Closing

Closing

“People don’t like to be sold. But they love to buy”

This quote from Jeffrey Gitomer is so true. He goes on to say that people don’t go around saying:

“I got sold a car,” they say, “We bought a car.”

You don’t say, “We got sold a house,” you say, “We bought a house.”

So what happens if the prospect after your leave the presentation is saying

” I was sold that…………” ? This can lead to a change of mind, and they may decide not to go ahead.

Some Sales Professionals focus too much on Closing the sale. They feel they have to, it’s the only way to get the deal.

“I am trying to close them but they will not give me a yes today”

Those days are gone.

“If I could would you?” or “If you could afford it would you join today?” are sharp replies that can sometime scare your prospects.

The top Sales Professionals do not close, they let the prospect buy. Yet really they are closing all the time. CONFUSED? Very simply, the sales presentation is so smooth, and has such a flow, that the prospects do not even notice any form of closing, because the Sales Professional is leading them along the presentation, selling to them, but making them feel like they are buying. You can not miss out simple things, like alternative closes to test the strength of how you are doing,or tie downs. A lot of alternative closes are done to get prospects to start talking naturally like they own. This is giving ownership and when you DO ask for the Sale TODAY they expect it, it’s a natural part of the process.

Closing is a part of sales. You can buy hundreds of books on how to close a sale, and get a full list of different techniques that you can use. Anyone can repeat a close to a client, but it is not going to guarantee you the deal. Nothing can replace the YOU, the friendly people’s person that has earnt their trust. This is the YOU that can speak to your prospects like you are asking your best friend questions.

Be a top Sales Professional, don’t be a closer, let your prospects buy from you. If your prospects feel they have bought, they are happy. If they feel they were sold, they will think of reasons not to go ahead………FACT!

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you found it helpful, Please share with your fellow Sales Professionals and if you liked it leave a comment.

 

Why are People Saying Cold Calling is Dead?

Recently, there has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about the death of cold calls. While there are those who defend cold calls and say they still work just fine, there are plenty of interesting points about why many believe this practice is ineffective and outdated.

It is hard to believe that less than two decades ago, cellphones were still a “newfangled idea.” Not only have many people given up land-lines for cellphones, but more people are primarily using their cellphones for texting or getting online instead of making calls.

In addition to this change in the way many people interact with phones, some of the other reasons that have been linked to “cold calling’s death” include:

Customers Have Higher Expectations: Because of its huge increase over the last decade, most customers are fed up with automated telephone support. The whole reason they pick up a phone is to speak with a real person. This leads to them feeling very frustrated when all they get is a system that only provides a limited number of choices.

Since more customers are getting fed up with this lack of support, they’re not only looking for other options, but are very hesitant to respond to any inquiries that seem automated. If they receive calls that are automated or sound scripted, they’re quite likely to hang up their phone within a matter of seconds.

Has Gotten Expensive: In the past, companies could rely on cold calling as a cost effective way to bring in new leads.

However, research from <a href=”http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5587/Survey-Inbound-Marketing-Cost-Per-Lead-Is-60-Lower-Than-Outbound.aspx”>Hubspot</a> has found that leads obtained through inbound marketing methods like SEO and social media cost 60% less than those acquired through outbound marketing techniques like cold calling.

People Still Want to Talk (Just Through Different Channels): There’s no denying that cold calling has helped build many successful businesses. The reason this was possible is because businesses used the phone to connect with customers who wanted to talk.

While technology has changed significantly over the last two decades, this doesn’t mean human nature has seen a major shift. People still want to talk and connect with each other. However, instead of doing it on the phone, they want to do it online.

This is why middle-aged women spend hours on Facebook and there are more senior citizens than ever using different online chat tools. People care about connections, but they want more control and the ability to have conversations on their own terms.

Because people still want to talk when it’s done through the right channel, posts that declare cold calling is dead state that salespeople don’t need to panic. Instead, they simply need to take their skills for communicating with people and start using them in conjunction with online tools.

Do you think cold calling is dead?

 

How to Close a Sale

The most important step in the sales process is also one of the most neglected. I’m talking about the close, of course. Every salesperson should attempt to close every sale with no exceptions. If a prospect seems unreceptive you can use a softer close, while an eager prospect is a good candidate for a harder close.

