Most people enter sales to succeed, each has their
own definition of what that success means.
For most organizations we can look in on the sales
and marketing activity and boil down the issues that
imped success to a few specific problems.
In this presentation we will address these problems
and offer some concrete solutions.
Prospects have more sales resistance training
than salespeople usually have in sales
Prospect response to salespeople is designed to
get as much information as possible and be in
control of the situation.
Prospects often mislead salespeople about their
intentions, how much they'll spend, who makes
decisions, when, etc.
The prospects intent is designed to turn
salespeople into unpaid consultants, lead them
on until they have all of the information they need,
and often use their “quotes” to compare with their
current salesperson or a competitor.
When prospects have what they need, they stop
taking/returning the salespersons phone calls.
Does this make prospects bad people?
Of course not.
We all use this system for dealing with salespeople...it's
almost second nature.
Why do prospects do this?
The stereotype of salespeople is not a good
image for most of us, and prospects are afraid of
being sold something they feel they don't want.
In order to protect themselves, prospects feel they
need a way to deal with salespeople.
It is an instinctive reaction to the negative
stereotype of salespeople that causes prospects
to put up a defensive wall.
So how do most salespeople deal with the prospects
system of defense?
Most play right into it.
Many don't use a systematic approach to selling.
They allow the prospect to take total control of the sales
The salesperson eagerly:
• gives their knowledge
• makes commitments without getting any in return
• wastes resources on pursuing deals that will never
• gives “quotes” to non-prospects who never buy
• misinterpret the ubiquitous "I'll think it over and get
back to you" as a future sale
How do most sales organizations contribute to
Frequently they focus on product knowledge and
overlook teaching what circumstances or
concepts products fit best with.
Companies train on the “feature” (what the
product or service does) rather that the “benefit”
(why the consumer will benefit from the purchase
of the product or service)
The solution: Train salespeople on a
systematic approach to making presentations
so they have "a track to run on."
The training should balance both the prospect
and salesperson's best interest.
Train the salesperson on the thing you want them
to do the most, in the order you want them to
do those things.
Spending too much time with prospects that will
A manager recently evaluated two of his salespeople
like this: "Gary spends too much time with non-
buyers, and gets too involved in non-productive
activities. One root cause of this behavior is that he
doesn't ask the tough questions. Amy is strong
with prospects, but both she and Gary have lost
deals because the competition asks for the business
while they give “quotes” to the prospect."
Why is this true?
Salespeople don't ask the hard questions
up-front for fear of making their prospects angry, they
are afraid they will lose something they don't have.
Most salespeople think their job is to close
Over the years sales training has emphasized,
"Don't take NO for an answer."
Salespeople are taught to be persistent...handle
stalls and objections...trial closes...always be
closing...and yes, even be manipulative.
No wonder prospects need sales resistance to
Prospects realize salespeople don't want to hear
"NO" and that when they do, they'll "hang in there"
and try to turn "NO" into "YES."
When the poor prospect really means "NO," s/he has
found the easiest way to get rid of a sales person is
to tell them, "I'll think it over, and I'll get back to you."
How many "think it over's" really turn into business?
The solution: Salespeople need tools to separate
tire-kickers from buyers.
They need an approach that discloses objections
early in the sales cycle.
They need to learn the fine art of tactfully qualifying
prospects in, not qualifying them out.
The top salespeople learn to ask the hard questions
up-front, saving precious resources for real
opportunities. "NO" is an acceptable response
from a buyer.
"Going for the NO" requires a tremendous
paradigm shift for most salespeople, but it can
take all the pressure off the sales person and
This approach allows prospects to feel in control,
this then relaxes them, and lets them buy
instead of feeling like they are being "sold."
A manager recently said, "My salespeople’s
listening skills aren't where they need to be;
someone says something and they don't find out
the real reason or intent behind the question,
which leaves the prospect feeling like my
salespeople don't understand them or their
Of course, when we sent them to the College of
Product Knowledge, filling them with technical
knowledge and then send them out to make
their quotas, we should have expected this
So what's the problem telling our story?
First, people buy for their reason, not the salespersons
reasons, not even the company's reasons.
Second, most companies' presentations sound the same
to the prospect, and when they sound the same, the
salesperson just becomes another salesperson to the
prospect, and then to the prospect, low price becomes the
determining factor in getting the business.
The solution: Asking questions is the answer.
Teach salespeople to stop regurgitating to the
prospect and start asking questions.
Prospects should do at least 70% of the talking on the
The only way this will happen is for the salesperson to
learn to ask a lot of questions.
Questions gather information.
Ask questions to find out what the prospect's "pain" is.
This is the same thing your family doctor does during an
They ask - they don't tell you anything until they have
made the proper diagnosis.
Price is never the real issue!
Salespeople focus on price because it's often the
first thing the prospect asks about.
Yet study after study confirms that quality and
services are almost always more important than
Price is never the main reason for getting and
People buy your products to either solve a
problem they have, or improve something about
their current situation or protect against future
The solution: Teach salespeople to be more
effective in asking questions and getting to real
Once they learn to do this, price will not be the
determining factor in making sales.
Product knowledge is over-emphasized and
misused. As a result, selling often becomes
nothing more than "pitching and presenting."
Most sales training focuses on product knowledge.
Studies show that 80% of training dollars spent
annually are spent on product knowledge training.
Salespeople, once filled with this product knowledge,
are eager to share this information and become a
Professional Visitor or, Unpaid Educator.
