swears is a A close associate of mine was contacted “born salesperson?’ To build a salesforceWhile intelligence is an important factor to recently by a collection services company that will succeed into the 21st Century, youconsider, personality will, nonetheless, play that was in a panic over a saleswoman who must advance to the next higher level. Thea role in sales success at all levels of selling. was about to ruin their business. Here is the sales personality is just as outdated as theObviously, a salesperson with a drab, story in his words: old-school techniques we have warned younegative and introverted personality would to retire.find little success in selling lavish vacation “The collection company was terriblypackages to the Mediterranean. And confused. For them, recruiting this woman The personality required for long-range salesnaturally, a salesperson with a superficial, had been a real coup. She had long been success in today’s crowded market is highlyglib personality would win the trust of few Number One in sales for a copier company. variable; the person is not. How somebodyprospects who were concerned with the After years at the top of this fast-paced sets priorities, what they value most and theirdetailed data of complex financial market, she had tired of its tempo. When she empathy for their fellow human beings istransactions. began looking to switch to a more even- what will ultimately drive sales performance. tempered market, her search did not take Any reasonably intelligent person can masterThe Key Attribute For Sales Success long. With her outstanding credentials, the value-based selling. It is not the steps that collection company hired her immediately?” trip them up, it is their attitude.Though personality and intelligence clearlyare important factors in sales success, the “But nothing went right. This woman not While nearly anyone can learn thepersonal attribute that truly drives long-term only had terrible sales performance, but the mechanical steps, achieving long-termsales performance is the value structure of collection company’s clients actually hated success in sales requires the right person.the salesperson. How someone perceives and her. They were calling the office in droves, Filling your salesforce with the right kind ofestablishes priorities relates directly to their with comments like ‘Get her out of our face, people will answer the most importantsales performance. Long-term success or lose our business forever!” question for you as a sales manager: Willdepends upon how a salesperson sees the they sell our products in this environment?world of selling, how they see themselves in “When they called me, I met with her tothat world and how they prioritize the administer our assessments. After reviewing The good news is that we have now givenmultitude of demands that will be made on her results, I knew immediately that she was you what it takes to perform in today’sthem by today’s highly crowded selling wrong for the job. The copier market is very crowded market. Developed by The Brooksenvironments. hard charging. In contrast, the collection Group, IMPACT Selling and all its agency dealt mostly with hospitals, principles will equipHow many times have you added someone which is a very soft, easy-going market.to your salesforce who had
9. you for long-range, successful performance. attention he knew they wanted. The key to and intense competition will continue. TheYour remaining challenge is to fill your Jerry’s success was that his value structure difference between the long-term winnerssalesforce with people whose value enabled him to intuitively know when and and the also-rans lies in the sales strategiesstructures match what needs to be done. what to do. Whatever someone sets as a they employ. Success in the 21st Century priority, they will tend to do. Keep that and beyond will be simple but not easy: itPerson Versus Personality truism in mind as you read these personal will rely on value-based, needs-focused attributes while factoring in the special selling.Here’s a story that shows the significance of requirements of your specific market nicheperson over personality in sales success: and products. Also, keep your own and your It is my wish that the concepts and salesforce’s individual attributes in mind, techniques I’ve given you here will be asI worked with a man named Jerry who was carefully noting crossover attributes that may powerfully effective for you as they haveone of the first people I know to use a fax help you identify an unusual strategy like been for the thousands of others whom wemachine to close sales. As a person, he was Jerry’s that taps unique attribute have trained. Here is a final adage that sumstremendous at building trust. Jerry also had combinations in your salesforce. up the most important factor in achievingan exceptional sense of timing; he was the long-term sales success:Smokey The Bear of sales: He could sense The new world of niche selling promisesa close before it even came. The many challenges and great rewards. Niche New ideas will never work unless youcombination of the two attributes made him selling is not merely a wave of the future; it do.a powerful closer. is the reality of the present. Crowded The challenge is yours. So are the markets, demanding buyers, price sensitivity opportunities... seize them.When Jerry sensed the prospect was ready To complete your own free assessment, click here.to buy, he acted as if they had already toldhim “yes” and offered to fax his office rightthere on the spot to get confirmation of their TRAINING WINNERSorder. His sense of timing was so perfectthat he did not want to let the moment pass, Aligning Your Marketing Strategiesso he would say, “Let me do this, let’s writethis up now and fax it into our office, soyou will have immediate confirmation.” Hisprospects were so favorably impressed by M any companies have salespeople running all over the country while the Any sales or marketing strategy can be either focused or diffused. The key to alignment isthe offer of an instant confirmation from the right hand (sales) does not know what the left for sales and marketing to both work fromwarehouse that they rarely resisted further. hand (marketing) is doing. Marketing usually the same focused strategy. Success cannot be operates in one area, sales in another, and expected if a misalignment occurs betweenThis method would never work with the never the twain shall meet. The two never two departments with ineffective, diffusedstereotyped, traditional sales personality. If talk to each other. They are not in sync. They strategies. Here are the distinctions betweena salesperson had not built trust and rapport, are not aligned. When that occurs in a focused and diffused strategies:it could appear extremely pushy. If the crowded marketplace, your sales willprospect still had lingering doubts or was flounder. The sales staff has to carry the FOCUSED STRATEGYbeginning to feel trapped, this tactic could marketing banner. There has to be • Clearly definedeasily feel like the lid was slamming down consistency. When the two are aligned, the • Well-knownon “the kill.” Instead, Jerry made the resulting consistency always produces • Acceptedcustomer feel significant by giving their improved sales. As a survey conducted byorder the high-priority instant Learning International revealed, alignment is DIFFUSED STRATEGY a real challenge for sales managers to • Unclear address. • Unknown • Not accepted
10. Of course, any strategy has to be customer- be focused. Clearly, this is the most accepted both inside and outside of yourfocused to succeed, but it also must be effective combination. It is also possible for organization, then your company isplainly identifiable and be complete with either one to be focused while the other one DOOMED to failure. Your company willtraining mechanisms for your staff. diffused. Finally, the worst case scenario, disappear in the crowded marketplaces of the both strategies can be diffused. 21st Century failure due to misalignment isIdentifying a successful, clearly-defined not something new, but has been a fact ofsales strategy will naturally be of no use if it Here is a matrix that graphically illustrates business life for centuries. We have merelyis not known, or accepted by your salesforce. the four possible combinations of marketing given it a name and a place in our matrix.Once you train your entire salesforce, then and sales strategies: On the left side of theyour strategy will have the second element Strategy Matrix chart you see the two Finding companies to study where marketingof being well-known. possible sales strategies. Then, across the and sales are both diffused is difficult top of the chart, we have placed the two because they do not last long. We won’tAn important third element is that your sales possible marketing strategies. The bother including examples of that lose-losestaff also accepts the plan you use. It is our intersections of each heading in the matrix combination. If you want to read about somehope that the demonstrated successes we correspond to the predicted outcome of on your own, check your local courthouse forhave seen with IMPACT Selling will give using one of the four possible combinations. the latest Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings.you an easy job of convincing your We will now individually examine each ofsalespeople of its value. Once your staff these four possibilities, providing anecdotes Focused Marketing Strategy Andaccepts IMPACT Selling, then you will to illustrate each situation. Diffused Sales Strategyhave all three elements of a focused sales Result: Conflict And Low Salesstrategy. Diffused Marketing And Diffused Sales Strategy In greater abundance are companies whereThe Strategy Alignment Matrix Result: Failure their marketing strategy is focused while their sales strategy is diffused. The mostThe possible strategies a company’s Box number one shows that if neither your notable characteristics of this commonmarketing and sales departments may company’s marketing strategy nor its sales situation are internal, corporate. conflict andemploy can be depicted in four ways. First, strategy are clearly defined, well-known and low sales. They may plod along for years,both the marketing and sales strategies can but their misalignment will ensure they never prosper. MARKETING STRATEGY In these companies, marketing has done a terrific job of identifying prospects and may well have developed strategies that bring DIFFUSED FOCUSED customers through the door in droves. Their problem, which they usually cannot DIFFUSED understand, is why sales are not being FAILURE MARGINAL closed. Internal corporate conflict develops SUCCESS SALES and relations between sales and marketing STRATEGY rapidly deteriorate to finger-pointing and accusations. CONFLICT/ LONG- FOCUSED LOW RANGE The well-focused marketing department in SALES SUCCESS one of these companies usually believes they are saddled with the worst sales department
11. in the world. While it may appear that way strategy that had served him well for years, company in this category may stay infrom their side of the fence because the right but it met the needs of buyers who were business for years and be a well-knowncustomers are being reached, the real more economy-minded. His former brand name because they will usuallyproblem lies with upper management. They prospects had a completely different view of maintain moderate success. Still, their lackhave not ensured that both strategies are value in an automobile than Jim’s new of alignment will never allow them to enteraligned. Porsche prospects. Once we pointed out the the top 20 percent.To learn more about this matrix, click here. misalignment, the sales manager workedHere is a story that provides a good example with Jim so that he changed his selling The obvious question, “Why do theseof how misalignment of even a single strategy to fit in with Porsche’s marketing companies survive better than when thesalesperson can hurt sales performance: We strategy. Shortly thereafter, Jim’s sales misalignment is in the other direction?” Thatconsulted with a car dealership that was performance jumped dramatically. question has a simple answer: goodhaving trouble with a new salesman named salespeople can sell anything! I have done it;Jim. His poor performance was a surprise to Here is a truism that I have emphasized to you have done it. When you turn a goodthe sales manager because Jim had been the countless sales managers: sales staff loose with a good product andsales leader at a nearby Toyota dealer. For good product training, they will make sales.years, he had set regional records and bad a The company and the salesperson both Salespeople who are well-trained can maketremendous impact on the success of the need to understand the power of things happen.dealer. In fact, Jim had used his exceptional positioning by alignment, and theperformance to leverage his career, salesperson needs to understand the Companies that rely on the natural instinctsadvancing to our client, a Porsche power of personal positioning by and capabilities of its sales people willdealership. Once at his new job, though, his alignment. experience limited success, but continuallyperformance suddenly dropped and a deep fall short of their long-range goals.conflict developed between Jim and his sales Though the Porsche sales manager had a Eventually customers tire of pushy salesmanager. good sales strategy, it was not well-known pitches. Or worse, one of those customer- to Jim. You can see in our Strategy Matrix focused, “top 20 percenters” arrives on theJim had a finely-honed sales strategy of his that this put them in the box where conflict scene.own which gave him great confidence. reigns. Had this former Toyota salesmanHowever, his poor closing rate led his immediately focused on the needs of his new We saw a great example of this in our ownmanager to question Jim’s talents. The sales customers, he would have automatically offices with a saleswoman who called here.manager did not believe that Porsche’s realigned himself personally with the well- She worked for a collection service agencymarketing strategy was at fault. focused Porsche marketing strategy. and came in to see if we needed what she was offering. We let her proceed because weClearly, Porsche’s marketing strategy was Diffused Marketing Strategy And were eager to see what would happen.well-focused. They were masterful at Focused Sales Strategytargeting prospects who might buy high-end, Result: Marginal Success Initially, she asked a couple of politehigh-performance luxury cars. It was equally questions, but only because somebody hadevident that Jim was a top-notch Let’s examine box number two on the grid trained her to do so. Then she began to pitchprofessional. and describe another type of company that her product in the classic sense. She was a floods the ranks of the bottom 80 percent stereotypical, high-energy salesperson andThe immediate problem at this dealer was group, and as such merely gets by. probably could have sold a fan in a windthat the sales manager had not aligned his storm. Seemingly, she was on a roll.new hire with Porsche’s marketing strategy. When marketing and sales are out ofThe missing element was that the Porsche alignment in this direction, we always find About halfway through her well rehearsedsales strategy was not yet known or accepted marginal success and marginal pitch, she stopped, looked me straight in theby Jim. Jim had continued using a sales profits at best, but little or no growth. A eye and said, “If everything looks good to
12. you today, Mr. Brooks, is there any reason developed in tandem from the ground up, they adopted that strategy then store buyerswhy we couldn’t do business today?” I knew with both focused squarely on the needs of would readily see that No-Nonsense offers aimmediately that she had been through your prospective customers. better value.extensive though outdated sales training. ButI knew just as well that her company did not Your sales strategy has to be linked with The struggles of No-Nonsense in the hosieryhave a focused marketing strategy. Clearly marketing to leverage the advantages and industry are a classic example of the internalthey had made no marketing efforts to find opportunities that develop as a result of the conflicts we always find when marketing isprospects who needed their services. advertising of your products or services. focused and the sales department is not Linkage will be difficult unless the two aligned with that marketing. Here’s a truismThis story shows why I see alignment as an strategies are developed concurrently. you can bank on: price alone is rarely a keyextension of leverage. Her company’s factor in buying decisions. Instead, the keydiffused marketing strategy had put her in a The power of alignment can be illustrated by factor in any buying decision is the perceivedposition where she was not making the most comparing two prominent companies in the value to be gained by the buyer. Perceivedeffective use of her time, talent or resources. lady’s hosiery business. Industry leader value is why companies with the highestShe was simply going about a dally routine, L’eggs, with a focused marketing strategy priced products and services in manyhoping for something to happen. and a focused sales strategy, has a solid lock industries often garner most of the market. on the top spot, despite having higher pricesI see the problem of a diffused marketing than competitors. This piqued our curiosity, We continually see lower-priced competitorsstrategy and focused sales strategy so we studied their success. Here is what we scratching their collective heads incapsulated in an aphorism that has been found: amazement at how they are continuallyaround for years: beaten, though they offer the same product at At L’eggs, both marketing and sales are a lower price. People rarely buy products;You may need to take whatever comes well-focused, targeting the high-end of the they buy value and most are willing to pay aalong, but you also have to go after market. No-Nonsense is number two in the fair price for the value they receive.whatever you want. industry though they clearly beat L’eggs on price. No-Nonsense has a focused marketingYour path toward getting whatever you want strategy that targets the same high-endbegins when both your company’s marketing customers as L’eggs, yet their salespeoplestrategy and its sales strategy are aligned. always push price because they do not LeverageOnly then will you experience success believe they can compete with L’eggs.through long-range growth and high profits.Let’s now look at the alignment order that The expectation of the No-Nonsense sales s a concept, leverage is nothing new inwill put you in that top 20 percent ofsalespeople, tapping you into 80 percent of reps seem to continually come true but not for the reasons they imagine. The true I business. The traditional concept of leverage, however, only encompassessales. problem is that No-Nonsense salespeople maximizing your time, talent and resources. mainly push their price advantage overFocused Marketing Strategy And L’eggs, which is in direct conflict with the At The Brooks Group, we have refined theFocused Sales Strategy marketing thrust of No-Nonsense. If the traditional idea of leverage by stressing thatResult: Long-Range Success buyers were looking solely for discount for leverage to work properly, it needs to be hosiery, they could get even better deals applied against the right fulcrum and that itThis is the master key to long-range success from generic products. No-Nonsense should must lift the right object. In the sales world,in the crowded marketplaces of the 21st instead focus their salespeople where their leverage means using your time, talent,Century and beyond. Your marketing marketing is on delivering a high-qualitystrategy and sales strategy need to be product to those customers who demand it. If
13. resources or advantages to deliver maximum resources and energy in the lives of or energies will be overrun by bettervalue to your customers. people I had grown up with. Those who disciplined competitors. Leveraged invested their lives were easy to spot, it was salespeople are those who do the rightTo be successful, your leverage has to visible in their body language even from things, at the right time, in the right place,be adaptable to fit specific prospects and across the room. When I met them and we with the right people for the right reasons.customers. You will use your strengths to talked, it became even more clear that theyhelp them apply your products or services to had invested their lives wisely, in return Spotting The Time-Wasterscreate maximum value. earning the dividends of success and happiness in abundance. Here are some tips that will help you spotBefore you can implement leverage as a the classic activities in which salespeoplesales tool, you must create each of the three Most of my classmates were clearly only either spend or waste their time:elements of leverage. You must create the part of the crowd. They were average, thoselever and the fulcrum then place your in the middle of the bell curve. It is hard to • Meeting with prospects who have nofulcrum in your selected niche market. The distinguish between those who had spent need, ability or authority to buy nor havethird element - the object you will raise - is what and those who wasted it because either any sense of urgency.customer value. The fulcrum itself - what may have received nothing in return. Using • Spending excessive time gettingyou apply opposing pressure against - is your this large middle group as an analogy to organized instead of systematicallycompetition. What, then, is the lever itself? It companies, these are the ones who get by employing a proven plan.is you and your salesforce. day-to-day, yet never prosper. • Working with prospects whose demographic characteristics areYou Are The Lever In Leverage Classmates at the other end of the bell curve, inconsistent with those of the most those who had abused their lives, were as common customers within your niche.The actual amount of time, resources and easy to spot as those at the top. Alcohol and • Horizontal prospecting (the shotgunenergy we have are finite, yet the way we use drugs had often been their best friends, approach) instead of vertically integratingwhat we have can dramatically change the turning them into the human equivalent of your product or service into existingeffective amount of each. At a recent high bankrupt companies. clients, customers or markets.school reunion, I saw a terrific illustration of To learn how to manage your time, click here.the ways different people get different How Does Your Company Stack Up? Sounds like standard sales practices, doesn’teffective results from a commodity they all it? That’s because very few salespeoplehave in relatively equal amounts. While Most likely your company has people in all employ value-based leverage. Most “old-there, I observed four ways that my four categories as well. The spenders have school” selling programs focus only onclassmates had used their time, resources and limited selling skills and are hard at work decreasing price, concentrating on only halfenergies over the last quarter century. With making cold calls. The wasters are the time- the equation by making deals like tradersour time, talent and resources, each of us is wasters, those who are experts at clock- on the floor of a commodity exchange.free to: watching techniques. The abusers are those who complain and sulk about failures, Properly applying leverage in sales, i.e.,INVEST: For which we get a return. blaming outside circumstances for their using your time, talent, resources orSPEND: For which we may get little or troubles and often turning to alcohol or advantages to deliver maximum value to nothing in return. drugs for comfort. your customers, will:WASTE: For which we get nothing in return. Naturally, for long-range success, we must • Position you favorably with other majorABUSE: For which we suffer a loss. be in the top category. We must be investors. players in your market niche. In the 21st Century, any business that • Distinguish you in the marketplace asI saw these four ways of using time, spends, wastes, or abuses its time, resources, someone your prospects can trust.