Unfortunately it’s quite common for salespeople to panic and blurt out “Would you like to think it over?” or other such sale-killing statement. Few people will buy a product if the salesperson recommends he think about it first. After all, the prospect reasons, if even the guy selling the product doesn’t think I should buy it right now, I should definitely wait.

So how do you close a sale? There are at least as many closing techniques as there are salespeople. It’s a good idea to practice several different closes so that you can match the close to the prospect.

Basic Closes

These are fairly simple to implement and will work on a wide range of prospects. If you presented the product well and responded to the prospect’s objections, the close follows naturally.

Intermediate Closes

Once you’ve mastered the basic art of closing a sale, it’s time to review some intermediate-level strategies. These closes aren’t necessarily more difficult than the basic closing strategies, but they tend to be more complex.

Advanced Closes

These closes are a bit trickier to apply than the basic or intermediate closes. They require more setup time or a willingness to push the prospect a little harder. But when used wisely, they can seal the deal with prospects who otherwise wouldn’t buy from you.

 

Find Your Hidden Wealth

Find Your Hidden Wealth

All businesses are different. Each business should require their leaders to conduct a concerted effort of introspection and egoless honesty to determine what their hidden wealth may be. One way to begin is to ask deeper and better questions about your business than you ever have before. What is the story of your dealership? How is that unique and more importantly, how does that benefit the customer?

What is hidden wealth? Hidden wealth is an unused, dormant or under utilized part of your business that contains great value. All businesses have at least one hidden wealth. Even the best businesses in the world contain hidden wealth. The key is to determine your hidden wealth and begin to mine the potential gold that lies therein.

All businesses are different. Each business should require their leaders to conduct a concerted effort of introspection and egoless honesty to determine what their hidden wealth may be. One way to begin is to ask deeper and better questions about your business than you ever have before. What is the story of your dealership? How is that unique and more importantly, how does that benefit the customer?

Begin a journey to determine what your business does best. What does your business do better than anyone else? Then ask yourself these questions about that one thing, “How”, “Why” and how can I prove it to my customers in a way that benefits and motivates them? Once you determine the one thing that you do better than anyone else, then ask your customers why they think you do it best? See if what you feel and they feel are the same. If your business does something great but your customers don’t know, it won’t matter. If you customers don’t hold the same value in what you think you do great, it won’t matter. Better questions lead to better answers and better businesses.

Ask yourself, what do you have that others don’t have? What do you have that is better than what others may have? Is your sales staff better? Is your service better? Is your location better? Is your inventory better? Is your pricing structure better? Is your process quicker? Is your facility better? When you determine what you have that’s better, you must ask yourself, why is that true?

 

You must also ask yourself, how can I explain what we do and how it’s better in very specific terms that the customer cares about? You can’t say you have a large inventory. It doesn’t mean anything. But you can say you have 500 vehicles worth ten million dollars in inventory and that no one comes close to your selection and because of that it takes the hassle out of shopping. What ever you decide is your strong point, ask yourself this question, “Who cares?” If you can’t tell your customer in a way that benefits them, they won’t care.

 

Some dealerships have a large database of untapped business. Some dealerships have a great location with many possible synergies with other local businesses that could be explored. Many dealerships have community relationships that could be utilized. Many dealerships have talented but untrained people. Many dealerships are either sending the wrong or mixed message to the market or sending a good message to the wrong market or utilizing either the wrong medium or not enough mediums to reach their market.

 

Each dealership has assets that contain vast riches if they can be explored and tapped.

 

Top 5 Salespeople of all time

John H. Patterson

The founder and CEO of the National Cash Register Co. was known to be a stern control freak. He was also the father of modern sales training. He was among the first entrepreneurs to organize sales training programs and retreats. His company provides salespeople with scripts, and encouraged them to view the sales cycle as a four-stage process that identified the key milestones as the initial approach, the proposition, the product demonstration, and closing the deal.

David Ogilvy

The legendary advertising executive who created iconic campaigns for Hathaway, Dove, Schweppes, and Rolls-Royce began his career in sales, moving cooking stoves door to door. He was so successful the company he worked for asked him to write an instruction manual that it then distributed to other members of its sales force. Filled with timeless advice, it became a cult classic. Among the advice: “The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted.”

