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.

 

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.

 

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).

 

Forget Closing The Deal | Get The Appointment!

Forget Closing The Deal | Get The Appointment!

Salespeople who are less than successful in securing appointments are sometimes told by others, “It’s not you; we’re just in a bad economy.”  My contention is that maybe it is you.  Think about it a minute:  When you get a real person on the other end of the phone line in place of a voice recorder, what are you actually saying and in what order?

There rarely is a sale without a face-to-face encounter with the prospect. Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about what salespeople can do to improve their sales performance.  Let’s start by looking at securing the infamous sales appointment.  If you’re hearing your prospects say something to the effect, “I’m not ordering” or “I’m perfectly happy with my current supplier”, take it personally!

Salespeople who are less than successful in securing appointments are sometimes told by others, “It’s not you; we’re just in a bad economy.”  My contention is that maybe it is you.  Think about it a minute:  When you get a real person on the other end of the phone line in place of a voice recorder, what are you actually saying and in what order?

After introducing yourself and your company, are you immediately launching into a litany of reasons why your product or service is just what the prospect needs?  Are you so thankful to have a live person on the other end of the phone that regardless of the prospect’s resistance you’re going to get an appointment?  If so, beware:  You may already be perceived as a person who cares more about yourself than you do about your prospect.

The real question is, “Do you have a plan or a telephone script that works?”  You may know what your goal is (to get the appointment) but if you don’t have a clue how to go about increasing your chances for arranging a face-to-face meeting, why pick up the phone?

Most salespeople who are in it for the long haul and who love the thrill of the hunt as much as the victory of closing the deal know exactly what they’re doing right.  They aren’t randomly trying this approach or that until something sticks to the wall.  They’ve already been through the heartaches and have learned to not only avoid them but to predict them.  They have a plan.

Here are some solid ways in which to increase your appointment-closing ratios:

Always, always, always ask if the person you’re speaking with has a moment to talk with you. If not, ask when is a better time for you to call back. I’ve often heard salespeople say they don’t want to ask this question for fear of being told not to call back at all! If you follow this line of thinking, ask yourself, “Am I entrapping my prospect into talking or meeting with me?” If so, you may once again have your own agenda in mind.

Always state the purpose for your call. Never forget that initially your goal is to gather information and build rapport. You want to see if what you offer might be of interest or benefit to the prospect, from the prospect’s perspective, not yours. Notice that I didn’t mention selling ANYTHING! You’re not making a sales pitch. You simply want to find out if what has worked for your clients might similarly work for your prospect.

Ask only 3-4 questions that may lead you to a problem or challenge the prospect may be experiencing. Remember that your immediate goal is to LEARN! You may discover during this mini-telephone assessment phase that this particular prospect is truly not a good target prospect for you, in which case you can send off some literature and save everybody a lot of time.

Be sure to indicate a benefit to the prospect if the two of you decide to meet face to face. For example, if you’ve learned in conversation that your prospect is overloaded with work, time strapped, having to deal with employees who have morale issues, or is simply tired, think of ways to take him or her out of pain that ties in with your product or service.

Ask for the appointment to see if there might be a mutual fit between your companies—period! When prospects aren’t threatened by a salesperson, they’re more likely to be open for a visit. By gaining control over the sales process they feel empowered to decide whether or not to work with you. You’ve given them permission to say, “No”. The truth is you’re not sure yourself at this point that you can meet their expectations, so why pretend you are?

Try to match the prospect’s communication style at every turn. If the prospect speaks rapidly and you don’t, pick up your pace a bit. If the prospect appears to be detail oriented, know your product or service well to cover their questions. If the prospect has a sense of humor, relax and show your humorous side. If, however, your prospect is a no-nonsense person, get to the point quickly.

So the next time you think you’re not getting appointments because of a poor economy or because of your competitors’ margin-shrinking mentalities, think again. You have within your power the ability to build rapport with anyone you encounter. Take the time to understand where your prospects or customers are coming from–then proceed with caution. There’s rarely a sale made that isn’t preceded by an appointment.

Make Me Feel Important! Winning Friends and Influencing Others

Make Me Feel Important! Winning Friends and Influencing Others

Last week I overheard three businessmen in a New York restaurant try to out-perform each other with stories of their latest victories. It was painful to watch… I can only imagine how small everyone in that conversation must have felt. No one was listening, no one really cared about their dining companions and no one expressed any interest in anything but themselves. Can you imagine sitting next to one of those guys on a long flight?

Greetings from 33,000 feet somewhere over western Virginia! I’m writing from seat 21D as I travel to Williamsburg for a program tomorrow. I’ve decided to preempt the originally planned article this month because I’ve just watched one of life’s great lessons play out before me.