14. • Maximize your sales opportunities by figures for your products and in your middle of the exhaust port on the Death Star. identifying the right people to see and prospect’s industry. Luke and his rag-tag Rebel forces succeeded when to see them. • Familiarity with the demographics and because of leverage. With enough leverage• Prove the advantages of your product, geographies of your territory. you can do anything. service or company to your prospects. • The procedures and policies of your• Raise the value of your products to the key company and your prospect’s company; prospects in your market. the “ins and outs.” Listen People • Marketplace know-how such as trends,In today’s crowded markets, if you do notserve your customers with the power of shifts, history, emerging players and economic forces. Into Buyingmaximum leverage, rest assured someone • Networking experience that includeselse will. It is central to your success that you formal and informal relationships within he best way to boost your customeruse these key elements to leverage your time,talent and resources: • market niches and trade associations. A long-range, macro view of the T impact is to cultivate an empathy for the customer and to understand his or marketplace and a longitudinal view of her needs, interests, and desires, and to• Learn all you can about your market niche, future needs. know how to get them what they want. I its needs, competitive factors and current • Common mistakes made in the past by based that idea on the wisdom I learned delivery systems. other salespeople within your niche such from an inspirational salesman who taught• Realize that there is a finite limit to the as poor service, growing too rapidly or me the greatest secret of success in selling: actual amount of time, talent, resources taking customers for granted. and energy you have, but that leverage • A realistic assessment of how much time The Greatest Secret In Selling: will increase their effective amount. you can devote to new accounts without Show people what they want most, and they• Deliver effective solutions that fulfill degrading the quality of your service to will move heaven and earth to get it! specific needs of prospects in your market existing accounts. niche. • Current profitable accounts, so you can That secret comes from an anonymous identify new prospects in your territory by source and was first revealed in print byOnce you employ each of these elements, comparing them to the ones you now serve Frank Bettger, who learned it from an “oldyou will no longer be forced to act as a successfully. timer.” Mr. Bettger used its power to makecommodity trader. Instead, you and your • What has traditionally been the single best more than a million dollars in selling duringsales staff will become value-based source of your most productive accounts the early years of this century.professionals delivering much needed in the past.services to a service-hungry market niche. • The needs your customers and prospects I will show you an easy-to-follow have that you can help them fill better than plan that will put the greatest secret inKnowledge - The Raw Materials Of anyone else. selling to work for you: Listen people intoLeverage buying instead of talking your way out of Once this information gathering is complete, the sale.Knowledge-gathering is the dirty work of your efforts will become highly effective.sales leverage, but nothing else will happen if And effective you must be, for there will be Measure Your Prospects - Don’t Justyou do not possess the raw materials. Before no time to go back after near-misses. Your Size Them Upyou and your sales staff can become effectiveness must make you the laser-guidedinstruments of leverage, your knowledge missiles of the sales world. One of the best ways to leverage your timemust include a well-versed understanding of: is never to waste any of it “peddling” When you become a lever forged from all something that your customer does not want• Products and services offered by your your knowledge, skills and confidence, you or need. company and your competitors. will succeed as Luke Skywalker did in Star• Pricing information and financial facts and Wars when he put the missile right down the
15. You can avoid chasing such a dead end only walk - to the nearest exit. Sometimes it helps the prospect wants and the conditions underif you listen to your customer talk about his to look at a ludicrous example like this one to which the person will buy what you areor her needs. In other words, listen your way detect a fatal flaw in out-dated selling selling. It keeps you from wasting time onto a sale. I will use one of my favorite patterns. Many salespeople trained in prospects who will not buy what you arepersonal stories for an example. traditional selling techniques are just that selling under any conditions. More insensitive. Retold at one of your sales importantly, it uncovers needs you can meetImagine that your investigation has turned up meetings, this story may serve to illustrate to and ways to suggest how to meet them.a client who needs medical help. Then, in the your staff the importance of Probing for yourMeeting phase with that client, you built a customers’ needs. Skillful listening is an Measuring means to identify, clarify, andsolid trust relationship with him or her. If you excellent way to avoid seeming insensitive express your customers’ wants or needs.then switch on the traditional sales pitch for toward your customers’ needs. Many people have only a vague feeling thatyour best deal on your company’s latest hot they want something but do not have theproduct, it may go like this story I often tell: The Fatal Flaw In Selling foggiest idea what it is. Others may have a deep desire they have never even admittedDoctors are great illustrations of service- As sales consultants, we train thousands of themselves. Some may think they want oneproviders who are expert at Probing; salespeople every year. Our observations thing, when what they really want issometimes more so than anybody likes. repeatedly show that most salespeople talk something entirely different. Still othersNevertheless, picture what could happen if their way out of more sales than they talk their know exactly what they want but do notdoctors acted in the role of old-school way into. know how to get it.salespeople? If your doctor did not probe, youmight walk into an office one day and be Salespeople who subscribe to the “jawbone Skillful and sensitive probing benefits bothgreeted with a scenario like this: theory” of selling lose many sales they could you and your customers. It leverages your“Boy, are you in luck today!” he says. make if they focused more on what their selling time, making you more productive, prospects want or need. Pushing the latest and it helps the customer get something that“I don’t feel so lucky… my head hurts like advances in their company’s product line will everyone needs: value. Probing allows you tocrazy!” you respond. never reveal a customer’s need and always avoid the amateurish technique of holding up runs the risk of sounding like the pushy doctor one product after another and asking, “Is this“Know why you’re so lucky?” he asks, in my story. it?” Also, probing will make you a highlyignoring your comment. “We’re running a respected professional rendering a valuableblock-busting close-out on artificial hears... Probing Gives You More Power service to your clients, a service for whichgetting ready for the new models!” you can expect to be paid very well. Finally, Probing is at the very core of any customer- it will separate you from your competitors“But, Doc,” you protest, “it’s my head that focused, value-based selling system. When who are pitching price, features instead ofhurts, not my heart.” you probe, you look beneath the surface to benefits and value. discover and reveal what is really going on in To improve your communication skills, click here.“Yes, sir! I can fix you up with this Super the prospect’s mind and heart. Probing also will improve your leverage. ThePumper model, that’s loaded with options, scenario above, of holding up product afterfor an unbelievably low price. In fact, it’s a The dictionary defines a probe as an product, not only makes you look amateurish,40 percent savings. Besides, it’s all covered instrument used to penetrate, usually for but wastes your time. You do not haveby your insurance. Could I schedule you for investigating or measuring. As an action verb, enough hours in a week to travel throughinstallation Tuesday or would Thursday be to probe means to interview, to ask questions today’s crowded marketplaces without a cluemore convenient for you?” and listen, to observe, to study, as to what prospects need. Carefully probing leverages your precious prime-time sellingIf you are like most of us you would run - not Investigation enables you to discover what hours.
16. of us are highly unlikely to come up with a well with others is not the effective customerPrinciples - new killer sales technique and even if we did, impact. I have met salespeople who were it wouldn’t be long before massive overuse thoroughly likeable but could not sell iceBased Selling would make it trite. water in a desert. The prospect making a buying decision must trust that you are The only sales plans that will enjoy long- sincerely interested in fulfilling their needsV alue-based selling is not a technique, it is a principle. Techniques serve short- range success are ones based on principles instead of techniques. People will always buy and that they are getting a good value. what they want or need, but clever, tricky The ancient Greeks gave us a word thatrange goals and must be altered continually sales techniques may get them to buy things expresses the heart of a trusting relationship:to keep up with the environment in which they do not need-once. Word of such tricks symbiosis. It means “living together in athey are used. Principles, on the other hand, will travel quickly in a small market nice and mutually beneficial relationship aare timeless and will always apply. your customer sources can evaporate like a relationship that provides enough benefits puddle in July. for all the partners to view it as valuable.”Countless selling techniques have been Symbiosis can ensure that you enjoy a win-invented and amended, written about and However, a sales plan that is based on the win situation in your professionaltaught, memorized and forgotten, loved and unchanging principle that people will always relationships. For the Impact Sellinghated. Countless more selling techniques that fulfill their needs will succeed regardless of professional, that means always making surewe have not yet heard of will follow. the techniques used to implement it. The that you fulfill your customers’ needs byTechniques in selling are like weapons in principles behind the IMPACT Selling giving them enough value to more thanwar; develop a hot, new one and it will process keep you focused on the fulfillment justify what they invest. You cannot achieveproduce great results until the other side of the customer’s needs so you will enjoy symbiosis through personality alone. Thedevelops either a defense for it or builds an long-range success and find prosperity in the person behind the personality is what givesimproved version, based on what they crowded marketplaces of the 21st Century IMPACT Selling its power.learned from yours. That works fine with and beyond.weapons, because wars are short-term. Your An Effective Plan Needsselling career, however, should be long-term Our principles-based plan was developed Effective Peopleand never viewed as a confrontation. Almost over a period of more than 20 years. It hasevery selling technique ever created been tested and proven in virtually every You have surely met salespeople who seemapproaches selling as if it were a war, segment of the selling world, producing to work shorter hours and enjoy their worksalespeople versus buyers. impressive results. Whenever companies use more than most, yet make more sales and IMPACT Selling there is a rise in sales and money than others of equal ability andThe prime reason techniques-based selling market share, whether the products are multi- training. What is the difference? Simply put,no longer works is described in the million dollar leasing contracts or high- some salespeople are more effective thanaphorism, “there is nothing new under the volume, low-priced novelty items. others. The next obvious question is, “Whatsun.” To learn about yourself, click here. does it mean to be effective?” Focus On RelationshipsToday’s marketplace is crowded with I have three definitions of effective that helpsalespeople and has been in operation so Successful value-based, principle-based pinpoint the answer:long, that nearly every effective technique selling depends upon building andhas been so overused that the defenses went maintaining trust-filled relationships with • Strikingly impressiveup long ago. In today’s marketplace you will prospective customers. Naturally, it includes • Ready for service or actionmeet hardened buyers, concerned with being liked, yet goes well beyond that. • Capable of producing a desired outcomegetting top value for themselves or their Having a great personality and getting alongcompany, who have heard it all before. Most
17. Combining those three definitions gives us a constantly deluged by my competitors want to • Buying is basically an emotional response.description of an IMPACT Selling buy from me?” Strikingly impressiveprofessional: salespeople will have more impact on their Every sales professional who embodies all you the competitive edge to meet the demands three of the personal qualities we covered andThe IMPACT Salesperson: of today’s tough-minded buyers. uses our four customer impact principles willA strikingly impressive person, ready be at the top of his or her profession and willfor service or action, and capable of Capable of producing maximum sales be poised to stay there throughout a long andproducing maximum sales with with minimum time and effort: prosperous career. In other words, today’sminimum time and effort. What you do. IMPACT Selling professionals will be tomorrow’s sales leaders.Each of those three phrases relates to the Nothing works unless you do, but there is morekind of person you are inside, running much to it than that. Some of the hardest working Take It One Step At A Timedeeper than having a good personality or salespeople in the world are also some of thebeing a great joke teller. Remember that in least successful. IMPACT Selling involves You do not need to implement every one ofsymbiosis, all partners must view the doing the right things, at the right time, and in these selling behaviors instantly. Integratingrelationship as valuable. the right way, within your niche, to obtain the the whole plan one step at a time has enabled desired response. That can only happen when thousands of salespeople to double, or evenHere is a detailed explanation of the three you put yourself in the prospective customer’s triple, their sales. As you carefully assimilatecomponents of personal values that equate to shoes and understand their needs. The best way each step, you can move on to the next one.being a highly effective salesperson: to do that is to use these four Customer Impact Principles: You will begin almost immediately to noticeStrikingly impressive: Who you are. a rise in your sales success. Within a few • People only pay attention to those they weeks, you will have internalized the systemImpact grows out of the way you feel about believe have something important to say to so well that you will be able to accomplishyourself, about others, and about what you them. each step instinctively. When that happens,are doing. To understand your level of • People buy for their reasons, not for yours your customer impact and sales will soarcustomer impact, you should ask the or mine. dramatically.question, “What is there about me that • People don’t want to be sold - they want towould make people who are being buy.constantly deluged by my competitors wantto buy from me?” Strikingly impressive salespeople will have more impact on their prospectsand influence more of them to buy. PROSPECTING TIPSReady for service or action:What you know. 7 Power-Packed Prospecting PointersYour most valuable selling tool is not yourmouth - as most salespeople have beentrained to believe-but your mind. High levels H E that questioneth much shall learn much,” said Francis Bacon. Nowhere in sales is that statement more true than in information, who applies it most effectively, wins.of customer impact grow out of what youknow about people, about your market the investigative phase. Asking the right Translating that statement into aniche, about the selling profession and about questions can help you eliminate the problem prospecting principle that you can use inwhat you are selling. You must master a of not having qualified prospects to call on at your sales work, gives us:value-based game plan that will give any given moment. I would like to share an important principle of value-based selling: Power-Packed Prospecting Principle: The most productive sentence In a crowded marketplace, all other in the salesperson’s vocabulary always ends with a question mark thingsbeing equal, the one with the most
18. Good prospecting is a matter of developing 2. Treat prospecting as your most valuable with everyone who can give you leads ora solid game plan that works well for you, time management tool. Remember that open doors for you.then following that game plan to the letter. you are always looking for ways to better • Take full advantage of every effort by yourWe will now present some pointers we leverage your time. company to generate leads. Maintain closehave developed that will help you • Use it to avoid wasting prime time on alignment with your company’s marketingformulate your game plan. people who are not qualified to say “yes.” department.To learn how to prospect effectively, click here. • Use it to ensure that you will always have • Make it your policy always to secureThe Prospecting Pointers enough qualified prospects to keep you referrals from satisfied customers. productively busy.The following ideas for Power-Packed • Avoid time wasting through sloppy or 5. Stay in constant touch with activeProspecting have been tested and proven haphazard prospecting. prospects through phone calls, periodiceffective by leading salespeople in all fields. mailings, and personal contacts. Keep inThese are our gems diligently collected 3. Take an organized approach. Never keep mind the “Top of the Consciousnessthrough many years of experience in sales leads on scraps of paper or Post-It notes. Principle” which states that:training and consulting. You can buy a computerized system or • The only certain way to ensure your create one of your own. Whatever you customers think of you first is throughLook over these pointers with an eye for how choose, choose something that ensures you frequent, repetitious contact.you can apply them. Although you may be an will never: • Others are always competing for a finiteestablished sales professional, you should • Lose or forget about valuable leads. amount of your prospect’s attention andfind many of them useful personally. Another • Be late on promised follow-up calls and dollars.real value is to use them as training tools for visits. • You never know when your prospect’syour salesforce. Train them early to embrace • Waste time looking for lost information. motivation to buy will suddenly,these proven prospecting pointers: • Improperly value your prospect inventory. dramatically increase. • Fail to do mailing and other foot work due • You need to be sure that he or she thinks of1. Treat prospecting as the lifeblood of to a disorganized prospect list. you or your product first when they your sales career. Not the clichéd • Become a compulsive procrastinator when evaluate how to fulfill their business needs. definition, but Power-Packed it comes to developing your prospect Prospecting: inventory. 6. Rework your suspect inventory• Focus on quality. It is the only way you regularly to try to upgrade suspects to can spend most of your prime time with 4. Remain alert for “suspects” who have the the status of qualified prospects. A good qualified prospects. It is also the only way potential to become qualified prospects: filing system will help tremendously. you can have enough hours in a week to be In today’s fast-paced society, peoples’ • Learn how to use the telephone in a successful. needs may change rapidly and radically, professional, pleasant, and businesslike• Focus on quantity. Your success depends giving you prospects where you never manner. Then use it regularly. on having enough solid sales leads. thought to look. • Constantly search for people who can give• Focus on consistency. A steady supply of • Develop a prospecting mind set that you a referral for every suspect on your list. qualified prospects can enable you to avoid automatically asks: “Is this person a Or, better still, will they make a contact for slumps and plateaus, eliminate call prospect?” you? reluctance and procrastination, and keep • Assume all suspects are prospects until • Look everywhere for the slightest clue that you from pressuring your current clients. proven otherwise. the suspect’s buying status might be• Do it now. Increasing your prospecting • Keep looking for new places to find changing. effectiveness is the fastest single way to prospects. boost your sales and income. • Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships
19. 7. Continually upgrade your prospecting minutes. They could face penalties for Rich put the two together and showed the system and strategies: adding to traffic congestion. towing company how to meet a very• For a steady flow of fresh ideas, you pressing need. Combining the resources of should read books, journals, magazines When he learned that, Rich knew he could his investigative files, he was able to and business news, listen to cassettes, get the sale. His extensive investigative files structure a sales opening for that tow truck attend seminars, and talk to other included information he had stashed away dealer that practically ensured a sales successful salespeople. earlier about an equipment manufacturer closing before Rich walked in the door. This• If you are not now using a personal who had a special tow-truck device that is a perfect illustration of the truism: computer, you should be. Your reduced hook up time to less than five competitors are. Computers are remarkable minutes. Further, his trucks were a small, The key to a successful close is knowing aids for prospecting and managing medium-duty, “cab-over” design that made how to open. prospect information files. Make sure you them short and highly maneuverable. get a system that will work easily and well for you and will grow with your needs.• Above all, keep a positive attitude about Don’t Outnumber Your Customers prospecting. Make a game out of it.Go back now and reread Power-PackedProspecting Pointer #1: “Treat prospecting as T he most common error in selling occurs when salespeople are so focused on what they or their company want this way: of the four areas where you can focus - self, company, product or customer - if you focus on the first three, your customerthe lifeblood of your sales career.” It from a sales relationship that they lose sight is out-numbered three to one. People whodefinitely is, and here is a terrific story of the of what their prospects want from it. This are overwhelmingly out-numbered feeltremendous payoff that may await good sales fatal orientation will lose more sales more confused and uncomfortable. People whodetectives everywhere. Maybe this will soon quickly than ever before in the buyer’s are confused and uncomfortable rarely makebe you: markets of the 21st century. Buyer’s markets buying decisions. are crowded markets; crowded markets areAt one of our seminars we learned of a truck filled with buyers who are confused and Most sales organizations have rallied theirsalesman from Indianapolis. I will call him sellers who use out-dated, “me-too” troops against their number one adversary:Rich, whose investigative reporting paid off marketing techniques. their customers! The reasoning has been thatvery well. Rich’s regular investigating if the Salesforce is trained to maximize theiruncovered an article in the newspaper about a Because of the crowding in today’s markets personal gains, the traditional sales pitchlocal towing and recovery company that bad and confusion among buyers, they are now demonstrates a hot new product, and thejust been awarded an exclusive contract to prone to view apparently similar products or company makes bold claims about itself,handle all towing for downtown Indianapolis. services as similar. The key to success in a then the customer will fall like prey to theBut Rich had a sales dilemma on his hands: crowded market is to find what buyers value hunter.he sold Isuzu trucks. Traditionally, tow truck most, then point out the unique advantagescompanies have a particularly macho male of your product or service. When you focus The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule as itculture where big American trucks prevail; on what the customer values most, you has come to be called, helps describe whatthe bigger the better! create perceived value that makes your goes on in selling today. Our research product stand out from the crowd and leads confirms that nearly 80 percent of sales-Instead of seeing this as an impossible to a buying decision. people today conduct presentations with amarket, Rich continued to use his investi- focus on self, product or company. Ourgative skills and turned up a potential glitch Don’t Outnumber Your Customers studies also show that group - those who arein the contract for the towing company. institutionally insulated from their customersOperating in the tight confines of downtown Think of where to direct your focus in - accounts for only 20 percent of the salesstreets, they were required by contract tohook up and get out in less than ten