The focus then becomes totally on product, and not
on the prospects problem, which is where it belongs.
The solution: Provide training in the strategy
and tactics your sales professionals need to help
prospects clearly define their problems and co-
build solutions that fit their needs.
Product knowledge is important, but how it's used
at each phase of the buying process is the key.
Salespeople fail to get prospects to reveal
Many salespeople are uncomfortable talking
Discussing money is seen as intrusive, and
Many salespeople avoid talking about money,
until the prospect forces the issue.
This is one of the five most common
weaknesses that sales people have.
The solution: Knowing whether there is money
upfront will help the salesperson distinguish
between a prospect who is ready to solve a
problem from one who is not committed.
Comfortably talking about money is a key to
management, where resources are evaluated
based on bottom line impact.
How much the problem is costing the prospect;
in other words the amount at risk.
How much they'd be willing to invest to solve the
Without a candid discussion about money, the
salesperson is left to make certain assumptions.
And we all know what happens when we make
Salespeople fail to get firm commitments from
Salespeople are often very willing to jump at the
opportunity to do a “quote”, presentation, etc.
This approach is incredibly time-consuming and
How many “quotes” has your team/distribution
sent out over the last twelve months that resulted in
How much does it cost your team/distribution on
an annual basis to do “quotes” that go nowhere?
What are the “true” cost of doing a “quote”?
The solution: Salespeople must learn what
motivates people to buy.
They must master the skills required to help
prospects become comfortable sharing
problems, and they must learn to determine the
prospects' level of commitment to solve these
problems before they begin to offer “their”
Lack of effective and sufficient prospecting.
A quote from a manager: "They don't do enough
prospecting, even “when I use a long stick.'"
All professional salespeople will eventually be faced with
a bout of call reluctance.
You know the story - they have so much paperwork on
their desk they can't possibly find the time to prospect for
new business OR they're so busy calling on existing
customers (who incidentally aren't buying anything) there's
no way they could add any new appointments. Getting
ready to get ready. The BT club (bout to) Sound familiar?
• Over 40% of all veteran sales professionals have
experienced bouts of call reluctance severe
enough to threaten their career in sales
• And 80% of all new salespeople who fail within
their first year do so because of insufficient
The Solution: Salespeople need to develop a
realistic activity plan.
Monitor the plan weekly and implement effective
The salesperson has a strong need for approval.
It's an easy and common mistake. "I love people,
so I'll be a salesperson."
You end up with a salesperson that would rather
make "friends" with their prospects than conduct
While developing relationships are an important
part of the selling process, selling is not a place
for people to get their emotional needs met.
In fact, it's the opposite: a tough and demanding
profession, full of rejection.
People who internalize the rejection end up getting
out of the profession.
Truth is, they should never have gotten in the
Sales interactions are fundamentally different than
Successful professionals understand and accept
that the bottom line of professionally selling is:
The Solution: Evaluate your team to determine
if they have this need for approval.
Managers need to ask pre-hire screening
questions that helps to hire stronger people and
teach them a system that helps strike the
appropriate balance between developing
relationships and getting commitments.
Salespeople don't treat sales as a profession.
Professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers,
teachers, and CPAs' all have one thing in
common - they attend continuing education to
maintain and increase their proficiency.
Yet how many salespeople are continually seeking
new ways to increase their skills?
Many have the attitude, "I've been selling for years,
what more can I learn?"
The solution: Top performers in every
profession are always looking for ways to
sharpen their skills and gain the fine edge that
leads to consistent success.
Leaders need to invest in top performers and
help them grow their skills.
Ego stunts your growth so Leaders have to be
willing to set their ego aside and be willing to
grow, modeling behavior that demonstrates it
is more important to the Leader to be
effective than to be right.
We can all learn from each other. You don’t know
everything – no-body does!
Salespeople sell the way they buy
Managers train the way they sell
Hiring: Distributions, supervisors and managers
must complete, step-by-step, a formal process for
profiling, attracting, recruiting, interviewing and
hiring top performers.
Look to hire goal achievers not goal setters.
Most managers hire goal setters and are surprised
when new hires never achieve their goals.
The truth is the salesperson only had a wish list.
Ask the salesperson when interviewing or coaching to
describe goals they set and "how" they achieved the
goal. If they didn't achieve that goal then was it a goal
or was it only a wish list?
Effective recruiting and hiring is the most
important job of any manager.
No amount of training, coaching or mentoring
will make up for a poor hiring decision.
Do it right the first time.
Managing: Implement a sales management
process that emphasizes more effective recruiting,
hiring, coaching, growing, and developing agents.
Most of all quit accepting excuses for poor
performance from yourself and your team
members, raise your expectations and
implement a rigorous accountability process.
This starts with your team activity-if you are not
meeting standards. How can you expect to hold
your team members accountable?.
In management, you don't get what you want -
you only get what you expect and inspect.
Remember, you manage things - you lead
Training: CD’s, books and one -day seminars are
fine for intellectual learning or external motivation,
but if you want to be a better golfer, pianist - or a
better sales person, you must practice and
develop new skills.
Selling is a skill that can be taught, learned, and
mastered over time, where there is the
necessary motivation to learn.
Phone scripts, rebuttals and trial closes are
intended to assist in moving your management
and sales career forward or allowing you to
increase you current volume of business.
Remember these are only meant to be sales
tools, they do not work, you and your team
have to work them.
The key is to do enough of the right things,
enough of the time.
Give success time to happen-and do something
today to make it happen!
The clock starts NOW!
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