A lot of people don’t enjoy air travel. The lines, congestion and delays are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m on a plane almost every week, so I’m no stranger to these biases.

But today was different. Today I had a great flight.

It wasn’t great because I got upgraded to first class, because I didn’t. It wasn’t great because the plane left on time, because it didn’t. It wasn’t great because of the friendly service, because the flight attendants still had an attitude.

Today was different because I got to watch the person sitting across the aisle put on a clinic in making others feel important—a valuable skill that I wished more people possessed. Suddenly I’m surrounded by passengers who are enjoying being trapped in a small aluminum tube as it hurls through space. How in the world is that possible?

Think about the last time you made a focused effort making someone else feel important. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Although the concept sounds simple, many of us can’t get past the temptation of making ourselves feel important. You see it all the time.

Last week I overheard three businessmen in a New York restaurant try to out-perform each other with stories of their latest victories. It was painful to watch… I can only imagine how small everyone in that conversation must have felt. No one was listening, no one really cared about their dining companions and no one expressed any interest in anything but themselves. Can you imagine sitting next to one of those guys on a long flight?

All of us enjoy those rare moments when others make us feel important. It is one of our deepest and most universal human desires. I once read that everyone has an imaginary tattoo across their forehead that reads M.M.F.I.  It is there to remind others that we want to feel important (Make Me Feel Important). We all want that feeling and will gravitate towards those who make us feel that way.

So what does it take to help others shine? Here are three practical and powerful ideas to help change your focus, and maybe even change your life.

Ask great questions

Focus your energy on being interested, not interesting. Talking about the weather, sports or last night’s news is polite, but it won’t make others feel important. Develop three great open-ended questions that encourage others to share some of their story with you.

Listen to learn

Do you actively listen to others, or do you just listen for the opportunity to interrupt and hijack the conversation? One of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People tells us that we should seek first to understand. Try it and watch what happens to the depth of your conversations.

Remember what Mom taught you

Being polite and courteous never goes out of style. Helping someone stow their overhead bag makes them feel good, makes you feel good and makes everyone watching feel good. You may not be on a plane today, but I’ll bet you can still find an opportunity to serve someone else in a similar way.

The 4 Obstacles to Closing Sales

Did you know that there are 4 common obstacles that salespeople face when closing sales? There are several other reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult, but here are a few that are most common.Fear of Failure…There are several other reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult. First and foremost is the fear of failure experienced by the prospect. Because of negative buying experiences in the past, over which you could have no control, prospects are conditioned to be suspicious, skeptical and wary of salespeople and sales approaches. They may like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. They are afraid of making a mistake. They are afraid of paying too much and finding it for sale cheaper somewhere else.Fear of Criticism…They are afraid of being criticized by others for making the wrong buying decision. They are afraid of buying an inappropriate product and finding out later that they should have purchased something else. This fear of failure, of making a mistake in buying your product, is the major reason why people object, hesitate and procrastinate on the buying decision.Fear of Rejection…The second major obstacle to selling is the fear of rejection, of criticism and disapproval experienced by the salesperson. You work long and hard to prospect and cultivate a prospective buyer and you are very reluctant to say anything that might cause the prospect to tune you out and turn you off. You have a lot invested in each prospect and if you are not careful, you will find yourself being wishy-washy at the end of the sale, rather than risking incurring the displeasure of the prospect by your asking for a firm decision.Customers Are Busy…The third reason why the end of the sale is difficult is that customers are busy and preoccupied. It isn’t that they are not interested in enjoying the benefits of your product. It’s just that they are overwhelmed with work and they find it difficult to make sufficient time available to think through your recommendations and make a buying decision. And the better they are as a prospect, the busier they tend to be. This is why you need to maintain momentum throughout the sales process and gently push it to a conclusion at the appropriate time.Inertia is Hard to Break…The factor of inertia is the fourth reason that can also cause the sales process to come to a halt without a resolution. Customers are lazy and often quite comfortable doing what they are currently doing. Your product or service may require that they make exceptional efforts to accommodate the change or a new way of doing things. They perhaps recognize that they would be better off with your product, but the trouble and expense of installing it hardly seems to make it worth the effort. They see no pressing need or urgency to stop doing what they are doing and start doing something else with what you are selling.Everyone Buys at the Same Time…The good news is that everybody you meet has bought and will buy, new products and services from someone, at some time. If they didn’t buy from you, they will from someone else. You must find the way to overcome the natural physical and psychological obstacles to buying and then hone your skills so that you are capable of selling to almost any qualified prospect you speak to.