20. made in the marketplace. may have seriously detrimental effects on While all sales organizations and salespeople long-range success. in the top 20 percent focused on theirConversely the remaining 20 percent of sales customers, the difference between the tworepresentatives focus on the needs and wants You can identify product-driven salespeople groups was that the top five percent focusedof the customers. This group accounts for by their well-practiced and smoothly on their customers’ needs, while thefully 80 percent of all sales! Failure to focus delivered “sales pitch.” They have been remaining 15 percent focused on theiron customers’ wants or needs will place you trained that if they deliver their presentation customers’ wants.in the bottom 80 percent of sales with consistency, someone eventually willprofessionals or sales organizations, who buy. Both groups within the top 20 percent aregenerate only a small fraction of the sales successful sales professionals. Both have athey could be enjoying. Others in the bottom 80 percent focus on focus that is outer-directed toward their company. You may hear them brag about customers and never inner-directed onCustomer Focus Or Die! their company saying: “we’re the biggest in themselves, their products, their company, or the industry,” as if that alone will make on a quota. Both will survive in the crowdedAt the bottom of the non-customer focused customers buy. From Hertz and Avis, to IBM markets. Still, the very top performers aregroup, “the bottom 80 percent,” we see and Apple, to CBS and CNN, every industry those who identify the deepest needs of theirsalespeople who are survival driven. These is replete with companies who believed that customers and find ways to fulfill thosepeople worry that if they do not make a sale sheer size and industry position in needs.today then the electricity will be turned off themselves would guarantee market share.tomorrow. The paradox is that no one wants Outer-Directedto buy from someone who is desperate, If your standard presentation is always Orientation At Workparticularly in the face of an abundance of focused on your company’s size orother options. Customers themselves cannot reputation, what will you sell if a competitor An outer-directed orientation produces topsurvive by acting as a welfare agency to outgrows you, or if a flurry of bad news performers in any field, not just in sales.hard-pressed salespeople. should tarnish your company’s reputation? Here’s an anecdote to help illustrate the observation. The Brooks Group once workedSelf oriented salespeople in this, group focus The only sales organizations and sales reps with two major clients that were top-flighton quota. To them, it does not matter what that will prosper throughout the 21st Century organizations, the Atlanta Hawks and thethe customer wants or needs, but only that are those in the top 20 percent, those that Detroit Pistons, The Hawks have had somethey “meet Quota” on Product X. Quota focus on their customers’ wants and needs. great players and from season to season werefocusers often achieve the minimum to get And, even the top 20 percent has a hierarchy able to achieve some outstanding successes,by nothing more, nothing less. They have no of its own. Within that group, we discovered but they hadn’t made a serious title run in aemotional commitment to their job, they are that those in the top five percent accounted long, long time.just doing as they are told. In a crowded, for 60 percent of sales. The remainder of thecompetitive niche, the salespeople in this group - 15 percent, accounted for 20 percent The Pistons, on the other hand, also had verycategory are going to lose their customers to of sales. While that is as much as the entire talented players. We gained some valuablethose who go beyond the minimum. bottom 80 percent, it is still only a fraction of insights through our work with the Pistons’ the per person results enjoyed by the top five coaching staff. The coaches told us that theirAlso in this bottom 80 percent are those who percent. best players had a unique ability to risepush products. Often these salespeople have above an inner-directed focus, delivering anbeen hyped up with a sales contest. We This remarkable finding prompted us to dig effort that transcended their own short-term,believe strongly that, at best, sales contests further to identify the cause of such disparity immediate needs.can only lead to short-range victories and in sales effectiveness. Here is what we found:
21. Their focus was more on the team than on Inner-directed salespeople are at the bottom, managers poll ranks nearly last. Instead ofthemselves and that outer-directed focus outer-directed ones are at the top. Within the “selling skills,” the sales mangers placedcould be clearly seen through the results it bottom group, those who are merely average “marketing strategy” at the top of their list.delivered: championships! focus on their company or their product. The Clearly, companies with such gross least successful focus on themselves. discrepancies in their answers to a survey areIt is equally true on a basketball court as in a not employing the power of alignment.sales presentation. Top performers are outer- Within the top group, many highly successfuldirected, focusing on the needs of others. salespeople focus on their customers’ wants. The Power Of AlignmentThe idea of shifting your focus to the You’ll see them in the middle of the pack.customer is not a deep philosophical issue, To learn how to be a sales pro, click here. Though they are closely related, selling isthough it is more of an emotional issue and The cream of the crop, however, are those merely one component in a company’s totalit is an intellectual one. It is straight-forward exceptional sales professionals who focus marketing system. Marketing and sales mustand produces easily measured results. totally on their customers’ needs. be closely aligned to meet the new demands of today’s markets. Creative salespeoplePersonal Positioning By Alignment have discovered they can dramatically improve their alignment by learning from at least two types of marketing specialists: arefully coordinated linkage between crowded markets will no longer be forgivingC your company’s sales strategy and its marketing strategy is crucial for long- toward companies who are divided internally. You need to present a unified message, both marketing research and advertising. Marketing research concerns itself primarilyrange success in a crowded market. I want to outside and inside their door. with finding out what people want, whileillustrate the importance of having your advertising seeks to interpret how productsentire company focusing on its customers. In A successful sales strategy is one that focuses and services will give people what theycompany after company I see it is not on the customer and leverages your time, want. Both functions are highlyenough for sales to fly solo. If your sales talents, resources and advantages. That focus sophisticated in today’s complex businessstrategy is not closely linked with the will show you how to position yourself as a world, yet the principles behind them arestrategy of your marketing department, then selling professional in a way that is consistent simple.your company will fail or produce mediocre with your marketing department. Few salesresults at best. forces use a successful sales strategy. Even Marketing strategists use polls, interviews, fewer are aligned with their company’s and a host of other tools to determine theFirst, let’s clarify the differences between marketing department. Some don’t have any needs of the people they hope to reach withsales and marketing - many salespeople do idea of the responsibilities of a marketing their products or services. The advertisingnot understand the distinction: department. specialists then develop ad campaigns to convince potential customers their productsMarketing strategy is what gets you to the Learning International of Stamford, or services will meet those needs. It is acustomer’s door in the best possible light. Connecticut, completed a study in which they highly effective combination. Yet, marketingSales strategy is what you do when you polled corporate marketing executives and sometimes misses its targets and can be fine-are inside. sales managers to compare how they would tuned or even revamped completely by using answer the same questions. One question input! from salespeople.Most marketing departments regard asked the respondents to list what they thoughsalespeople as something akin to peddlers. salespeople needed most. Among marketing Salespeople have an advantage overToday’s highly competitive, executives “selling skills” ranked at the top of marketing specialists because market their list, while that choice on the sales
22. researchers must rely on generalities, and aligning itself with the information gathered Learning International revealed, alignmentadvertising people must address masses of by their sales department. The name of the is a real challenge for sales managers topeople with their campaigns. Salespeople on company was changed to IBM. Marketing address.the other hand, talk directly with individual began to advertise their products as “dataprospects daily, probing for their deepest processing systems and information Complete alignment of a company’sneeds and desires. management systems” instead of office marketing and sales strategies culminates in machines, while the sales department began well-positioned, one-on-one personal salesSalespeople must not merely uncover their providing professional assistance in presentations. Even if your company has theprospects’ deepest needs, but also find out increasing office productivity and in setting most highly focused marketing strategy everhow each of them perceives those needs. The up the systems to do it. devised and you use a highly focused salesperceived need is usually a more powerful strategy, individual salespeople can diminishmotivation for buying than the actual need. Thus, by addressing their customers’ the effectiveness of the whole organization ifHere is an illustration of the difference perceived needs, instead of relentlessly they do not personally align themselves withbetween perceived needs and actual needs pushing their products, IBM soon began to the corporate thrust as they face prospects.and how aligning sales and marketing with dominate the names market where they had The company can help to get the salespersonthe difference can have a dramatic impact on nearly failed earlier. Imagine where they inside the door. The individual needs toa company’s success: would be today if their salesforce had not assume control once inside and maintain a interacted with marketing to change the strict focus on customer needs; this is theAccording to management expert Peter alignment of the whole company! The power of personal prospecting.Drucker, half a century ago International aligned coordination between the twoBusiness Machines, Inc. was struggling to departments became a powerful lever thatsurvive in the highly competitive officemachines market. Their primary customers transformed a struggling company. RAPPORTseemed to believe they had all the business Many companies have salespeople running BUILDING TIPSmachines they needed and showed little all over the country while the right hand doesinterest in buying more from a relatively (sales) does not know what the left handunknown firm. (marketing) is doing. Marketing usually operates in one area, sales in another, and The GreatestFortunately for the company, their topsalespeople took a value-based approach to never the twain shall meet. The two never talk to each other They are not in sync. They Secret In Sellingselling and began to ask their potential are not aligned, and you as a sales he best way to boost your customercustomers what they perceived their needs tobe. “We need better ways of processinginformation,” summed up the substance of professional are not personally positioned to maximize your sales efficiency. T impact is to cultivate an empathy for the customer and to understand his or hertheir needs. No one said they wanted to buy Personal Positioning By Alignment needs, interests, and desires, and to knowmachines, yet they had plenty of work to do how to get them what they want. I based thatthat could be done by office machines. When you are not aligned with your idea on the wisdom I learned from an marketing department in a crowded inspirational salesman who taught me theInternational Business Machines, Inc. marketplace, your sales will flounder. The greatest secret of success in selling:translated this newly revealed perceived need sales staff has to carry the marketing bannerinto an actual need of more business There has to be consistency. When the two The Greatest Secret in Selling:machines. With that knowledge, the entire are aligned, the resulting consistency always Show people what they want most, and theycompany revamped its selling approach, produces improved sales. As the survey by will move heaven and earth to get it!”
23. That secret comes from an anonymous your support will be withdrawn? Wouldn’t no longer support it.source and was first revealed in print by this loss seriously handicap or even mean theFrank Bettger, who learned it from an “old discontinuance of some splendid work?” After tying down the sale, Frank Bettgertimer.” Mt Bettger used its power to make walked out of that man’s office with a checkmore than a million dollars in selling during At that, the salesman glanced at his watch, for $9,000, when $9,000 was a whoppingthe early 20th Century. There is a story in noted that his time was up, and thanked his insurance premium. That is impact selling—Mr. Bettger’s book, How I Raised Myself host for his time. But Mr. Scott invited him and it works!from Failure to Success in Selling, that to stay and talk some more. Frank Bettgerillustrates just how powerful this secret is: used the additional time and the confidence Thousands of sales people use the secret daily he had gained very carefully Instead of to close sales in nearly every business youAs a life insurance salesman, Frank Bettger seizing the moment to spill out everything he can name: insurance, capital equipment,called on a successful businessman named knew about insurance, he continued to ask automobiles, industrial supplies, real estate,Scott and asked him for five minutes of his questions. and on and on. Yet, for every sales persontime, promising to leave after that unless the using it, there are ten who do not and yetclient asked him to stay longer. Mr. Scott Those questions revealed that the work wonder why they close so few sales. Let’sagreed but assured him it would be a waste nearest and dearest to Mr. Scott’s heart was review that secret one more time: Showof time for both of them, since he was 63 the work of three missionary teams in people what they want most, and they willyears old and had long before quit buying Nicaragua that he supported. Mr. Bettger move heaven and earth to get it!insurance. Mr. Scott further explained that also learned that one of those teams includedall his children were grown, his wife was Mr. Scott’s son and daughter-in-law, and that Your prospects will move heaven and earth towell protected with paid-up life insurance, he was planning to visit their work soon. buy from you, but only after you have shownhis business was well covered, and his estate them what they want most. That simple secretplan and will had all been carefully “Mr. Scott,” he finally asked, “when you go will revolutionize your selling career if youprepared. down to Nicaragua, wouldn’t you be happy memorize it and use it on every sales call. to tell your son and his young family that To learn how we turned these 20th century ideasThat would have been enough to send most you had just guaranteed that if anything ever into 21st century results, click here.insurance salespeople packing, but not happens to you, a check will come to them How To ReduceTensionFrank Bettger. Mr. Bettger applied the every month, so their work may continue?secret he knew about selling. Wouldn’t you also like to write to the other And Establish Trust two missionaries, giving them the sameHe had done his homework and knew that message?” ost of your prospects see a sales callMr. Scott was a highly benevolent man whohad often given generously to worthwhile There was a long silence. Mr. Bettger M as an interruption to things they see as more significant or productive. Acauses. “Mr. Scott, a man who has been as waited. Then Mr. Scott thanked Frank salesperson is often viewed as an intruder, asuccessful as you surely must have some Bettger for helping him discover a serious money-grabber, a beggar and sometimes eveninterests outside your family and your oversight in his planning. No pressure had as an inconsiderate, unethical villain. At best,business,” Mr. Bettger suggested. been applied, and no tricky closes had been many polite prospects tend to see themselves used. The old pro had simply shown his as being nice to a fellow human or as doing“Perhaps a hospital, religious work, prospect what he had wanted most, and the you a favor. Unless you can change that basicmissionary or charitable work,” he prospect had made a decision to buy. He had attitude and atmosphere, you are doomedcontinued. He then listed a few he knew Mr. not tried to sell insurance; he had shown Mr. before you get started. Before successful Scott had supported. “Did you ever Scott that what he really wanted was for the selling can begin, tension must be greatlyconsider that when you die, missionary work to continue after he could
24. reduced. Completely eliminating tension is It starts when you begin replacing your trust in you. That powerful development willimpossible and not necessarily desirable. A negative, self-limiting thoughts with positive leverage the selling time of an entire sales-certain amount of tension is healthy and thoughts and insights. You will experience a force as your customers become interested innormal in an effective sales relationship. real change in the way prospects respond to what you want to happen.However, your prospects do need to feel that you when you begin feeding your mind withyou are a trustworthy person, that you have positive thoughts. Remember, if you are a You Have To Create Trustsomething important to say to them and that sales manager, your attitude affects far morethey might benefit enough to justify the time than your own career. Here are some thoughts The natural condition that exists at thethey invest in listening to you. That is a tall that will be especially valuable for you beginning of any selling situation is tension,order, yet we will add another dimension to personally as well as for your entire salesforce. even when your prospects are close friends ormake it even taller: relatives. We could build a seminar around all • Selling is an honorable profession that is the factors that cause such tension, but youYou have only a matter of minutes-possibly worthy of my best efforts. have probably experienced enough of it toonly seconds to establish your credibility • I am a capable and confident salesperson. know how real it is.and convince a prospect that time spent • My purpose for being here is to enable thiswith you will be productive. person to discover what he or she wants High levels of tension may exist between your most and how to get it. prospects and you until you take action toLet us now look at two very effective • I am a value generator for this person and reduce it. So, we will focus now on what youstrategies used regularly by successful sales all of my clients. I concentrate on value and can do about it. Here are three techniques weprofessionals to reduce tension and establish constantly seek to deliver it. have developed that many sales professionalstrust: winning the inner game and creating • The company I represent is a solid firm that find very helpful:trust. seeks to deliver greater value than it receives in payment for its products and First, eliminate any unnecessary tensionTo Eliminate Tension You Must Win services. inducers before you make the sales call. ThatThe Inner Game • What I am selling has a greater value to includes things like being neat in appearance people than the money they will pay for it. I and dressing in a way that will make yourProspects can read you like a book. They can will see to it that they get what they pay for, prospects feel you are one of them.instantly sense your confidence level, your and more.attitude about selling and what you are • I will not rely upon high pressure to make “This is a free country,”a noviceselling, your feelings toward them, and your this sale, but will concentrate on having a salesperson once told an old pro. “I can dresspersonal comfort level toward being with significant impact upon this customer. as I please, wear my hair a I please, and drivethem. It shows in your eyes, your gestures • When I finish this interview, I will leave any kind of car I choose; and no one can stopand movements, and even in your tone of behind a happy customer who will feel me!”voice. good about my company and me. “You’re right!” responded the seasonedYou simply cannot consistently fake your When you begin to see yourself in the light of veteran, “and that prospect can exercise hisway through the inner game of selling and be that list of statements, you will be happily freedom to say ‘no’; and nobody can stopa winner in the outer game. amazed at how much more warmly your him!” prospects will receive you. More importantly,“But I can’t change the way I think and feel!” once you come to embody every one of those All you need to do is notice your reaction tois one protest we hear repeatedly. Hold on, we statements, you can spread them to your the way strangers look and you will agreehave good news for you! You can change salespeople. Increased self-esteem will reduce how important it is to make a good firsteven your most basic attitudes and thoughts. tension among your clients and build their impression.