Mary Kay Ash

A successful salesperson in Dallas, Ash quit her job in 1963 because, she said, a man whom she had trained was promoted above her at twice the salary. She planned to write a book, but her notes became instead a business plan for a beauty and cosmetics company that relied on women to sell merchandise to their friends and acquaintances through direct sales (otherwise known as multi-level marketing). She also pioneered the use of sales incentives, turning her company’s signature pink Cadillacs into a sign of women’s economic self sufficiency.

Dale Carnegie

The son of a hardscrabble Missouri farmer, Carnegie began his career selling products and correspondence courses to ranchers. He eventually landed in New York City, where he began to offer a series of public speaking classes that were frequented by many budding salespeople. His landmark book How to Win Friends and Influence People instructs readers to become more effective communicators who focus on fostering healthy team dynamics. Carnegie was also ahead of his time in exhorting his followers to pursue work-life balance.

Social Selling: The Evolution of a Salesperson

What is social selling?

Social Selling is the use of social media platforms to listen, relate, engage and identify opportunities for engagement at the right time.

A social seller is someone who demonstrates the ability to blend digital technology, innovative web and social media to increase reach, depth, leads and expedite the sales cycle.

Why is Social Selling important?
The average company can access twenty times more information about you and your competition than they could five years ago. Salespeople today are at a huge disadvantage, if the statistics are right, customers are not interested in picking up the phone until after they have scoped solutions. How can the salesperson reach them early and then keep their attention?

Isn’t this Social Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is the use of social networks to create awareness and broadcast a brand message. Social Selling leverages social networks to build relationships. A marketing team will handle a brand account versus a salesperson will manage an individual personal account to create engagement.

Social Selling vs Traditional Selling
The good news is that Social Selling is not a break from traditional selling practices. In fact, the use of ABC (Always Be Closing) is now ABC (Always Be Connecting). Social Sellers do not and should not abandon email, phone or face to face methods. In fact, a deliberate use of social media will make these traditional methods far more productive. The customer becomes a warm contact, so if anything Social Selling will eliminate the wasteful parts of a sales process such as cold calling.

I said earlier that the sales people of today are at a disadvantage, so let me quickly mention the Social Buyer. The huge amount of online data gives the seller an opportunity to create value for the customers. Buyers may well be incredibly informed, but they are desperate to shorten their purchasing cycles. The more data they have to process and the more stakeholders they must consult, the longer it takes for them to make a buying decision. If salespeople could deliver insights to buyers at the right times, they could bring purchasing times down and then everybody is happy.

The Evolution of a Salesperson
We as a species are social creatures; we always have been, and that will not change. Social media has exploded into this era because of technology, the fastest adoption of technology in human history in fact. Your customers being on a social platform is just the tip of the iceberg. Smart devices are allowing us to be social 24/7. As younger generations step up the career ladder and become your customer are you ready to communicate directly into their pockets. Social Selling is an evolutionary step forward.

I will leave you with this last question:

Will the traditional 9-5 sales role be replaced with a 24/7 seller?…. in 2016 it has already…

People Buy From People

People Buy From People

101 Shares .A catalyst is an agent of change. There is not a better way to describe sales people. When your customer begins to shop, they are beginning a process of change. If you are the sales person who makes the sale, it will usually be because you were better at assisting the customer to make that change.

As a sales professional, it can be an eye-opening experience when you go shopping for yourself. Weaknesses in other’s presentations can teach us lessons about how to strengthen our own. One common theme you might notice is that many people don’t seem to recognize that people don’t buy products or services. People buy from people.

People buy solutions to perceived or real problems. Good sales people assist buyers in solving their problems through emotions, visual imagery, and proper logic and people skills. The one component of sales that makes everything come together is people skills. You may be great at product knowledge, presentation, demonstrations or closing skills, but none of those things will matter if you don’t create a relationship with your customer.

A catalyst is an agent of change. There is not a better way to describe sales people. When your customer begins to shop, they are beginning a process of change. If you are the sales person who makes the sale, it will usually be because you were better at assisting the customer to make that change. Let’s look at some ways to make those changes happen in a positive way that allows your customer to buy. Take notice of the phrase “allows your customer to buy,” rather than “you selling the customer.”

Imagine, for example, going to shop for a hot tub. You go to a nationally known store that has obviously conducted sales training for their sales representatives. The sales person has a very specific sales presentation. He also has considerable knowledge about his product and the competing products. The sales person is enthusiastic and energetic. In other words, he has a lot of good things going for him.