25. Second, look for tangible ways to help your Third, be a good guest. When you are in to place an order I thanked him for comingprospects relax. A quiet manner, a mild someone’s office, home or workplace, you and then asked him to go. The idea that yoursense of humor, and a warm smile can go a are on their turf. You are bound by etiquette manners can make or break your sales careerlong way toward breaking down barriers and common courtesy to observe the “house is not some theory we’ve dreamed up; it’s abetween you and your prospects. rules.” completely valid and unforgiving concept. That is enough of the negatives. This topicA short, humorous, personal story that For example, you might feel comfortable began with a list of positive things you canidentifies you as a real human being can putting your feet on a coffee table, but if you say to yourself. We will finish now withoften do wonders to help people relax, do that with some prospects, they will another.especially if you listen while they tell you a immediately identify you as insensitive andstory in return. start looking for ways to get rid of you and One of the best ways to gain trust is to your bad manners. receive any hospitality your hosts offerNotice that we said humorous, personal graciously To many people, offering a drinkstories, not jokes. Be extremely careful Smoking cigarettes is a serious turnoff with or snack is a way of saying, “Let’s beabout telling jokes. Most people do not tell many people these days; in many friends.” Turning down an offer of kindnessmany jokes, and they feel uncomfortable workplaces, smoking is forbidden. A cigar is from a client can be interpreted as saying,around salespeople who do. Besides, it takes rarely acceptable. If you smoke, never light “No! I’d rather be a stranger.” This is yetspecial skill to tell jokes that really score a up unless your host does and then only after another way in which you can let thehit with everyone. Moreover, in today’s asking permission. customer leverage your own skills. Allowhyper-sensitivity to “politically correct” them to like you.language, it takes a genius to tell one that Your bad manners can turn off even anwill not be offensive to someone. If your otherwise determined buyer. This illustration Remember, tension is a natural state thatcustomers wanted to buy from comedians, will show you how your demeanor can affect exists in the selling situation. It will not gothey would go to a night club and find a your sales: away without your efforts. You must takereally good one. You are a sales! positive steps to create a level of trust thatprofessional, not a stand-up comedian. Recently, I was called upon by a seasoned eliminates or reduces the natural state of salesman, a veteran of more than twenty tension before successful selling can begin.For the same reasons, use one-liners very years of selling. He wanted to show me hiscautiously. If you start out by telling a big line of exclusive – and very expensive –joke or just set up a series of one-liners and Cuban designed suits. His products werenobody laughs, where do you go from there? beautiful, impressive examples of excellentUnless you have a ready sense of humor that craftsmanship and he know the business andmost people can easily identify with, his line of products very well. Yet, while Iconcentrate on selling. Otherwise, you may was admiring the workmanship and hislook ridiculously awkward trying to knowledge, he dragged his briefcasetransition from failed jokes to selling your carelessly across my desk – scratching itproduct. slightly – and then used my phone to contact another prospect, expecting me to waitConsider the whole idea of salespeople as patiently for him to finish. I didn’t reallycomedians in light of how it may impact mind his being on the phone, though,your credibility. By starting with jokes, the because when he wasn’t tying up my line, hesubtle message to your customers is that you dominated the conversation with boring, triteknow what they will find funny. If they do stories and a steady stream of stale jokes.not, then what will they think when youchange the subject and tell them you think As impressive as his suits were, I couldn’tyou know what they want in their business? stand to keep him in my office long enough
26. MOTIVATION TIPS Selling During The Lean Times ost anyone is receptive to new ideas A downturn in the economy hence can be surgeon, probing for the doctor’s most M when they have the time to listen. Often, though, there are periods in used to leave your competitors in the dust. Since even fewer salespeople will be dominant needs. By persisting, he discovered that though the surgeon did not need to everyone’s life when everything seems to be focusing on your customers’ needs, when enhance his practice, he was looking for falling down around them. During those you refuse to lower your focus, you will ways to reduce the time he spent handling struggles, most people drop back to a stand out more than ever before. The what he already had. Randy discovered that survival mode. New ideas seem like reputation you build for yourself during one of the doctor’s most time-consuming something best put off for a day when the tough times will long be remembered. tasks was giving court depositions, though wolf is not baying at the door. This shifting they added little to his income. of focus is a natural response to hard times in We found one young man who had these our lives. principles down cold. Here’s how he sold While Randy was focused on his prospect’s expensive equipment when few others were needs, he also knew his product well. He Focus On Your Customers And Never and made a long-term friend of a client: quickly told the surgeon about the ability of Look Away his product to display its data automatically Helping Others Helps You in an objective format that was easy to In business, the same thing happens. Hard understand and would be accepted in court economic times often cause companies to A young medical equipment salesman named depositions. The real kicker was that the retrench into a survival mode. During those Randy was only a year out of college. His machine produced the data in color, which retrenchments, there is a natural tendency for company had come out with a new product was the most meaningful need the doctor had salespeople to shift their focus away from that was innovative, creative and state-of- in handling court depositions. As you customers’ needs to income, survival or the-art. This new machine automated the guessed, the doctor placed an order with quota. The logic may be, “It won’t matter analysis of spinal injuries and generated a Randy. whether our focus is on our customers’ needs detailed report that speeded the doctor’s if we go out of business. For now, we’ve got work tremendously. Though very expensive, Randy’s story is a good example of to meet our quota for this quarter, then we’ll it was clearly the best product on the market. something that few would have seen as a worry about the customers!” Its capabilities were so exceptional it could major selling feature. Yet, by focusing on his increase a physician’s business and income prospect’s needs, he hit the target dead- While that is a natural tendency NEVER let by drawing patients from a wider area. center, and he got much more than the it take your focus off the only thing that will commission from making a large sale. That bring you success in today’s crowded One day Randy called on a prominent surgeon no longer thought of Randy as a marketplaces: your customers’ needs. If you neurosurgeon in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The salesperson, but as a trusted business are retrenching, probably everyone else is, doctor had a large practice and a national colleague who had helped him fulfill one of too. They will most likely shift their focus to reputation that brought him all the patients his most pressing needs. By helping someone themselves and concentrate on survival. That he could handle. He quickly told the else find direction, Randy enhanced his own is the best time to ask yourself, “How can I salesman he had no interest in a machine that sense of direction, too. The key for Randy serve this prospect’s deepest need?” Your would draw more patients. Randy, though was knowing his product, being on top of a customers are probably retrenching, too. still new to sales, remained focused on his rapidly changing industry and focusing on More than ever, they need someone who will target. his prospect’s dominant needs. focus on their needs, which may be getting desperate. He continued to ask questions of the
27. The Fastest Way To Revenue At that point, something happened: Ironically we have found that nearly every I found it extremely difficult to get my mind salesperson we meet already knows at leastThe more you need the money, the more off those dollar signs. They were going to the basic needs that their products or servicesnarrowly you have to focus on customer pay the contract on a “per-head” basis! Can can fulfill. Yet few of them truly understandneeds. I learned that the hard way, struggling you imagine how much money that equaled? that using that knowledge is the best way tofor several years before finally seeing the It was more than I had ever dreamed. We sell their company’s products or services.light and making a permanent change: were going to be very well paid. Predictably, we began to encounter snags with the Traditional sales techniques have neverIn 1983, my fledgling company was among contract. During the negotiations, I focused on the customer’s needs. Instead, theyseveral who were trying to market a sales fortunately realized that my focus had have focused on the product or the companytraining program to the Chevrolet Division shifted from their needs to my revenues, and behind the product, or taught salespeople toof General Motors. Back then, The Brooks understood the danger such focus focus on themselves. If the sharp, clearlyGroup consisted solely of a part-time represented in nailing down the contract. defined center of interest or activity in yoursecretary and myself, though I was closely sales career has been on self, company orcounseled by my mentor and close associate, Recognizing how my focus had shifted, I product, then your career may not survive aRon Willingham. refocused on the needs of General Motors, lean period in the economy. made more visits and phone calls and gotGeneral Motors had expressed the desire for things back on track. Intermittently my lack The key to success in a down-turn is to finda complete new sales program to guide each of experience and discipline allowed my what buyers value most, then point out theof its 27,000 Chevrolet sales representatives focus to drift. I began, once again, to think unique advantages of your product or service.in the U.S. In short, it was an enormous about the new car I might soon be able to When you focus on what the customer valuesundertaking and to me the contract buy, the new house I could plan and the most, you create perceived value that makesrepresented the very foundation of The better life I could provide for my family. your product stand out from the crowd andBrooks Group. leads to a buying decision. It was during this period that I began to To learn how to sell through good times andWith Ron’s assistance, I worked on selling understand why my focus kept shifting and I bad, click here.General Motors the training program for was able to learn the discipline to redirectnearly three years. During that time we built my focus. I fixed my focus back in on the Discovering Whatterrific frequent flier mileage accounts from needs of General Motors and kept it thereour trips to Detroit, placed hundreds of long- until we won the contract. Throughout that People Will Buy:distance phone calls and wrote countless entire consulting assignment, the only timeletters. Each step of the way, Ron and I tried that the proposal went smoothly was when I Asking The ‘Right’to keep our focus clearly on what General focused on their needs instead of my own.Motors truly needed. We had to; that was the Like most things in life of any value, it went Questionsvery concept we were selling! badly every time I focused on myself.Our company did well in the competition forthe contract. We took the lead, and soon Paradoxically the more you need the money the more diligently you must focus on your A major objective for a value-based salesperson is to discover what your prospects will buy, why they will buy itstood at the top of the crowd. It appeared customer’s needs. Customer focus is not athat we were actually going to win the fad; it is the only certain formula for success and under what conditions they will buy it.contract and my dream was going to come in the 21st Century Today’s crowded The master key for determining those answerstrue: teaching our customer-focused, needs- marketplaces truly demand it. Your is in asking the right questions. Often, though,based selling system to thousands of customers’ needs will never include making salespeople have no idea what to ask.salespeople. you rich or raising the value of your company’s stock.
28. How Not To Discover Can you see how little information that Here are some tips we gave him aboutWhat People Will Buy young salesman learned by asking how to ask the right kinds of questions. We’ve his two unfocused questions? developed a set often powerful questioning“Oh, I ask a lot of questions,” a young Let us list what he learned: pointers:furniture salesman once said, very • He learned his prospects could talk.confidently. Yet his sales manager had • He learned they were not going to take his PROBING TIP #1:relayed to us that the man was working on furniture away from him. Prepare the questions you will ask inhis last chance because his sales had been so • He learned (by prematurely asking a bad advance.few and far between. closing question) that they were not ready to make a buying decision. While every prospect is unique and every“What kinds of questions do you ask?” we selling situation requires some variation,probed. Now we will examine the difference between certain basic questions that come up in every what this salesman’s questions taught him interview can be planned and practiced.“When people walk into the store, I usually and what negative effects they had: Through careful planning, you can make sureask, ‘Can I help you?’,” he said. “Usually • He was presenting himself as a servant you uncover the essential information and thatthey want to look around a little, so I just instead of a skilled professional. “Can I your wording is precise. Since you will mostback off. When I see that they’ve found help you?” is the type of question people likely get a great deal of practice with thesesomething they seem to like, I go right up expect from the Salvation Army after a questions, there is a note of caution: Beand ask, ‘Can I fix you up with that bedroom natural disaster, not from a sales careful never to allow them to sound canned.suite today’?” professional! Rephrase or refine them regularly to ensure • His questions set up a high probability for originality and vitality.After seeing how often salespeople ask a negative response. Questions that callquestions like that, we began to develop for a “yes” or “no” produce about ten One tip for keeping your question soundingtechniques to introduce them to a much more times as many “no” responses as “yes” fresh is to follow the example of televisioneffective line of questioning. answers. journalists. These professionals will open an • His line of questioning gained him no interview with things like: “Tell me about” or“What do you learn from asking ‘Can I help insight about what his prospects wanted. “What are your feelings concerning..?” Thisyou?’,” we asked him. They told him nothing of what needs they approach generates a unique response every were seeking to satisfy, what they would time because no two people will feel exactly“I learn whether they want to buy something, buy, or under what conditions they would the same way about anything. If youror if they are just looking around,” he buy it. questioning instead always begins with theanswered. • He was trying to close before he sold same curt, canned question, you may begin anything. He was asking for a buying hearing a lot of the same curt, canned“How many people have told you they decision before he built any value for his answers.wanted to buy something when you asked prospects.them that opening question during the last PROBING TIP #2:week?” I pressed. You can see his questions did more harm Ask open-ended and indirect questions. than good. We saw that this salesman would“Oh, let’s see.. .1 think there have been two, soon be out of a job unless he learned how to Sales questions that require only a “yes” orbut we didn’t have what one of them was ask the right questions. We had to help this “no” answer tend to discourage people fromlooking for,” he said sadly. guy and we had to help him fast. talking. They also give you only limited information and set a negative tone. AskAsk And Ye Shall Learn How To Discover What People Will open-ended questions that require prospects to(If Ye Ask the Right Questions) Buy tell you how they feel, what they want, or what they think.
29. For example, returning to the young furniture listener, willing to let the customer talk all Buying motivations and needs are not alwayssalesman mentioned earlier, he might have about the old jalopy out front, could get the same. Buying motivations address desires,asked: “Let me ask you this: How would you enough information from that one question to feelings, tastes, and so on. I will illustrate thedescribe your decorating motif?” That is a close a sale. If four customers could answer difference between buying motivations andnon-threatening question that does not that same question about the same car, you buying needs with another of my ownrequire the customer to make a buying might hear: anecdotes:decision. It also opens the door for an in-depth conversation during which the “We need something much larger. We’ve got I regularly sell my professional speakingsalesman might have learned much about the a two-year-old and we just had twins!” services over the phone. When a prospectivecustomer’s wants and needs. He may have client says that he or she is consideringheard them express a need that he could “I need something much smaller. It gets booking me, I will often ask: “Who have youeasily fill. With enough knowledge of their lousy mileage and it’s too hard to park.” had in the past?” Their answers reveal whatneeds, he probably could have led them to kinds of speakers they like. If all they give mesome corner of the store and merely pointed, “It’s been the best car I’ve ever owned, but I is a list of names, at least I learn what kindssaying, “Would this serve your needs?” Then just got a big promotion at work and I’m of speeches they like. I can then get them tohe could have stood back, listening for more ready now for my dream car.” talk specifically about one or two who wereinformation, or watched while the customer particularly well received by their audiences,closed the sale for him. “It’s been the best car I’ve ever owned, but and why they were popular. That way I will the dealer has the worst service department know exactly which of the benefits that I offerPROBING TIP #3: I’ve ever dealt with. Though the car is to emphasize most.Ask need-development questions. reliable, it’s often out of service for days awaiting simple, routine maintenance You might discover the same sort ofYou have to do more than get your prospects checkups. I need speedy service.” information by asking, “Who are you buyingto talk. You must get prospects to tell you from now?”what they need. Therefore, ask questions that “It’s a real clunker. I really can’t afford awill give you insight into how each prospect new car, but I’ve got to get something more PROBING TIP #6:perceives their needs. reliable.” Avoid asking offensive questions or asking questions in an insensitive way.Our troubled furniture salesman might have Many customers do not look at what theygiven himself a big raise by asking walk-in really are after when they first walk in. The Some questions can offend prospects andcustomers, “What kinds of entertaining do guy with the growing family may have cause them to back off from you. This is moreyou enjoy?” or “What kinds of activities does stopped first at the Corvette convertible in the important than ever before in our history.your family enjoy doing in the den?” front of the showroom. Then, when an old- There is a very strong push to be “politically school salesperson asks, “If the deal is right, correct” in everything we say and do inPROBING TIP #4: would you drive that home tonight?” the America today. Many people today are in aAsk questions that help you identify customer may laugh inside, shake his head, hyper-sensitive mode and can easily bedominant needs. and steer clear of that salesperson. True offended. Those who are hyper-sensitive may value-based probing questions would reveal respond more strongly to a “politicallyUsually there is one overriding need in the the customer’s dominant need, allowing the incorrect” statement than by merely throwingprospect’s mind. Knowing that will help you salesperson to continue. you out of their office. People have becometo ask the right questions. Ask questions that targets of legal action for saying things thatwill probe for that single, dominant need. PROBING TIP #5: only a few years ago would have gone“What do you like least about your present Ask questions that help you pinpoint unnoticed or possibly produced only a briefcar?” a car salesperson could ask. An the dominant buying motivations. awkward moment. In a closely networked,attentive, skillful crowded market, a reputation
30. for offending buyers can spread rapidly and you see for your firm?” As your Probing Be especially alert for those people who haveseverely limit your sales potential. becomes more comfortable and picks up a tendency to drift into explosive subject speed, you will need to get more specific areas like religion, politics, race and deepSome examples of pitfalls to avoid are: with your questions. personal problems. You must keep the talk• Never use leading or “setup” questions on-track. such as, “You do want your employees to “How many employees do you plan to add in share in the success of the company, don’t the next 24 months?” is a good example of a Phrase your questions so people can easily you?” What is the prospect going to say? narrowing question. respond positively Studies have proven that “No! Let the ungrateful fools tough it most people prefer to agree than to assert out!” Then again, maybe that will be their PROBING TIP #8: themselves and disagree. Agreement is easy. answer. Either way, you lose. Ask questions that are easy to answer. Disagreement takes energy, diverting energy• Nosey questions can be a real turnoff, or away from the subject at hand: meeting your worse. Asking a woman, “What time will Questions that require knowledge the customer’s needs. Always try to structure your husband be home?” might be asking prospect does not have can often make a your questions so the easiest response is her for information she does not wish to person feel stupid. For example, asking a agreement. give out to strangers. customer who is buying stereo speakers,• Sometimes your manner can be “What’s the maximum continuous RMS PROBING TIP #10: threatening. Instead of asking, “How much wattage per channel on your amplifier?” Ask. Then shut up and listen. can you afford to spend?,” why not phrase might get you a dumb look for an answer. it, “How much had you planned to The smarter you make your prospects feel, The prospect cannot talk while you are invest?” or “What sort of budget level do the smarter they will think you are and the talking and you cannot learn while you are you have in mind?” better they will like you. talking. Never use your listening time to think up a witty comeback. Instead, havePlanning your most often-asked questions in A better opening, one that most people could your leather binder and pen in hand and listenadvance will help you dissect them for answer, might be, “Do you have a large, attentively analyzing every word that youroffensive overtones. You also should try powerful amplifier?” Anyone who knows the prospect says. People who see you take notesthem out on non-customers. A sales manager exact RMS continuous wattage per channel won’t expect a hasty answer, but will becould organize workshops where the of their amplifier will give you that for their favorably impressed as they watch you refersalesforce could assume the roles of sensitive answer, just to show you how much they to your notes as you formulate a carefullycustomers, allowing other staff members the know. If not, then you will not have risked tailored response.opportunity to get feedback in a safe intimidating a less savvy customer. To really use these ideas, click here.environment. Questions are your greatest selling tool, but PROBING TIP #9: they only further your probing if you usePROBING TIP #7: Use questions to guide the interview them properly to gather information about theStart with broad questions, then move and keep it positive in tone. prospect’s needs. The better you become atsteadily toward questions with a asking questions, the easier it will become fornarrower focus. Some people love to ramble on and on. you to sell as you move toward the ultimate When the sales talk takes such a goal of any sales talk, the close. A sure wayBroad questions are usually less threatening nonproductive turn, you are no longer to easily complete your closes is to rememberand yield general information. Thus, they can selling, but have begun a conversation. By and implement this adage:help you get things rolling and steer you in skillfully using questions, you can keep thethe right direction. An example of a broad interview focused and control its direction so You cannot talk people into buying, butquestion might be: “What kind of future do it continues to produce useful information. you can listen them into it.
31. The Master Keys Of Selling: Asking And Listening he best way to boost your customer selling. close a sale. Most salespeople focus onT impact is to cultivate an empathy for the customer and to understand his or In old-school selling jargon, to ask means what they will get out of the sale not what the prospect will get out of it.her needs, interests, and desires, and to know one thing-to ask for the order Often, askinghow to get them what they want. I based that people to sign an order blank is the first The selfish streak in most of us is reinforcedidea on the wisdom I learned from an question some salespeople use. It is so by our traditional sales training.inspirational salesman who taught me the common that most of us cannot remember the Unfortunately, much of today’s sellinggreatest secret of success in selling: last time a salesperson asked us a question stresses our needs and interests. We go out such as, “How will you use it?” or “What do looking for prospects to buy what we areTHE GREATEST SECRET IN you like most about it?” Without such “selling,” try to “warm them up” so we canSELLING: personal interest questions the buyer may lay our “pitch” on them, then “hit ‘em withShow people what they want most, well feel cheated. the close.” If we do it well, we can make bigand they will move heaven and earth money... for a short while.to get it! Now we will re-examine those two words - asking and listening - this time with the Countless salespeople have been trained toThat secret comes from an anonymous value-based selling philosophy in mind. You use their listening time to think up what tosource and was first revealed in print by will see different meanings for those two say after - and sometimes before - theFrank Bettger, who learned it from an “old words when viewed in terms of customer prospect finishes. To improve your listeningtimer?’ Mr. Bettger used its power to make focus: skills, that traditional focus must change. Tomore than a million dollars in selling during survive in a crowded marketplace, we mustthe early years of this century. Asking means that if you ask enough of the lay aside our own interests so we may right questions throughout the interview you discover and satisfy the needs and desires ofI will show you an easy-to-follow will likely get an order. our customers. This new focus is differentplan that will put the greatest secret and your customers will notice thein selling to work for you: Listening means that the most important task difference. It will make your sales efforts• Discover what they will buy why they of the salesperson is to pay careful attention successful even where others repeatedly fail, will buy it, and under what conditions to what the prospect truly says. even where you may have previously failed they will buy it. yourself. Later I will explore in detail how to use theMastering The Master Keys master keys of asking questions. First, let’s Self-Centeredness Is Not In Your Best ask two vital questions about listening, then InterestThe master keys to discovering what your examine their answers:prospects want are asking and listening. Please do not misunderstand. We have neverThey are your most effective implements for • Why do most salespeople find it so hard to suggested anyone adopt a martyr attitude andopening up the mind and heart of your listen to what their prospects say? lay himself at the feet of every prospect,prospect. Unfortunately, many salespeople • How can you improve your listening caring nothing about his own needs. Whathave serious misconceptions about the skills? we have discovered is that there is a vastmeanings of those two key words, asking difference between self-centeredness andand listening. Most salespeople have been conditioned to serving your best interest. Fortunately ignore the prospect’s needs and desires. What serving your best interest usually serves yourLet us look twice at what we mean. First as is uppermost in our minds as we walk into a customers’ best interest. Here is thatthey become defined in typical sales jargon, prospect’s turf? Never be ashamed to say it: concept, expressed in a simple principle:then through the perspective of value-based The number one thought in our mind is to
32. PROBE PRINCIPLE #1: prospect, you must first discover what this waiting interval is; it sets a pattern forThe best way to serve your own the prospect perceives as value! everything that follows throughout the courseinterest is to put the needs and desires of your sales interview. Use the same cautionof your customer first! To paraphrase a familiar adage, “Value is in with each question you ask after they have the eye of the beholder?” That a product agreed to answer. Always wait for an answer.If all you want to talk about is your interests, comes in 47 colors might be of little value toyour products, your product’s features or a person who is color blind. Something that How To Listen People Into Buyingyour company then do not be surprised if you is light-weight and easy to carry might be aencounter strong sales resistance from the real turnoff to a weight lifter. And the story People who talk themselves out of sales do aoutset. If you focus instead on the prospect’s of a “40 per cent savings” on an artificial vast majority of the talking and littleinterests, the prospect’s needs and desires and heart showed how much value that listening. People who use their mental skillsthe prospect’s values, you will notice a represented to a patient who merely had a instead of their verbal skills do most of theremarkable difference in that person’s headache! listening and very little talking during theopenness to you. probe step. The first step toward improving Your selling success will rise in direct your listening skills is simply to begin doingThe care you take in laying a foundation will proportion to your understanding of the it. Keep a mental stopwatch for yourself andpay dividends because your customers will value systems of your prospects. And that your prospect. How much time are you eachtrust you enough to open up. comes from the first of the Master Keys of logging? Selling - Asking. We are now led naturallyPROBE PRINCIPLE #2: into the second vital component of listening- Once you are listening instead of talking, youTo deliver value to the prospect, you improving your concrete listening skills. will be ready and able to enhance yourmust see yourself primarily as a value listening skills. Listening is a skill that can beresource for the prospect! How You Can Improve Your learned and also can be continually Listening Skills improved, but most of us have never beenWhat separates you from a vending machine trained to listen. For example, which do weis that you have an opportunity to meet and to Skillful listening is a highly professional do most during the day read or listen? Mostrespond to the widely varied and specific undertaking. First, you must look like a of us generally listen more than we read, yetneeds of each customer you serve. The most professional listener. Get a top-quality how many listening lessons did we get inhelpful attitude a salesperson can have is to leather binder with a legal pad and pen loop. school? It is not surprising that most peoplesee himself or herself as a resource for This will be your primary listening aid. Treat need help in becoming skillful listeners. Themeeting the needs and fulfilling the desires of it as if it were the most valuable piece of many evaluations we have conducted in ourcustomers. equipment you have, for it may very well consulting work consistently show prove to be just that. salespeople with miserable scores in theIf the primary focus of your sales approach is areas of listening skills.creating value for the individuals you meet, Once you are ready to start the probe step,you will not only become an effective value- open the leather binder as the prospect Sales managers need to be especially mindfulbased salesperson, you will become a well- watches, take out its pen, and say, “In order of the listening skill levels of your youngestpaid salesperson. To focus primarily on for us to see how we may best serve you, do salespeople who have grown up in today’screating value, you must know what your you mind if I ask you a few questions?” fast-paced world of rock videos and Musicclients consider to be valuable. The only way Television (MTV). Their ears may have been Then stop!to do that is by probing. deluged with more words in their young lives Do not say another word until the customer than many sales managersPROBE PRINCIPLE #3: gives you permission to ask those questions.To be a value resource for the We cannot emphasize enough how important
33. have ever even heard. As a matter of mental non-verbal clues to show that you hear and Remember, your objective is to listen yoursurvival under a barrage of hyped-up understand what they say prospect into buying. You do not need toverbiage, many young people have nearly • Remain calm. Never overreact to highly remind yourself of what you think; you mustturned off their listening skills. They have charged words and tones. Hear the person find out what your prospect thinks. There iscertainly had little motivation to develop out, then respond. Most people will cool not one sales principle that requires you tothem. down and begin to talk calmly once they “get your two cents worth in.” vent their anger and frustrations. To learn to master non-verbal skills, click here.We urge sales managers to use their intuitiveinsight skills around the office to monitortheir staff members’ progress. They will Turn Your Demonstrations Into Power-listen no better to a client than they willwhen listening to their sales manager. Packed, Value-Based ApplicationsHere are ten great pointers that can helpsharpen listening skills in any situation: n the old-school method of selling, the As simple as that sounds, it is also one of the• Open your eyes, mind and ears to be truly receptive to the messages the other person I term demonstrating merely meant to show how your products work, what they most troublesome. Yet, choosing the right product to show is a vital part of the presents. look like, and all they will do. But in today’s Application step. It is troublesome for two• Begin listening from the very first word crowded marketplace, the hard facts presented primary reasons: and give the person your undivided in a standard, product-focused demonstration attention. are often minor considerations to most First, salespeople often jump right into a• Focus on what the prospect says. Avoid consumers. Doing a data dump on a prospect traditional demonstration without discovering trying to figure out what the person is merely adds your name to the long list of the prospect’s deepest needs and wants. After going to say; you may miss what he or sources that continually deluge today’s all, they reason, there is no need to waste time. she actually says. confused buyers. Demonstrating is no longer The prospect generally knows what he or she• Do not try to read meanings into what enough; in fact, it can work against you in wants, and other products up or down the line you think the person is saying. Actively making sales. can be shown later, right? Wrong! The true help the other person convey his or her time-waster is showing products that are meanings accurately to you. In value-based selling, demonstrating your inappropriate for your prospect’s needs.• Never interrupt! Interrupting is offensive product is essentially a process of applying and rude. Also, it sends a subtle message what you sell to the needs and wants of your Here is an example, taken from our files, of that you are not serious about listening, prospects; it is application selling defined. what can happen when you attempt to jump possibly cutting off the dialogue flow. That is why we call this phase Apply instead straight to the Apply stage. We say attempt,• Control outside interruptions and of Demonstrate. because if you do jump here, you degrade it to distractions. a Demonstrate phase. You do not yet know• Use questions to encourage people Applying describes more accurately what enough to Apply. to talk and to clarify your understanding needs to happen for you to consistently make of what they mean. sales. Applying means that you show Our story is from a photocopier salesperson• Make notes of important points. Look for prospects how they can get value by buying who confessed that she once learned a connections between apparently isolated from you. Here’s a couple of examples to valuable lesson by blowing a sale she could remarks. make it specific: have made:• Get your whole body involved in listening and show that you are paying APPLY POINTER #1:Choose the A prospect’s secretary called her and said her attention. Look the person squarely in the Most Appropriate Product or Service boss, the president of eye, using facial expressions and other
34. a small company, wanted to see a copier that The second reason that choosing the right likely to buy. One well-known truism inday. The copier salesperson made an product is often troublesome is that sales is: Give people too many choices andappointment for late that afternoon. salespeople often show the products they are they will make no choice. In today’s most interested in. They may not have one crowded market, your prospects face aShe threw the top-of-the-line model into her clue of the prospect’s desires. This is one area dizzying glut of choices in products andstation wagon and drove 50 miles to make where a skilled, value-based sales manager services. Your value-based selling, however,the demo. She allowed plenty of time to set can dramatically improve the success ratio of will cut through the confusion by limiting theup because that baby could run colors, could an entire salesforce. You must be careful to choices you give your prospects to those thatcollate thousands of pages, could do never give your salespeople a reason to focus fulfill their dominant need.automatic stapling, and just about everything on products that only meet their own needs.else but make the coffee. APPLY POINTER #2: One warning we regularly deliver to sales Tailor the Presentation to theAfter delivering her canned demonstration, managers is to carefully evaluate the structure Prospect’s Needs and Wantsthe company president said, “I don’t need all of sales contests. The problem with mostthat stuff. We never do colors and we do not contests is that they encourage salespeople to Have you ever noticed how motion picturehave any use for collating and stapling. What push only the products being rewarded in the directors use cameras to show you what theyI want is a machine that will give me top contest. The needs of the client become want to emphasize? They open with a broadquality prints of single pages and spit them secondary and a salesperson who honestly shot of a huge crowd of people, then theyout in a hurry?” He did not even ask the met the true needs of a client with a product narrow the field of vision, zooming in everprice. not on the contest list may even suffer closer. Eventually, they may focus on one financially or appear low in the contest person, moving in for a close-up to captureWhen the salesperson promised to be back standings. Worse yet, others who steadfastly the non-verbal language of facialthe next morning with the right machine, the push the contest products may walk out of expressions.man said he was going out of town that night office after office with no orders at all. Manyand suggested she call for an appointment salespeople will lose interest in filling your What a producer does in zooming in for a“next week.” You can guess what happened. customers needs if it is with an order that close-up is to call your attention to what theyWhen she called back to make an does not give them points in the contest. believe to be the focal point. A successfulappointment, she discovered that her director will understand what you most wantprospect had bought a competitor’s inferior Contests, therefore, may be useful only in the to see. You have to do the same. Then, whenproduct at a higher price than her deluxe job short-term. They might temporarily mask most salespeople are using demonstrationwould have cost. This is not an unusual story your true problems, but in your long-range selling, you are using application selling,in today’s highly competitive, tightly niched plans, you must focus on the needs of your zooming in on what the prospect wants tomarkets. customers. Contests have even been found to see. harm the long-term reputation of anVery often you get only one shot at organization when customers suspect that its Here are four possible focal points for yourdemonstrating your product or service. salespeople are pushing products to win a demonstrations. Which one will keep youAnything you show after that is contest. Such an attitude can be viewed by on-track, transforming your passéanticlimactic, even if you get a second buyers as an insulting display of a lack of Demonstrations into power-packed, value-chance. Downgrading can be embarrassing consideration for their needs. based Applications?for the client, and upgrading can be tough for • You can focus on the product, which isyou. The only way to be really sure what to Highly successful value-based salespeople what most salespeople do. They love toshow is to probe thoroughly until you are know that the most appropriate choice of talk about all the gadgets, the features, andcertain about your prospects’ wants and products or services to show are always the variations of their product.needs. ones that the prospect needs most and is most
35. • You can focus on the company you So, which did you choose? Right! You’ve Price Justifier #1: represent and talk about their reputation got to focus on the prospect. Imagine a Value Meter. for service, dependability, and fair prices. You have seen hokey versions of price• You can focus on yourself by If you use the other three focal points, you saying, “I want to tell you why I justifiers in those fast-paced television outnumber your prospect three to one never believe so strongly in this product” commercials that peddle overpriced outnumber your prospects. Few prospects or, by noting that if you sell 200 merchandise as a bargain. The announcer will will care anything about the first three. But, widgets this week you will win a say “You get this complete 12-piece set of if you really connect with them on number free trip to Bermuda. super-sharp knives, plus this handy butcher’s four you have a high probability of closing• You can focus on the prospect what he guide, plus this European chef’s cookbook all sale. To add more sell to your “show and or she wants or needs most and what for the unbelievably low price of $19.95. But tell,” get very personal with it. value they will gain by ownership. wait, that is not all. Act now and we will Click here to learn more about IMPACT. include the Brooklyn Bridge... that is a DEALING WITH OBJECTIONS whopping $3 million value! And it’s all yours for this special TV - offer price of $19.95.” Justify Your Price By Proving Value While this TV huckster’s application is B efore prospects will buy what you are selling, you must prove it is worth answer that with a resounding “yes,” then you basically have only three options: executed poorly, their basic idea is sound. It is one of the most effective techniques for justifying your price. You simply stack up the values in the mind of your prospect until they more to them than it will cost. Before you either convince yourself of your product’s are convinced your price is no longer an issue. can do that, you must believe it yourself. value, quit selling it, or abandon value-based If you do not frankly believe that your selling and rely on your old methods. To measure the value you build during your product or service is a bargain to your presentations, picture an imaginary value customers, you will have a tough time Despite how firmly we each may believe in meter in your prospect’s mind. Form a justifying your price. Besides, if you are our products, or how excited we may get graphical, mental depiction of a meter needle only selling to make a quick buck, you over them, we are not the ones who need that you move up every time you increase will find it a difficult way to earn a living. convincing. To ease your efforts in facing value. However you track value, it is vital that Today long-term success requires a deep- that challenge, we have developed four Price you make the prospect keenly aware of how rooted belief in the virtue of your Justifiers, that are each explained below. much value he or she will receive for the profession and in what you sell. That money spent. To help the prospect keep track thought leads us to a principle of value- Appealing To A Jury Of One of the value needle’s position, frequently based selling: conduct values reviews that summarize all the Besides yours, the only opinion that truly values you have demonstrated.You must believe that what you sell matters is that of your current prospect. Ifrepresents real value to your that person believes he or she can get enoughprospects. value to justify the cost, you have a sale, Sell every benefit as if it were the otherwise you do not. It is that simple! As greatest of all values, and just keepBefore you can convince your prospects that we have seen before, however, what is adding more of them.you are giving them value, rephrase this simple is not always easy. Let us explore Never rely on your assumptions that a benefitprinciple as a question and ask yourself, “Do some ways you can justify your price in the is understood. Check the value meter throughI believe that what I’m selling represents a prospect’s mind. feedback from the prospect.real value to this prospect?” If you cannot
36. Price Justifier #2: prospect considers higher than the price, personal values that include prestige,Interpret relative values. interpret that as a benefit to the prospect. comfort, reliability, styling, or luxury, they can easily move the needle on the valueInterpreting relative values is an ongoing One cautionary note here is that if you meter high enough to justify the price in suchprocess that will need careful attention as regularly hear that objection, “Your price is a prospect’s mind. The key to their successyou work at convincing your prospects to too high,” it is a sign that you have not made has come when they readjust theirbuy. You may well find it to be an issue even a solid application sales presentation. If you salesforce’s perceptions to understand whatin the final phase when you are tying up the hear that question, rather than forging benefits move up the value meter in the mindsale. bravely ahead, hoping they will forget about of a “high-end” car buyer. price if you talk fast enough, you shouldWe found a great example of interpretation drop back into some probing questions to In the absence of a values interpreter, allof relative values when we recently discover how to add more value. sales degenerate into a struggle over price.conducted some sales consulting for a sales Learn how to sell value by clicking here. Once you have interpreted values, you pileprofessional whose products are highly Price Justifier #3: them onto a balance scale in the prospect’ssophisticated home security systems that Personalize all values. mind. The higher a value ranks in themay cost more than $10,000. prospect’s value system, the greater weight it The most significant question you must help will carry on those unseen “justify-the-price”He told us that, “It’s not worth that to me,” is your prospect answer will be “Is this worth balance scales. Speaking of scales, here’s aa common response from a prospect who what it will cost me?” Endorsements from great way to tip them quickly.hears his quoted dollar price. other customers will not answer this question. Neither will a top rating from Price Justifier #4:That is when the alarm salesperson must Consumer’s Guide. Nor will being widely Sell the key benefitbecome a values interpreter. One technique acclaimed by experts as the best bargain inthat has proven to be highly successful is for the industry. The ultimate test will always be The key benefit that lies at the core of athe salesperson to turn to the prospect’s wife the answer to the very personal question, “Is dominant need is the greatest justificationand say, “Mrs. Brown, your husband has told it worth it to me?” you have for the price your prospect mustme he travels a great deal, right? Would it be pay to get whatever you are selling.worth that much money to know you are safe That is why probing is so crucial to value- Advertising agencies often ask their clients,from possible intruders, and that you can based selling. Probing is where you identify “What is your unique selling proposition?” Insleep comfortably when your husband is not the personal values that matter enough to other words, what is there about your producthome to protect you?” Suddenly a different your prospect to justify whatever you charge or service that sets it apart as superior to allinterpretation of values has raised for your product or services. If you offer other products or services on the market?significantly the value of the product. enough benefits, tailoring those benefits to meet personal desires and interests, then you In value-based selling the answer to that“It sure is!” she will usually say. “Uhhh! will easily convince your prospect that your question is always personalized to be: theWhere do I sign?” the husband quickly asks. price is not too high. benefit this prospect finds most attractive. To the real estate sales professional it may beWhen someone says, “Your price is too For example, we have worked with many a cherry tree in the backyard. It may be ahigh,” start asking yourself “Compared to automobile dealerships who sell expensive certain look, a convenience, a texture or feel,what? Compared to peace of mind? luxury cars. If the value they present to their a sense of security or anything else that theCompared to being the best dressed person prospects is mere transportation, few people prospect becomes most deeply emotionalyou know? Compared to convenience? would pay. about.Compared to an inferior product?” Once youfind the value (or combination of values) the If, however, they focus on the prospect’s
37. Whatever the prospect’s dominant need, you Using a motivational speaker to get successful professional football coachmust identify and isolate the key benefit salespeople hyped up – illustrates the salesperson’s greatest folly:related to that need because it is the one thatwill open the door to the sale. The greatest Motivational hype merely revs up the engine In a game during the NFL’s 1990-91 regularjustification for paying any price is, “I like without shifting into Drive. Motivation season, the Philadelphia Eagles humiliatedit!” Your task is to help your prospects like without a reliable plan only generates the Washington Redskins on ABC’s Mondaywhat you are selling enough to pay the price frustration and produces the long-range Night Football. Before a huge nationalfor it. effect of sales burnout. audience, the Redskins, who had won the Super Bowl less than three years earlier, Using complicated sales training were thoroughly defeated and suffered theNeeded: A New systems— more momentous defeat of having nine players knocked out of the game, many ofDirection In Sales Many current systems rely on clever them removed on stretchers. By the final buzzwords that have little meaning to the quarter of the game, Washington ran out ofTraining typical person, complex ideas that turn quarterbacks and had to substitute a rookie salespeople into amateur psychologists or sly running back to steer their offense. manipulators, and closing techniques raditional sales training does not focusT on customer needs; instead, most sales training focuses on outdated designed to trap prospects into saying “yes.” Even the salespeople who master such The Redskins went home and found that the humiliation was not over. The Eagles arcane systems often discover it conflicts continued to taunt Washington in the press.approaches that work only for short-range with their own values because they bombard The insults boiled to a fever pitch whengoals. If you have felt frustrated by a failure salespeople with myriads of techniques Washington and Philadelphia wereto attain long-range success, you may have designed to equip them to regard the scheduled to play in the first round of theexperienced one, if not all, of the basic customer as an adversary or perhaps an idiot, championship play-offs seven weeks later.fallacies of current sales training. These are and close in for “the kill.” Customers who The Eagles had set a record that season forthe most common misconceptions we find in are naive enough to fall for yesterday’s trick knocking opposing players out of games andtoday’s training philosophies: closing techniques will not be in business they prided themselves on this ability. In long enough to give you a long-range career pre-play-off game hype, the Eagles advisedRegarding product training as sales even if you could keep fooling them. Buyers Washington to bring “body-bags” totraining - today are highly sophisticated and demand Philadelphia. an entirely different focus from those of evenThis idea assumes that the only thing a decade ago. Despite all the hype, Washington coach Joesalespeople need for success is to learn the To learn more about implementing this, click here Gibbs continued to run his team in the cool,features of their company’s products or The Salesperson’s Greatest Folly level-headed style that has become hisservices. Though product training is vital, it signature. The Redskins said nothing in theis not the whole picture. Any company that Most traditional sales training is based on press about Philadelphia, choosing instead tomerely calls its Salesforce in to acquaint its inflating salespeople with self-serving direct their energies toward the true task atpeople with new products is sending them slogans and high-sounding talk. Not hand: winning Saturday’s game. The tacticout with only one weapon to fight a multi- surprisingly then, focusing on the customer’s paid off Before a huge national audience, thefaceted war. As we have pointed out before, values is often the last thing on the mind of a Redskins avenged the earlier defeat and wonlong-range successful selling cannot be typical salesperson when he or she faces the game that counted, knocking the Eaglesviewed as adversarial. Your products are not prospects. Wrongly the focus is most often out of the play-offs with a solid 20-6 victory.weapons with which to wrestle dollars out of on the salesperson talking their way into acustomers’ pockets. sale. This gem of wisdom from a highly