However, the sales person has a fatal flaw in his approach that probably costs him lots of business. The sales person tries very hard to be a sales person but he misses being just a person by a mile. What’s the difference?

The sales person begins to immediately show you the hot tubs and begins his process without taking the time to ask any questions and build a rapport that creates trust. When someone starts off a sales process in this manner, they are beginning what could be called the “Spray and Pray Method of Selling.” They spray out a presentation and pray that the customer gets excited about something in their verbal barrage about the product. They have no idea what that something might be.

This method lacks specifics, empathy, warmth, personalization, communication and listening skills, just to name a few problems. Imagine a different approach. A sales approach where the salesperson would have asked the some of the following questions:

• “Who will be primarily using the hot tub?”

• “How many people will usually use it at a time?”

• “Will it be used for recreational purposes, therapeutic or both?”

• “Will kids be using the hot tub?”

• “Do you currently have or have you had a hot tub in the past?”

• “If so, what did you like and dislike?”

• “Where will the hot tub be located?”

• “What kind of foundation will it be on?”

• “Will the area that the hot tub will be located at be enclosed or open?”

• “What is the most important thing to you about a hot tub?”

• “How long have you been shopping for a hot tub?”

• “During this shopping process, what has been the No. 1 thing about a hot tub or any features that has excited you the most?”

• “During your shopping process, has there been anything you may have wanted that you have not seen or anything in particular that has disappointed you?”

You can think of a ton of questions that would allow specific answers and enable the customer to experience the change they are looking for. You can use the keywords and answers the customer supplies you to laser in on what they want to accomplish, using specific examples that involve active and present-tense ownership imagery.

When you are doing these things, you are relating to your customer in an empathic and personal way that separates you from all the other sales people. Never forget that you were a person before you became a sales person, and that people buy from people.

 

Consistency and Sustainability in Selling

Consistency and Sustainability in Selling

Certainly, these are unprecedented times, but fundamentals are fundamentals.  When you stray from them, you get into trouble.  When in trouble, return to the fundamentals and return to consistent and sustainable sales success.

In today’s market place, you can survive the short term by making quick adjustments to your sales plan, pricing and market strategy.  These adjustments will be reflected in your sales pipeline and in your monthly sales results; however, what you will see in the end is that these adjustments will do little to secure consistent and predictable sales growth.   This is what you need to focus on to survive the current environment.  How do you do that?

Sales Fundamentals

Although the marketplace is sensitive to pricing, don’t automatically reduce your pricing or margins just to get a sale. Yes, this will help you today, but if you keep that client, you will have re-established your brand as the low cost provider or a price-based resource.

As difficult as it might be to maintain your pricing, I understand that you may have to sharpen your pencil in order to get a deal. Ok, then start selling additional services so that you can increase the revenue value of that client. Start focusing on average revenue per account instead of average size sale.

Focus on the client. The marketplace today certainly wants good pricing; however, they also are seeking “comfort” in a relationship. As much as we have discussed “not showing up and throwing up”, the market has changed. Prospects want assurance that your product will work; you willbe there when they need you; and that your business is sustainable. Start early by providing them information that will satisfy their need for security.

ABP = Always Be Prospecting. You need to step up your prospecting activity. If your normal mode of penetrating the market is through introductions, then you need to increase the number of meetings that you have with centers of influence. If you market yourself through networking, then do more networking.

One-time hits are valuable right now to prop up your sales and to support your financials, but understand that the one-time hit is exactly that, a one-time hit. If that hit is a $100,000 deal, then your strategy for next year needs to include how to replace that revenue event. You are better off transitioning those one-time hits into long term clients by closing the immediate deal and then entering discussions as a valued advisor.

Certainly, these are unprecedented times, but fundamentals are fundamentals.  When you stray from them, you get into trouble.  When in trouble, return to the fundamentals and return to consistent and sustainable sales success.

 

Rocks, To Do’s and Intentions

Rocks, To Do’s and Intentions

Over the years, I’ve discovered that when sales people tell me that they have prospecting on their “to do” list, what they really are saying is that they “intend” to prospect.  When sales people tell me that they are going to call a prospect and get a decision, they do call and they intend on getting a decision, but they really aren’t committed to the intention.

What have you done for yourself lately in sales? Did you move your “rocks”? Did you finish your “to do’s”? Did you do what you intended to do?  (According to Rockefeller Habits, Inc., rocks are the action items that will be most responsible for achieving your quarterly and annual goals.)