38. Before the game, a Washington Post reporter about a wonderful new perfume that any given time, and why it is not unusual forhad questioned the Redskins for being so guarantees to make your husband sit up and sales organizations to have an annualmum, suggesting they were intimidated by the pop both eyes wide open when you walk into turnover rate of 125 to 175 percent of theirEagles. The Washington offensive coach gave the room. May I come in and show you...!” salesforce. Sales organizations that use trickhim an answer that is one of the best gems I bubbles the enthusiastic saleswoman. ads to lure unemployed and disillusionedhave ever heard: people to “unlimited futures” in selling by “Good! I hope it will do all you say says the intimidation, rob many capable people ofMost of the things that can go wrong stunned prospect. My husband died last night, their great potential for an honorable sellingin life happen when your mouth is and I thought you were from the funeral career and perpetuate the myth of the quickopen. home.” buck sales career.Salespeople who have been brainwashed at Trick door openers, canned sales pitches, and If selling has become an unpleasant chore forsales meetings and then turned loose on speed-talking approaches rely on the element you because you close so few of the sales youprospects need to remember that NFL play- of surprise and focus on the salesperson doing attempt, you may need to look no further thanoff story. Never fall victim to the all the talking. Unfortunately in today’s the way you approach prospects. Stop talkingsalesperson’s greatest folly trying to talk your crowded marketplaces, it is most often the and start listening! Focusing on yourway into sales. Here is how it can work salesperson who gets surprised. prospects needs will raise more than youragainst you in selling: closing rate; it will raise your self-esteem. Forget The So-Called “Quick Buck”‘Hi! I’m Mary Smith with the XYZCompany. I can see from your left hand that Perhaps that explains why one-third of allyou are a married woman, so let me tell you salespeople are looking for different jobs atCLOSING SALES Closing Tips For The Value-Based Salesforce ‘m going to show you how to complete a inundated with clichéd sales pitches that prospect.I sales transaction while keeping the emphasis focused where it should have they have heard all the old-school tricks before. Because of this widespread Remember that your prospects want whatbeen focused throughout your entire phenomenon, you have to be at the forefront you are selling, or they would not buy it.presentation: on the prospect! of today’s value-based selling environment. They probably wanted it before you walked in. Perhaps they only wanted a needTie Up The Sale, Never Your Prospect Value-based selling does not rely on clever fulfilled and you showed them how to closing gimmicks to trick people into apply your products or services to fill thatWe have traded in the old expression closing something they really do not want to do. need.the sale for tying up the sale because closing Nor is closing the centerpiece of a sale,has become sales jargon for tying up the around which all other elements are built. The underlying theme in this final phase isprospect. The traditional closing approach Tying up the sale is a natural outgrowth of that you have already accurately identifiedwill never deliver long-term growth and providing value-based services for your what your prospect wants and theysuccess in today’s value hungry markets. prospects. It can even be an enjoyable and understood that theyToday’s buyers have been so heavily exciting time - both for you and for the
39. need it. With that knowledge, all that must stand far above the old price-oriented seems as if the salesperson is silently sayingremains is a simple process of tying up the mentality, always focusing on value and trust. that they should make a speedy exit beforeloose ends of the transaction so that you the prospect changes his or her mind.both get what you want. There are four basic The real reason most salespeople deal so Never rush for the door before the ink drieselements to tying up the detailed conditions poorly with objections is that they do not on an agreement. You are experiencedof a sale. know how. All their training has focused on enough to know that if a customer truly memorizing canned responses to every wants to back out, they will find a way to• Negotiate the conditions of the sale. objection that could possibly come up. They back out no matter what they have signed.• Clear away objections. sound like playbacks of recorded messages, Moreover, your haste to depart can damage• Ask for the order. “If a prospect gives Objection Number Four, the trust bond you have worked so hard to• Reinforce the sale. you counter it with Response Number 67.” create. Besides, if you have successfully You should forget all of them you ever completed a deal through proper value-basedNegotiate The Conditions Of The learned. selling, you will have full confidence that theSale customer has no desire to back out. A successful value-based salesperson neverNegotiation entails working out a mutually responds to objections with canned answers. Don’t make them feel they’ve been a victimsatisfactory agreement between two or more The key to eliminating objections with a of a quick-hit artist. Instead of running offpeople for something both want to do. customer-focused orientation will be in quickly take time to let the glue dry on thisSuccessful negotiation requires handling the treating each uniquely relating to specific new bond you have just created. It is betterdetails so that all parties involved feel they needs. to take a few minutes to tie up any loosehave won. ends before you leave. By lingering a few Ask For The Order minutes, you can help reinforce the positiveClear Away Objections aspects of the sale for the customer. Everything you have done up to this point is Remember that you are selling trust andTo ensure your long-range success, always wasted motion unless you ask for the order. value and that a few extra minutes canview objections as conditions that must be However, asking for an order is not nearly as reinforce those perceptions for yourmet before a satisfactory sale can be major an activity for a value-based sales prospect.consummated. The way you handle professional as many salespeople and trainersobjections will often determine whether you traditionally make it out to be. If you have Once you fully embody a needs-basedmake the sale. In other words, it can discovered what your prospects want most system, you can mobilize your entiredetermine whether you Tie Up your and shown them how they can get it then salesforce, arming them, too, with theseprospect with a satisfactory deal. asking for the order is a natural final step. powerful techniques. And, even as your sales climb, you will find yourselves workingMost objections raised by prospects emanate Reinforce The Sale shorter hours than ever. In short, you willfrom feelings rather than a factual come to see why I like to call value-basedstandpoint. To apply that fact, the Once a prospect makes a decision to buy, selling: Working Smart In a Crazy World!salesperson must deal with objections many salespeople pack up and get out as fast Learn how to finalize transactions byforthrightly by addressing the feelings as they can. We have found that prospects clicking herebehind them. A traditionally flippant often gain much intuitive insight from theAs an IMPACT Selling professional, you body language of a hit-and-run salesperson. ItIt’s a lot of money but just look at what allyou’re getting!” is asking for trouble.A canned response like that cannot possibledeal with the true feelings of today’ssophisticated and demanding prospects.
40. All Is Lost If You Don’t Ask For The Order! ‘m going to show you how to complete a You cannot make the buying decision for Trial closes work just like the monkey-fist.I sales transaction while keeping the emphasis focused where it should have your prospects, but you can ease the decision-making process for them. We have Throughout the negotiation step, you use small test questions that will not throw yourbeen focused throughout your entire developed five tested and proven techniques client off balance. If the prospect grabs onepresentation: on the prospect! for making the buying decision easier for and starts pulling on it, hook the close to it you and for your prospects. You must and allow them to wrap up the sale for you.Value-based selling does not rely on clever choose whichever is best for you based onclosing gimmicks to trick people into your own style and on the circumstances of A typical trial close is, “Is there anything thatsomething they really do not want to do. Nor each individual situation. would keep you from going ahead with this?”is closing the centerpiece of a sale, around “Can you see how it might work the samewhich all other elements are built. Tying up CLOSING TECHNIQUE #1: way for you?” is another good one.the sale is a natural outgrowth of providing Use trial closes throughout thevalue-based services for your prospects. It interview. This trial close technique is about as close tocan even be an enjoyable and exciting time- a canned approach as a value-basedboth for you and for the prospect. This simple concept involves beginning to salesperson should ever get, but always think move toward the close before you actually about each prospect individually and find aRemember that your prospects want what get there. By moving slowly forward in trial close that feels natural for that situation.you are selling, or they would not buy it. small increments, the final jump may be a Trial closes are a good way to ease intoThey probably wanted it before you walked small step. Here’s a great illustration of the asking for a buying decision and may tell youin. Perhaps they only wanted a need fulfilled concept: that it has already been made.and you showed them how to apply yourproducts or services to fill that need. CLOSING TECHNIQUE #2The underlying theme in this final phase is Sailors use what they call a monkey-fist to Ask them to buy now.that you have already accurately identified simplify what could be a tough task, The bigwhat your prospect wants and they ropes they use to tie a giant ocean liner to a When you feel the time is right, simply askunderstand that they need it. With that pier are often four to five inches thick and your prospect for the order. Be cautious,knowledge, all that remains is a simple may weigh hundreds of pounds. Can you though; the way you ask for an order canprocess of tying up the loose ends of the imagine how hard it would be to throw one make it easier or more difficult for thetransaction so that you both get what you of those massive ropes from the ship to the prospect to make a buying decision. We havewant. pier? Even if a team of big stevedores could found a question that has a high success rate do it, how would you like to be the poor guy for thousands of salespeople, “Is thereAsk For The Order on the other end who had to catch it? anything that would keep you from buying now?”Everything you have done up to this point is So, sailors have developed a specialwasted motion unless you ask for the order technique in which they tie a little ball There is nothing tricky about it. If you haveHowever, asking for an order is not nearly monkey-fist to one end of a small rope and successfully built value for your prospect,as major an activity for a value-based sales toss that over. The guy on the pier easily asking for the order is merely a matter ofprofessional as many salespeople and catches that, ties the small rope securely and tying up the loose ends of the sale. You looktrainers traditionally make it out to be. If starts pulling it in. The huge line is tied to them straight in the eye, ask them to buy, andyou have successfully completed the first the other end and comes right along with it. then do notfive steps – finding out what your prospects Mission accomplished!want most and showing them how they can get it – then asking for the order is a natural final step.
41. say another word until the prospect has you hand them the agreement if they are not close is that it shields people from having toresponded. ready to make a decision. Therefore, when make a straight-forward buying decision. you use this technique, keep your intuitive Instead, you give them an option that is farMany salespeople are so afraid of rejection insight in high gear for signs that your move less threatening and implies that they havethat they feel they must break any silence that makes the prospect uncomfortable. If you made a positive buying decision. There islasts more than a few seconds. They may sense any uneasiness, lay the agreement much less pressure in simply choosing whicheven jump in and say something damaging aside and drop back to some probing model they want or the conditions underlike, “Maybe you need more time to think questions to uncover the true reasons they which to buy. The either/or closing techniqueabout this” or “Now, I don’t want to make are feeling hesitant. puts the least direct pressure on prospects ofyou feel pressured.” Interrupting will only To learn how to sell better using your any of the options we recommend.delay the decision at best and it may sabotage computer, click here.it permanently. Remember that some people CLOSING TECHNIQUE #4: CLOSING TECHNIQUE #5:simply need a little space when they are Use the Either/Or Close. Deal with fear of making a decision.making a decision. We have found somesalespeople who are reluctant to use such a Some salespeople do not feel comfortable Often you will find a prospect is sold on thedirect close as those we have recommended. with any of the first three closes because product, feels comfortable with all theFor those, we offer two other techniques that each boils down to a “yes” or “no” answer. conditions of the purchase, yet remainsalso work well. Another method that makes it easy for hesitant to make a buying decision. In such prospects to decide to buy is to use closing cases, it is vital that you allow the prospect toCLOSING TECHNIQUE #3: questions that give them a range of answers. proceed on their own internal time clock.Assume the sale. One of the most effective alternative closes Never make a thinking prospect feel rushed. is commonly known as the either/or close.Many excellent salespeople are more Here is how to give your prospects more We had a young graduate of one of ourcomfortable to assume that the prospect has options then “yes” or “no.” seminars report a case to us where this hadbought and start handling the paperwork, all happened to her. This is the story she passedthe while asking the prospect questions about In the either/or close, ask a question that lets on to us:details. When they finish writing up the order, them choose between having it one way orthey might ask, “Is there anything else we another. “Do you like it best in the “In a recent sales interview, I had becomeshould include before we finalize the conventional style, or would you rather have excited about how much I was going to earnagreement?” If not, write the final terms on the newer model?” “Should we schedule from a huge deal I was just about to close.the agreement, mark a big “X” where the delivery Wednesday or do you prefer that we However, the prospect just kept hedging andclients should sign, then hand the agreement schedule it for next Monday?” “Do you I got impatient, and probably a little tooand your pen to them. prefer to make a single payment, or would pushy. The woman stopped me and said, you rather use our convenient easy payment ‘Look! If you can give me a few minutes toThis approach is a variation of the first one plan?” think about this, I might say yes. If you havewhere we recommend using trial closes to know right now, the answer is NO!”throughout the process to move gradually One good way to lead into an either/or closetoward finalizing the deal. Also with this is to summarize the benefits and state the “I instantly recovered with, ‘Take as muchtechnique, prospects never have to make one price just before you ask the question. It is time as you like!’, then leaned back with abig decision to buy—just a series of smaller best to ask the question immediately after the big friendly smile after laying the agreementdecisions and many prospects feel much more prospect has made a positive statement about aside. Next, we talked for 20 minutes aboutcomfortable with that gradual process. some feature or benefit he or she particularly her family, then she signed the order without likes. a moment’s hesitation. That’s one mistakeOne drawback to assuming the sale is that I’ll never make again!”some people feel pressured when The greatest advantage of the assumptive
42. It will not always be that easy. Still, if you dealt with them as a model value-based and beyond.sense a prospect’s request for a little time or salesperson. They trust you. They like you.space is a cover for a deeper barrier to They believe you know what they want. Now, Massive change will occur throughout ourmaking a decision, then probe into exactly halfway through the close, you have fast-paced world. Trends in the globalwhy the person is hesitant. If you discover negotiated the conditions of the sale and economy will affect corporate and consumerthere is some key issue that remains to be cleared away every objection and are ready to spending patterns and behaviors in moresettled, handle it in stride and get back on- sign the order. direct and immediate ways than ever before.track with the close. If you do not find the A key yet unknown, variable is how welltrue basis underlying the prospect’s The Pay-Off sales organizations and their sales staffs willhesitancy, keep probing until you pin down respond to it. Change will require continual The important thing is that you both reach thisthe dominant factor. adjustments and course corrections in the stage of the sale with (1) a clear understanding marketplace and in the ways in which sales of the conditions under which the prospectOnce you uncover a key issue this late in the professionals deal with its complexities. will buy, and (2) a strong trust bond betweenprocess, focus on the issue as precisely as you and the prospect. With both of thosepossible. Use very straightforward, honest What are some changes that the crowded firmly established, your prospects will trust inquestions, such as, “If it were not for the marketplace of the 21st Century will bring? you when they see your interest lies in helpingballoon note at the end of the lease Here are just a few possibilities: them get what they want.agreement, would you be ready to go aheadwith this?” If the prospect says “yes,” then FOCUS: Once you fully embody a needs-based system, Customer preferences for design, quality,you know exactly what you are dealing with. you can mobilize your entire salesforce, flexibility, style, technical superiority andWith an answer that clear, you would then arming them, too, with these powerful even for terms of the purchase, will becomeend your reversion to probing and negotiate a techniques. And, even as your sales climb, more important and will change on annew set of conditions that are acceptable. you will find yourselves working shorter unpredictable and more frequent basis. If the hours than ever. In short, you will come to see focus of your salesforce is on yourIn this final step, we will assume that you are why I like to call value-based selling: company’s reputation or on thewith a prospect and you have Working Smart In a Crazy World! demonstration of your products, you will miss the rapidly changing needs of your The Watchword customers. In a crowded marketplace, the successful organizations and their sales forces will be those whose focus is on Of The 21st Century answering the customer’s needs and preferences. hat one syllable word redefined the well into the 21st Century. It will alsoW very essence of the selling profession continue to be the major driving force behind LEVERAGE: Economic trends will find their way to the in the last decade of the 20th the new face of professional selling.Century? What was the singular most marketplace more quickly and will be in fulldominant concept that directed and Permeating change will cause a new set of force almost immediately. You’ll need tocontrolled sales success in the 1990’s? increasing and all encompassing needs to constantly monitor these rapidly emerging appear in the marketplace. Sales professionals trends and search for ways your company’sThat all powerful word was change! And that will need to anticipate and adapt to a series of strengths can best serve them. This conceptsame phenomenon will forge the tone of events that will dictate their ability to meet the is called leverage.politics, technology and every phase of the unique demands of the increasinglyworld’s structure demanding marketplace of the 21st Century
43. Leverage is an important tool; nonetheless, end up in the graveyard are those that in the next town (or country!) will find outits application will change continually. continue to use traditional selling about it and will find a way to usurp your techniques. Among the techniques that will efforts. When they do, they will have theALIGNMENT: turn companies into dinosaurs in the advantage of avoiding many of the mistakesThe crowded marketplace will enable crowded marketplace are: you made and they will bring in a freshprospects and customers to respond to perspective.unsatisfactory customer service, poor • Selling without consideration of the wantstreatment or product dissatisfaction with and needs of the customer. The closest we can come to offering you avendor changes rather than tolerance. In • Canned, trite phrases, tricky closes and view through a crystal ball is to say thatlight of this reality, your company’s coercive selling techniques. whether or not you have been the only gamemarketing strategy and your sales strategy • Scripted sales presentations geared in town, if you have diligently andwill need to be in close alignment. If not, toward the broad view that emphasize honorably served the long-term needs ofthen the inevitable conflicts caused by any your company and its products. your customers, the new guy in town willmisalignment of these two strategies will • Selling pure price instead of value. get a cool welcome. Your job is to ensuredrive your customers to other companies. • Adversarial selling. that when the newcomers arrive - and rest • Complicated, confusing selling systems. assured that they will - your customers willDo you wish you bad a crystal ball to predict • Failure to investigate the market for not be willing to give up the value andexactly how these changes will affect your highly-qualified new prospects. integrity they know they can count on withcompany? We cannot give you a crystal ball, • Selling that is not backed by reliable you. The most successful sales organizationsbut we can help a great deal. service. and individual salespeople in the 21stTo learn more about focus, leverage and • Sales forces that do not understand the Century will be those who best sell twoalignment, click here. role of their company’s marketing things: trust and value.How To Thrive In The 21st Century department. • Marketing departments that neither The 21st Century will be the mostYour sales forces can no longer afford to sell address nor understand the needs of the demanding, fast-moving era in history forin a vacuum. Ever-increasingly the power of salesforce. sales professionals. Yet, it will present themass communications, macro and micro most new opportunities. The secret toeconomic realities, consumer issues, value These approaches will not bring success to seizing these opportunities will be toshifts, and even politics and global affairs your company in the crowded marketplace understand the concept of change. It is awill dictate day-to-day selling activities. As that exists today - perhaps they never have! concept that winning sales professionals andsuch, most traditional sales philosophies are Possibly, they only appeared effective companies need to leverage to theiroutdated in today’s crowded marketplace. because they were used in marketplaces that advantage. Those who fail to recognize orThe future belongs to the sales organizations were less crowded; somewhat like the cliché deal with change shall quickly fall as easythat are flexible and non-traditional in their about being “the only game in town.” That prey to those who do.thinking. was once possible because some of your customers may have had little choice orCreative companies willing to adapt their knowledge but to buy from you.concepts or thoughts, beliefs, and actions tothe new marketplace realities will rule the Today your secret or edge will not last long.economy of the coming decade. Companies Industrial intelligence reports are nowwho could not or would not adapt now litter readily available. Duplicating a successfulthe graveyard of business. product or service is so simple that product differentiation is a thing of the past. If youThe companies of the 21st Century that will have found a winning combination, someone
44. Six Tools To Locate Qualified Prospects uring thousands of training sessions and right places, will always have plenty of • Who has the money right now?D consultations with hundreds of business leaders, we have found unanimous qualified prospects. • Who has an urgent need for our products? • Who has bought similar products oragreement on one basic point: Lack of We will now present the six tools of services before?qualified prospects is the greatest single prospecting in a general context to illustrate • Who has bought from our company beforecause of failure among salespeople. how they may work for you. These general and might be ready to buy again? ideas will work in many fields of selling. • Who has influence on the prospects weProspecting is the toughest part of selling. It Your task as a professional sales manager is identify?means much more than the traditional to apply them to your selling situation andapproach of finding warm bodies you might ensure that your salespeople are well-trained If you approach your who questions creativelycorral into listening to a standard pitch. in their use. - you can develop a huge suspect list from thoseInstead, it means identifying qualified questions alone. An important source for yourprospects, establishing enough rapport with Power-Packed list probably will be found in your company’sthem to gain a good hearing, and setting the Prospecting Tool #1: WHO? marketing department. In planning thestage (time and place) for you to make your advertising campaign, they have probablybest presentations. An investigative reporter in a city of a million already answered most of the questions on that people will get nowhere if he or she assumes list. This is clearly a major reason why youProspecting is similar to detective work, but that every resident in the city is a likely want to align yourself closely with thethere is another profession even more closely candidate for a story. Instead, the reporter marketing department.analogous to prospecting: investigative must narrow down the field to those whosereporting. stories are truly newsworthy and then choose After your initial list is complete, a key to a few to focus on in depth. continued success is to keep asking yourselfA sharp investigative reporter always uses the and your salesforce the same questionssix well-known tools of the journalism trade In Power-Packed Prospecting, some repeatedly, constantly looking for names youto track down a story. Those tools are the excellent who questions for a salesperson to might have missed or for new names that werequestions: ask to convert suspects within your market not available initially. This list must become a into highly-qualified prospects are: part of your permanent files. Keep it and doWho? Where? Why? What? When? • Who has the most obvious need or desire not give up on it too early. Here is a goodand How? for the company’s products or services that reason why: we sell? For whom is that need or desireThe reporter’s standard tool kit is just as most compelling? We found a recent study by the Thomasuseful to the alert salesperson who is • Who are our ideal prospects? (Do not limit Publishing Company that revealed that mostcommitted to the job of Power-Packed your thinking in this area to your current salespeople give up too early. According toProspecting. This philosophy is not theory, it customer list. Think freshly of ideal their study 80 percent of sales to businessesis a proven idea on which The Brooks Group prospects and describe them in detail.) are made on the fifth sales call, yet only 10bases this prospecting principle: • Who do we know now who might fit that percent of salespeople call more than three ideal description? times!Power-Packed • Who do we know now that might lead usProspecting Principle: to new people who fit that description? Be careful in the way you handle your repeatThe salesperson who asks enough of the • Who has the money to buy the contacts so you appear as aright questions, of the right persons, in the products our company sells?
45. persistent professional and never as a pest. country clubs and health and recreation reread the first question with a negative, Many salespeople have reported stretching centers.) cynical tone, “Why would this person be their contacts over more than two years, likely to buy our products?” When put the although one year is a good limit. Maximum This is one area in which the crowded wrong way, some why questions can easily effectiveness was found while the list was no marketplace of the 21st Century may work in produce intimidating answers for more than six months old. So, we now know your favor. Our fast-paced, crowded society inexperienced or even for cynical, that a good source for who questions may be has gone bonkers over lists. Computers have experienced salespeople, thereby serving as in your dusty business card file - and just made it possible for those lists to be arranged an excuse for procrastination. If, on the think, this will be your first contact with them by every conceivable category. Yet, those other hand, you always approach them with using a customer-focused, value-based computer generated lists are readily available a positive attitude, they will help show approach! to everyone. Also, they may only serve to which suspect should get top priority, often increase the number of suspects you have, pointing you straight to qualified prospects. Power-Packed thereby wasting your time. It is essential to Prospecting Tool #2: WHERE? choose carefully focused lists so they produce Power-Packed highly-qualified prospects. The more careful Prospecting Tool #4: WHAT? By asking enough where questions, you can you are in selecting your lists, the more turn up prospects beyond your current client productive they will be for you. The family of what questions in your list and probably way beyond your initial investigation can boost your prospecting expectations. You will be amazed at how Power-Packed impact by improving your focus on the most many lists of people you and your sales staff Prospecting Tool #3: WHY? powerful content for prospecting. Each what can find, many of whom will be logical question should focus on what the prospect prospects. Why questions can help set priorities as you needs from you or your product. seek to transform suspects into highly- Here are some sample where questions that qualified prospects. They also can help you Here are a few you might find helpful: produce great prospecting results: decide which approach is best to reach a particular person or group of people. • What will this prospect find most • Where do our ideal prospects live? Work? beneficial about my product or service? Play? Socialize? Relax? The following why questions are helpful: What will he or she find least beneficial? • Where can we find useful mailing lists of • What questions or statements are most people who fit the ideal prospects • Why would this person be likely to buy our likely to get your prospects talking about description we developed? (A properly product? his or her needs? What questions are they conducted search will provide lists of • Why would this person resist buying from likely to ask me? people by professions, neighborhoods, us now? • What more do I need to know about the types and frequency of purchases, credit • Why might this time be especially good (or person to assure success in setting up an ratings, dominant interests, property deeds, poor) to approach this person? appointment? and so on.) • Why would this person be most likely to • What is the formal and informal structure • Where can we find directories from which accept an appointment with a salesperson? of this organization? to assemble our own lists? (Include the (If the answer to this one is that they would • What information should I try to gain business section of public libraries, clubs, respond to a referral, can you get a from my initial contact with the prospect? social groups and officers and directors of referral?) • What is the single biggest problem I can service organizations.) help them solve?• Where might we contact prospects? (While Be careful of your attitude when you are • What are they up against in the the hottest new trend is toward exhibits and asking this type of question. If you approach marketplace themselves today? Nearly huge trade shows, do not overlook the the why questions negatively, they may talk every market is crowded, traditional places in your daily life like you out of calling on anybody To see how,
46. and your prospects likely face many of the for the best time schedule for both of you.same survival challenges you face. The answers to some when questions will Power-Packed help you schedule other activities Prospecting Tool #6: HOW?You should only invest time asking yourself appropriately. Answers to others will helpthe what questions about people you have directly in scheduling time for prospecting. Your how questions are perhaps the mostidentified as prospects. The higher the crucial of all the tools for prospectingquality of your answers to your what Questions like these can help you see the because many of their answers will evolvequestions, the greater your batting average best balance for both you and your prospects: from answers to the five other types ofwill be in getting prospects to accept questions. You cannot ask many meaningfulappointments. • When us the optimum time for me to do how questions unless you have explored the my prospecting and not cut into my prime other five first. Notice how these are related.Use this time to find ways to build maximum selling time?value for your prospects. Your what • When is it most productive from the Here are some how questions you will findquestions should reveal what you can do to customer’s viewpoint for me to try to very helpful:increase perceived benefits while reducing contact suspects? When is it least • How can l be sure I am doing a goodthe perceived price. productive? enough job of follow-up in prospecting? • When is this prospect most likely to give (Who? Remember those old files.)A successful professional should be able to me an attentive hearing? When am I at my • How can I use my prospecting time moreidentify no less than 25 needs their prospects best? When is a good alternate time that productively, including the few momentshave. Of course, you will focus only on the maximizes the answers to these two available to me right now? (Where? A long list of wherethree or four most dominant needs, finding questions for both of us? questions will always give you someways in which you and your products will • When should I contact this prospect again research to do during slack times.)provide valuable benefits for those needs. if my first efforts are not successful? • How can I sharpen my prospecting skills?But if you cannot name 25 needs, you may (Why? Always search for creative ways tobe walking past golden opportunities. Failure One well-known example of a time-waster, put your products and services to use.)to have a long list of answers to your what for instance, is calling on a busy executive • How can I best approach suspects andquestions is similar to fighting with one hand first thing Monday morning. Successful sales prospects? (What? Think of what theytied behind your back. professionals know that this is seldom a will most want to hear.) productive time for an executive, so they • How can I make more time for prospectingPower-Packed schedule other clients for that time. The most without cutting into my prime sellingProspecting Tool #5: WHEN? successful salespeople practice good time time? (When? The leverage of time- management habits. One good time management is an essential sales tool.)Timing has a great influence on how management technique is to set up qualitysuccessful you will be at prospecting. Too appointments. There is more to a quality The key to making the how questions workoften, salespeople try to set up appointments appointment than merely meeting with a for you, just as for many of the others, is tofor their own convenience rather than at an qualified prospect. The first three ask them continually of yourself and reviseoptimum time for the prospect. Others have prospecting questions (Who? Where? your answers. The last how question is mostso few prospects that they jump at an Why?) show how to find quality prospects. productive for you when answeredappointment any time they can get one. You The next question (What?) is designed to specifically for individual clients. The how ofmust strike a balance. target your presentation to those quality approaching suspects and prospects will vary people. This fifth question (When?) can greatly from one to another.A positive and productive approach to maximize the quality of the time with thebalance is to blend your interests with those prospect by ensuring that both of you areof the prospect and always shoot ready to focus on the prospect’s needs.
47. A Final Prospecting Principle prospects to call on at any given moment. As regardless of the prospect’ initial reaction. reinforcement, I would like to add one final“He that questioneth much shall learn principle: One anchor of the bridge is to create a strongmuch,” said Francis Bacon. Nowhere in sales trust bond. The other end is to convey valueis that statement more true than in the In a crowded marketplace, all other to your prospects through whatever you sell.investigative phase. We have shared with things being equal, the one with the most These two principles are the mentalyou some of the questions we continually ask information, who applies it most foundations of your selling plan for buildingourselves. These questions have helped us effectively, wins. a bridge to your prospects.and many of our clients completely Click here to learn about how your computer can help you learn these ideas. To get started on the bridge, here are some pointers on how the real sales winners begin Building A Bridge: building their bridges between the foundations of trust and value. The Transition To Sales Talk 1. Get to the point of your visit quickly.M ost salespeople are experts at meeting new people. The early phases of a sales meeting come naturally for their Obviously, the most crucial factor in building a bridge is knowing where you are coming from and what your destination is. Four things are uppermost in the prospect’s mind from the moment you knock at the door:outgoing personalities. But friendly chat is Two factors that cause many salespeople tonot the true purpose of any sales meeting. fail at building that bridge is that they start • Who are you?Eventually you have got to make a smooth from the wrong place or they do not clearly • Who do you represent?transition to what you came for: sales talk. see where they are going. • What do you want? • What’s in it for me?Shifting gears to sales talk can be awkward, Starting with a tricky foot-in-door tactic andboth for you and your prospect. Many of the trying to set up the prospect for the kill is The quicker you can answer those questions,salespeople who attend our seminars confess one way to start in the wrong place. We have the sooner they can relax and allow you tothat this is the most uncomfortable part of already shown that a better approach is to transition to the sales talk. The answers yourthe whole interview for them. I want to give start from a position of trust and strong prospects pick up to those initial questionsyou some techniques so that the transition rapport. Using the latter of these two will will be the first time you can display yourbecomes a natural next step. firmly anchor one end of the bridge. customer-focused orientation. Subtly, by focusing on their needs, you will begin toSetting The Stage For Action, Not For Seeing the customer as an adversary to be show your prospects where you’ve laid theReaction conquered is one way to have the wrong foundations of your bridge. destination. This can be tough to overcome,The shift from friendly conversation to however, in a demanding, highly niched 2. Avoid being abrupt.active sales talk is one you must make market in which your competitors arenaturally. When you make it you want a constantly dealing on price alone. Some Amateurs, or poorly trained salespeople,positive response-not a reaction. One helpful prospects believe they prefer an adversarial often say things such as “Well, I know youimage to illustrate how to do this is to see relationship because they think it will give folks don’t have all day to talk and neitheryourself as building a bridge across a chasm. them a negotiating advantage. Your do I, so let’s get down to business.” Or, theyThe best way to move a prospect from approach, however, should always be that may have been trained to ask a startlingfriendly chitchat to a business sales talk is to your purpose is to convey value. If you question thatgive him a firm foundation to walk across. always focus on the needs of your customers, you will clearly see where theeliminate the problem of not having qualified other end of the bridge should be anchored
48. is initially out of touch with everything that the 21st Century: carefully how freely the prospect shares thehas been said up to that point. Such poor information you seek. If you senseinitial tactics show a lack of respect for the Success in selling in a crowded reluctance, they are still holding back out ofpeople you meet and will strengthen the marketplace requires a genuine interest in fear over how you will use that information.barriers between you. and understanding of people. That will be a clue to back off and build more trust rather then to push forward, adding toThe most successful selling professionals If your interest is genuine, you will find you the tension. If, on the other hand, you get atake a more gentle approach. They ask non- naturally identify with your prospects. That, warm and immediate response, you know itthreatening questions or make statements in turn, enables them to identify with you. is safe to proceed.that gently open the door. They also use Once your clients feel that you see life pretty Click here to learn about how your computer cangood manners that honor the personal space much as they do, that you mean them no help you learn these ideas.of the person with whom they are talking. harm, you have mixed up a solid load of To Sum It All Up...Something like, “Do you mind if I ask a few concrete to build a lasting bridge.questions so I can find out how to assist you Here’s a good quotation I often cite inbetter?” will show you want to help them 4. Test your bridge before you invite the seminars, “All effective sales talk is dialogue.and gets them to talking right away as you client to walk across. It is not monologue!”wait for their answer. Many prospects who have seemed relaxed To have dialogue with people is to “get in3. Make it natural. and comfortable suddenly lapse into morose touch” with them in a meaningful way. That seriousness or a deathly silence at the first personal touch will set in motion a two-sidedSearch for a common interest with your effort to move toward sales talk. Sometimes conversation that proves to your prospectsprospects, or for a point of personal pride or they will turn into an aggressive attacker. If that you value them, their feelings, and theirjoy for them, or for a way to express concern one of those two things happens, you have needs. Knowing that you value them willover a problem he or she might be just witnessed a nearly involuntary reaction eliminate the nearly certain tension yourexperiencing, and use that as a launching pad by your client to what they see as the prospects had before you conducted the meetfor your shift into sales talk. Things have a approach of old-school selling methods. The phase.way of becoming intensely interesting to us message for your intuition, then, is that youwhen they become personal. Once you have have not built a strong enough trust bond. Alignment between you and your marketingfound a tangible way to identify with the department is also crucial at this stage. It isprospect, let the transition to sales talk flow Building a trust bond leads to action and difficult to build trust now if what you saynaturally from the rapport you have set in avoids reactions. Prospects often resist sales differs greatly from what the prospect hasmotion. talk because they have been subjected to so garnered about your company product or much high pressure from manipulative service from its marketing efforts. It is muchWhen you become personal with your clients salespeople that they are afraid to ask a easier for your prospects to trustin a non-threatening way you become very question, volunteer any information, or show representatives who seem aligned with whatinteresting to them. But sincerity is essential. any sign of interest. Therefore, you must they expected you to say. Any incongruityNever fake an interest you do not have. False continually test the trust you have creates doubt, apprehension and resistance inflattery, inane chatter, and insincere established. A highly effective way to do this your prospects - particularly in a prospectcomments create tension rather than reduce is to introduce sales talk in stages while your who knows they have a multitude of choicesit. If, on the other hand, your interest is intuitive insight stays closely tuned in for among the many competitors in yoursincere and you use a little creativity to find reactions. crowded market.ways to express it, your prospects will returnthe favor of your attention. A simple step in that direction is to ask for a A basic principle in building customer value small piece of information, then monitor is that to get prospects to reach aThis brings us to a basic tenet of selling in
49. buying decision, you must make their Lowering natural barriers, eliminating The most powerful time to open formalPerceived Benefit greater than their tension, and building trust and rapport are negotiations is right after your prospect hasPerceived Price. However, before a prospect all part of the crucial meeting phase of a expressed approval or delight over somewill believe that you can bring them successful selling plan. The completion of feature or benefit. Read that last sentencebenefits, they must first trust you. The meet the meeting phase moves you naturally to a again; the key phrase is “your prospect hasphase is where you build their trust, then sales dialogue in which you will begin the expressed?” You have to regularly ask aboutyou take that trust with you when you next phase in value-based selling, finding the prospect’s feelings and listen as theysearch for specific ways to maximize value out how to meet your prospect’s deepest express them, and you have to listen to whatfor your prospects. needs. they express about the values you have presented. When you hear the prospect express approval or delight, you simply ask, “Is there anything that would keep you from Negotiating Tips For going ahead with this?” The Value-Based Salesforce Then STOP! ‘m going to show you how to complete a remains is a simple process of tying up the Extensive research has proven that questionI sales transaction while keeping the loose ends of the transaction so that you both to be the most effective for opening emphasis focused where it should have get what you want. negotiations. It is a sincere and honestbeen focused throughout your entire question, it cuts right to the center of thepresentation: on the prospect! Negotiate The Conditions matter, and it is not in any way offensive. To Of The Sales use it properly you must stop after you haveValue-based selling does not rely on clever asked, wait for the prospect to respond, thenclosing gimmicks to trick people into Negotiation entails working out a mutually listen attentively to the answer. If the answersomething they really do not want to do. satisfactory agreement between two or more is “I do not see any reason not to go ahead,”Nor is closing the centerpiece of a sale, people for something both want to do. you then know you just entered the closearound which all other elements are built. Successful negotiation requires handling the phase and can begin writing up the sale.Tying up the sale is a natural outgrowth of details so that all parties involved feel theyproviding value-based services for your have won. If the only responses you ever hear to thatprospects. It can even be an enjoyable and question prompt you to move ahead, thenexciting time both for you and for the In a way, everything you have done up to this you do not need to read this article.prospect. point has been a part of negotiating the sale. However, as a seasoned sales veteran of Though the closing of a sale should flow highly competitive markets, you know manyRemember that your prospects want what organically out of your customer-focused prospects will still show hesitancy and offeryou are selling, or they would not buy it. sales strategy, your success in negotiations some reason for not going ahead. If so, doThey probably wanted it before you walked will improve as you strengthen your not panic, simply continue with more of ourin. Perhaps they only wanted a need negotiating skills. To enhance the success of strategies.fulfilled and you showed them how to apply your negotiations, we will give you fouryour products or services to fill that need. winning strategies that have helped thousands Negotiation Strategy #2: of customer-focused sales professionals Get all the conditions on the table.The underlying theme in this final phase is become effective negotiators.that you have already accurately identified The prospect will almost never give youwhat your prospect wants and they Negotiation Strategy #1: such direct information as inunderstand that they need it. With thatknowledge, all that Open the negotiations on a positive note.