Over the years, I’ve discovered that when sales people tell me that they have prospecting on their “to do” list, what they really are saying is that they “intend” to prospect.  When sales people tell me that they are going to call a prospect and get a decision, they do call and they intend on getting a decision, but they really aren’t committed to the intention.

Finally, when sales people tell me that this is the year that they are going to self-manage to extraordinary performance, what they are really telling me is that they are going to get ready to get ready and not move any rocks that are consistent with successful selling.

As harsh as this may seem, I would ask you- Does this look or sound anything like you in the past? If so, then join me and the multitude of others who struggle with prioritizing their time so that their rocks get moved, the “to do’s” get done and the intentions get ignored.  Let me tell you that I will be the first in line this year to correct this problem, because I may be one of the biggest offenders.

Perfect example- Last Tuesday, prospecting was on my rock list.  When did I get to it?  Friday at 2:30 pm and I had success.  I scheduled three appointments and moved the rocks a little further up the hill. But what would I have done if an emergency, a real one, had shown up on Friday?  I would have put myself in a position to make the lame excuse: “I had an emergency and couldn’t get it done”.  The reality was that I put other stuff first on Tuesday and made myself vulnerable to failure on Friday.

Lesson #1 Be a slave to the schedule.  Schedule your prospecting and make sure you do it when you have it scheduled.

Lesson #2 Rocks are rocks- these are the non-negotiable objectives of your business.  When you state something as a rock, then nothing short of an emergency gets in the way.

Lessons #3  “To do” lists are, for the most part, horse pucks.  How do I know?  The stuff on the list doesn’t usually get done.  Make sure you clearly identify “to do” from intention.

Lesson #4 Intentions are just that, things you intend to do and would be nice to do and might bring you some self-satisfaction, but in reality, they have nothing to do with moving rocks.

Lesson #5 You must find a way to hold yourself to high standards of accountability.  I am holding huddles with my staff weekly and my COO and co-owner every week to make sure the rocks get moved and the “to do’s” get done.

Determine your rocks and your accountability for selling today:

My Sales Rocks:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

 

Are You Busy, Busy, Busy Doing The Wrong Things?

Are You Busy, Busy, Busy Doing The Wrong Things?

The best account managers are busy.  Average account managers are busy and below average account managers are busy.  Everybody is busy, busy, busy.

If everybody is busy, why isn’t everybody as productive as the best account managers?  Unfortunately, it’s obvious that the busy account managers who aren’t productive are busy doing the wrong things.  Since you don’t want to be one of those people, let’s review the right things to be busy doing:

1) The actions that get one closer to making a sale

2) The actions that ensure the success of a sale already made

Uh, that’s pretty much it.  Let’s examine Category #1 in a little more detail.

The other day, an account manager pointed out to me that she had sent an e-mail to a client with an interesting article attached.  The article was relevant to the customer’s business and sending it was a good idea.  Does her action fall into Category #1?

Her action should have fallen into Category #1 as she was trying to get closer to making a sale.  But, based on the content of her e-mail, I can promise you that she didn’t get closer to making a sale because she didn’t ask the customer to take any action.  Her e-mail said something like this:

“I saw this article and thought about you.”

Coincidentally, another account manager also copied me on an e-mail that he sent to a customer with an article attached.  His e-mail said something like this:

“Did you see this article (attached)?  Let’s get together and brainstorm ways to make this work for your business.  We always come up with great ideas and I am sure that we can do it again!”

Two busy account managers.  One productive account manager.

To give you some additional guidance about the difference between merely busy and productive let’s expand Category #1:

1) The actions that get one closer to making a sale

a.  Prospecting

i.  Research to identify prospects

ii.  Research to identify industry trends

iii.  Contacting prospects with valid business reasons to convince them to spend time with you.

b.  Qualifying

i.  Determining if the prospect has enough money to purchase your products through research

ii.  Determining if the prospect has enough money by meeting with them

c.  Presenting

i.  Sending presentations that ask for an investment

ii.  Delivering presentations face-to-face that ask for an investment

While this list of ways to get closer to making a sale is incomplete, one should get a better idea about why the second account manager’s activity was productive.  He was contacting a prospect and providing a valid business reason to take a meeting to discuss the client’s needs (a-iii).