50. saying, “I’ll buy it under the following have all the conditions on the table, you can on the same side of the negotiating table. Inconditions.” More often, prospects take a go to the next strategy. effect, you must convey “I know you’d like tomore brusque approach, responding only to have the benefits I’ve shown you, and I knowthe specific conditions you have presented. Negotiation Strategy #3: you have some concerns. I want to help youSome responses you might hear are: “I don’t deal with those concerns so you can have theknow! That’s a lot of money!” or “I wish you Make sure you understand the conditions. value I’ve created and the benefits you want.”had a more advanced model.” To those To do this, agree with your client that youanswers, many salespeople begin hammering Make sure you understand all the conditions both want the same thing and offer to helpaway at all the reasons why the prospect’s your prospect has listed. An excellent aid to him or her eliminate any problems that mightobjection should not veto the sale. Such correctly understanding all conditions is to prohibit getting what they want.tactics from a salesperson are rude, list them and read them off to your prospect.inconsiderate of the prospect’s desires and Restate each in your own words and ask the Abraham Lincoln probably did this better thaninsulting to their intelligence; they are a prospect if they believe you truly understand anyone in history, as both a lawyer and amajor diversion from customer-focus. what he or she is feeling. statesman. As a lawyer, he would sit and listen carefully to everything his opponent said.Most of the conditions brought up by the To begin moving toward negotiations, you Then he would slowly rise and address theprospect are merely smokescreens to cover might say, “Let me see if I understand what jury. He then began telling the panel howup deeper feelings of uncertainty. You cannot you’ve told me. You feel uncertain that you brilliant his opponent was, what a fine personnegotiate with a smokescreen when you can handle the timing of an expenditure of he was, and how he had brought out somesatisfy one condition, the prospect will raise this size right now, and that you would prefer very valid points for the jurors to consider.another You must answer the deeper a modified implementation schedule. Is thatquestion, settle the deeper uncertainties. Here right?” It is important that you clearly “However,” he would gently add, “there areis where your intuitive insight will tell you understand what the prospect feels. other facts that need to be considered beforethat you need to return to the probing for you make a decision?” Then he wouldyour prospects’ deepest needs. Equally important is ensuring that the skillfully list all the reasons the jury should prospect also understands what he or she decide the case in his client’s favor. JurorsProbing again is the only way you can get all feels. For example, you may surmise that a who sat before Mr. Lincoln have said they feltthe conditions on the negotiating table so you prospect is feeling, “We can’t afford this,” old Abe was just helping them to reach ancan deal with them. Ask questions such as, while what they are actually feeling may be, honest verdict. That was precisely his“Is that the only reason you’d be hesitant to “We can’t justify spending that much money approach. He made them feel as if they werego ahead?” or “If I could show how to solve for such an item to our boss.” The only way on the same side of the issue because hethat problem, would you be ready to go you can reach that kind of understanding is stressed that the prime issue for them both wasahead?” Pursuing this line of questioning will through dialogue. There is a big difference to reach an honest verdict.eventually bring all the conditions out into between those two positions. Stay with thethe open. dialogue process until you are confident that The Pay-Off you and the prospect agree on what the statedDo not attempt to avoid this process. While it conditions mean. The important thing is that you both reach thismay seem as a backward step to return to stage of the sale with (1) a clear understandingprobing, it is far better to have negative Negotiation Strategy #4: of the conditions under which the prospectfeelings and thoughts come out at this stage will buy and (2) a strong trust bond betweenthan when you are trying to wrap up the sale. Offer to try to work out any problems. you and the prospect. With both of thoseBefore attempting to move on, you have to firmly established, your prospects willguarantee that you have addressed all At this point, you want to make it clearthe required conditions. Once you feel you to your prospect that both of you are sitting
51. trust in you when they see your interest lies your sales climb, you will find yourselvesin helping them get what they want. working shorter hours than ever. In short, Second, constantly test to make sure you you will come to see why I like to call have given enough evidence for each claim.Once you fully embody a needs-based value-based selling: Working Smart In a For example, if a prospect says, “Oh, Isystem, you can mobilize your entire Crazy World! know that’s true!” it is safe to move on tosalesforce, arming them, too, with To learn how to practice these ideas alone, click here. the next point. But first, make sure you get confirmation through feedback from the prospect. The Cornerstone Of Value-Based Claim Prover #2: Selling: Proving Your Claims Reinforce all claims visually. To make that task simpler for you, we have The ancient Orientals brought us that hroughout my sales career, I have developed four one-sentence aids we call familiar adage, “A picture is worth aT steadfastly maintained that personal and professional integrity are essential to Claim Provers. Here’s the first of the four: thousand words.” What that means to you is that prospects will believe and remembersuccessful selling. In today’s marketplace, Claim Prover #1: what you show them much more easily thanabsolute honesty is vital. So vital, in fact, If you can prove it, show your evidence. what you only tell them. Studies havethat here at The Brooks Group we have shown that people remember only 20consistently found that false claims cost It is important that you actively back every percent of what they hear, but 50 percent ofmore sales than they will ever gain. It is not claim you make, especially those that sound what they see and hear. Bringing alongenough for you to believe that a claim is too good to be true. simple graphic evidence will serve to:true; you must back it up with proof the each prospect, by beginning with modestthese powerful techniques. And, even as claims, keeping in mind this second pointer:prospect will accept.This concept is so central to building The successful value-based salesperson • Speed up your proof.credibility that we have turned it into frequently offers supporting data, validating • Make your claim easier to grasp andsomething I call a Convince Principle: documents and tangible evidence to prove believe. every claim made. Obviously, not every • Enable your prospects to remember itIt makes little difference what you prospect will doubt every claim you make, longerbelieve is true, unless you can prove it to unless you look like Al Capone.your prospect. Nonetheless, you can never know which We are a visually oriented society. In the prospects will doubt which claims. 21st Century, people have come to expect toOur research has shown us that a single Therefore, the safest strategy is to have have what they hear enhanced by what theyclaim, proven to a customer’s satisfaction, is proof for them all. see. From office memos embellished withworth 100 unsubstantiated claims. Yet, one the flair of desktop publishing to fast-pacedfalse claim uncovered by a prospect can do Here are a couple of pointers to help you graphics on the nightly news, high-qualitymore damage than a truckload of claims you with Claim Prover #1. visual reinforcement is a permanent part ofhave proven to them. The damage done by our lives.false claims is compounded in a tight, niche First, the more dramatic and remarkable themarket because such news will travel fast claim, the more proof it usually requires. If As powerful as visual aids are, there is nowith today’s instant communications. you claim your gadget can reduce some substitute for hands-on experience. The corporate expense by twenty percent, you study about retention that I cited earlier, alsoBe certain you can back every claim you had better plan to show a lot of evidence to showed that people remember 90 percent ofmake with irrefutable facts. back it up. At first, be cautious with what they hear and apply!
52. Claim Prover #3: same way. Instead, you will make your value Word-of-mouth advertising has a highLet prospects experience it themselves. statements when you show your prospects how credibility level among buyers for one your product or service benefits them. simple reason: the claim is made byAnother time-proven adage is, “The proof of someone who will not profit from theirthe pudding is in the eating.” If you claim that Bring Your Own Witnesses buying decision.your product is easy to carry, let the personpick it up and carry it around. If you claim The second element of Convincing your Never before has this word-of-mouth beenyour product is simple and easy to use, let prospects consists of enhancing your evidence more important than in today’s highlyclients use it themselves to experience just with the backing of testimony from witnesses. niched, volatile markets. Since there is lesshow simple and easy it is. What do the courts view as the most room for error, third party testimony has compelling evidence in a trial? You guessed it- become a significant tool that buyers use toThe hands-on evidence concept can be a an eyewitness! What is the strongest theme in reduce their risks. Understanding this willtough assignment with some products or advertising? Word-of-mouth! help you prepare in advance to satisfy theirservices (such as life insurance) and with demands the instant they ask.some types of selling (especiallytelemarketing). That is one reason so manycompanies make “free, trial offers.” Still, no Bring Your Ownmatter how tough it is, every bit of creativeeffort you put into helping people experience Witnessesfor themselves the claims you make will berichly rewarded by increased credibility.Claim Prover #4:Repeat important claims and proofs again W hat do the courts view as the most compelling evidence in a trial? You guessed it an eyewitness! What is the An important corollary of this principle is never to make a claim for yourself or your product that you can get someone else toand again. strongest theme in advertising! Word-of- make for you. mouth! Word-of-mouth advertising has a highHave you ever wondered why major credibility level among buyers for one simple The eyewitness concept will never work asadvertisers keep repeating the same reason: the claim is made by someone who an endorsement for your products or servicescommercials over and over? A logical answer will not profit from their buying decision. if you merely try to turn it into your ownmight be that they cost so much to produce. word-of-mouth advertising. Telling aYet, a typical advertiser will spend more Never before has this word-of-mouth been prospect, “Why, just last week I was visitingmoney on air time to run a commercial just more important than in today’s highly niched, one of my biggest buyers of our latest superonce than it spends on actual production. volatile markets. Since there is less room for deluxe software package and they went on error, third party testimony has become a and on about how it improved efficiency inCompanies run the same commercials significant tool that buyers use to reduce their their department and increased profitsrepeatedly ad infinitum (sometimes ad risks. We have turned these truisms about enough to earn bonuses for everyone.” Realnauseum) because studies show it is the best eyewitnesses and word-of-mouth advertising word-of-mouth advertising flows aroundway to get people to believe them, remember into a principle of value-based selling: you and does not involve your mouth! So,them, and act upon them. When you are what can you do to corral those glowingselling, the more often you repeat something, Convince Principle #2: things every customer tells you? We havethe better your chances of having it accepted Prospects expect salespeople to make claims developed four powerful techniques, entitledand remembered. Your equivalent of for what they are selling, but they are “Witness Pointers,” that show you how torepeating commercials is to repeat the impressed when someone else makes or bring your own witnesses to boost yourstatements that you know to represent endorses those claims. sales.value to your prospects. Unlike television ads,however, you will not repeat it exactly the
53. Here is a creative example of getting others you would appreciate an opportunity to want you to use it that way and they find outto speak for you: mention them as a satisfied customer. At that later you did, you might lose that valued point, many of them will volunteer customer. Even when they understand howA major corporation where we consulted immediately to write a letter. you will use their letter, reassure them thatwas holding a roll-out of a new product and you will use their sign of good will withthe previous model had been notorious for It is highly likely that you’ll get a positive discretion and integrity.its poor reliability. They had made response because in today’s tightly-nichedsignificant improvements in their new markets many, if not most, of the major Witness Pointer #2:model that they knew would correct the players know the others in their focused Carefully select the endorsements you useshortcomings, but they still had a serious market. Most people will see a benefit in with each prospect.image problem to overcome. They knew having their name circulated among othersvery well that their low credibility would in their own market. We all are imitators. We imitate the peoplenot allow their salesforce to make we respect and admire, and sometimes thoseunfounded claims about the new If they agree to allow you to use their name whom we wish to impress. This suppositionimprovements. but do not volunteer to write a letter, then can be turned into a powerful buying simply make a courteous request. Very few motivation, one that has worked on youTheir clever solution was to make before will turn you down if you have successfully many times. Have you ever tried a newand after videos in which their sales built a solid trust bond, and even then it is restaurant, store or product or seen a moviedistributors talked openly about the usually just for personal or professional because a friend recommended it? Of courseproblems of the old model. Then they reasons. Most customers will feel flattered you have.showed the distributors the new model and that you believe a letter from them will havetaped their discussion of the improved significance. Through our research, we have uncovered amodel in which the distributors raved about gem of a sales motivator for our car dealerthe great improvements. This showed, using When a customer has agreed to write an clients. Naturally, all customer-focused salesother people’s words, how much better the endorsement letter, you should offer to professionals want to find out why thenew product was. return a few days later to pick it up prospect is out looking at cars. One of the personally. You can say you would like to most frequent responses their prospects giveIt’s important to show concrete evidence save them the trouble of mailing it, but you for buying a new car is: “My neighbor (orrather than tout your own advertising have a much higher purpose than that. co-worker or friend) bought a new car, and Iclaims. started thinking maybe it was time I looked First, your return subtly places a deadline into replacing mine.” This response often isWitness Pointer #1: that will help get the letter written as truly rooted in that old idea of “keeping upTry to get a written endorsement from promised. Further, it enables you to see the with the Joneses.” If you get a similarevery customer. customer again and thank them personally. answer, you have a perfect application Moreover, if you have truly built value for technique; just dig up every “Jones” you canThe best way to get endorsements is to ask your customer, those second trips around think of who has your product. The benefitfor them it is that simple! Yet you would be often produce leads on other prospects that you will deliver is that your prospect will notsurprised at how many salespeople either your customer wants to help by sending have to lust after “the Joneses” new car anyneglect it or are apprehensive about asking. them your highly-respected talents! more because you will sell them a betterTo make you more comfortable when model.asking, consider the following technique. A note of caution: Make absolutely certain that your satisfied customers understand you The more recognizable a name is, the moreRemind your customers that their name is plan to use their letter as a promotional convincing it will be to your prospect. Inwidely respected in the business and that device. If they do not other words, if you can do
54. better than “the Joneses,” then make it specific. endorsement. The best impression can be made a highly convincing piece of evidence.Handing a prospect an endorsement from a by maintaining them in a separate binderrespected golfing or bridge partner, an worthy of their value. We want to distinguish this practice as vastlyesteemed business associate or a friend can be a different from the old high-pressure tactic ofmarketing gold mine. Third, show them as if you feel you are giving discounts or premiums to customers granting the prospect a special privilege to see who furnish you with leads or set upIf you cannot find an endorsement from them. If, for example, you carefully present appointments for you. Sophisticated buyers insomeone the prospect knows, then think of each one across a table to your prospect, you today’s crowded marketplace will react veryyour satisfied customers to whom the prospect create several significant advantages: negatively to that sort of tactic. It leavescan most closely relate. You might choose customers feeling like one of your employeesendorsements from people of similar ages, with • You allow your client time to read them, because you have offered them a payment forsimilar interests, and similar social status. Even which assures them you have nothing to work performed. It also tells them very clearlyin giant, multi-national corporations an hide. that there was more bargaining room in yourendorsement from an individual unknown to • You show respect both for this prospect and final price; they could have struck a betteryour prospect can still establish a link if the the customer who gave you the deal. Having such a reputation can quickly ruinprospect at least respects the company which endorsement. your sales effectiveness in a highlythe endorsee represents. • You exhibit a good reason for the prospect competitive niche market. to give you an endorsement when you askWe will finish the discussion of this pointer by later because your actions will demonstrate Here is an illustration from the actualtying it back into the first one: “Try to Get a the careful consideration their letter will get. experience of a furniture rep who works inWritten Endorsement From Every Customer?” North Carolina, near the headquarters of TheThe more endorsements you have in your file, People who give you endorsements show a Brooks Group:the more likely you will be to present an great deal of trust, and prospects watch theendorsement that carries weight with your respect you give your customers. Repeatedly, This particular rep, I will call her Sheryl, hasfuture prospects. we have proven that prospects remember small developed an extensive, mutual sharing things like how you handle endorsement network among the furniture retailers who buyWITNESS POINTER #3: letters, because it relates to how you made from her. When a store gets a large responseTreat endorsements with dignity and respect from an ad or sale on her products, she them feel more than what you said. And they will always remember how you made them contacts that store’s manager. She then ravesAn endorsement letter is worth many times its feel. about the dynamite ad she just saw and asksweight in pure gold— so treat it with dignity the manager for permission to share the adand respect. Here are several specific ways you For your own benefit, you should file the with other retailers in her territory, promisingcan do that: letters in a cross-referenced system keyed by that none will be in his town. Since Sheryl is industry topic of the endorsement and the level well-known for her network of winning ads,First, only speak of the customers who have of the endorsing executive. store managers are glad to cooperate, knowingendorsed you as if you believe they are the they will be on the inside track to get the bestgreatest people in the world. Remember that, in Witness Pointer #4: ads from other stores.your world, they are. Try to involve satisfied customers with prospects.Second, protect your endorsements. You Sometimes you can get a prospect to make Sheryl then takes that ad to other stores,have to carry them in plastic sleeves or file an appointment for you with a friend, suggesting they run a similar sale—folders to keep them looking fresh and new. neighbor or associate. If so, the appointment featuring her products, of course. “And ifNever present a dog-eared or soiled itself becomes you have any