Negative Attitude Always Impacts Sales

Motivation and incentives are powerful tools that can improve performance and add to the bottom line when used effectively.


Annually, businesses spend millions on advertising to draw foot traffic into their stores.

Yet few count this traffic and use the information to measure the true performance of their sales teams. Most only count sales to reward star performers.

When businesses do count traffic, most realize that their salespeople still close business only at a rate of 15% or less.

Why? Attitude. It’s all about having a positive attitude that emanates from and is nurtured at the top through strong, fair and inclusive motivational practices.

Looking solely at units sold as a performance measure is one of the fastest ways to de-motivate sales teams and shift attitudes negatively throughout the store.

Management thinks they don’t have a very good group of salespeople or that they don’t know how to close.

Salespeople comment, “Business is bad – in this economy people have no money to spend,” or  “We have more people coming in, but they don’t really want to buy, not what we have to sell,” or even “Nothing is working; no one is selling anything – how can I make any money?”

These negative attitudes rapidly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Not only do these attitudes telegraph to customers through body language and words, but they re-enforce the importance of getting the sale no matter what.

Soon, words that kill deals before they start – no, don’t, won’t, or can’t – creep into the salespersons’ vocabulary.

For example, when Ford first introduced their newest Mustang, dealerships saw a significant increase in traffic and interest, despite the fact that most would not have the car available for several months.

Salespeople had to deal with prospects looking for the new Mustang rather than a short term purchase, and typically told prospects, “No, we don’t have it. We won’t have it for several months. We can’t tell you exactly when that will be.”

Prospects walked away without a brochure or information of any kind, and without having discussed alternatives: they left with nothing.

And, the dealership’s thousands of advertising dollars resulted in nothing. The salesperson received nothing for his or her time.

The question is, “Was an opportunity there for the customer to buy or for the salesperson to sell the customer?”

If approached from a positive attitude, the answer is always yes. Some of those prospects may have purchased other models if they had been given the opportunity.

So how does management instill and keep attitudes positive? How do they motivate every salesperson to view each individual who comes into the dealership as a prospect worth building a relationship with? Motivation and incentives.

Motivation vs. De-motivation Meetings

When management drives positive attitudes, they drive business.

Take the sales meeting. These meetings, intended to be motivational, first focus on the problems at the business such as who forgot to put the samples away, or who didn’t close the store according to procedures, or why numbers are down.

At the end of the meeting, the team is told to go out, have a great day, and sell!

Instead of calling sales meetings, hold motivational meetings. Bring bagels, cream cheese, and coffee to help get the day started.

Talk about the positive aspects of the business. Don’t single out any one individual, focus on the team.

Give everyone – not just “star performers” – tickets to the local movie theater.

These small investments set the positive tone that helps make salespeople successful.

Sales meetings must be positive events that provide the tools that help salespeople sell, make money, and set the stage for growing a positive attitude.

Motivation and incentives are powerful tools that can improve performance and add to the bottom line when used effectively.

They can be just as powerful in re-enforcing negative attitudes if improperly applied. To create a positive attitude that encourages salespeople to see every person who comes to a store as a potential commission or sale, these tools must be applied consistently and fairly across the entire sales team.

After all, if every salesperson could always sell just one more, what would it do for your business?

Refilling your Pipeline


Then there you are, it is the end of the month, end of the quarter, or heaven forbid end of the year, and you are seriously shy of your goal. What do you do? Where do you turn? You need revenue! You have bills to pay, a commission to earn. How do you find the quick sale?

Help I Need Sales Now!

Let me go on record and say that I am no advocate of letting your pipeline go dry.

So promise me first that you will not tell anyone you heard me talking about closing the quick sale and that you will keep this between you and me.

Also, promise me that you will go read the other articles here on Sales Gravy and never put yourself in this situation again. Agreed? Okay!

Okay, I will crawl down off of my high horse, and admit I get it, it happens sometimes. You get busy, you get stuck, and you get so consumed with taking care of existing business, you forget to go out and look for new business until it is too late.

Then there you are, it is the end of the month, end of the quarter, or heaven forbid end of the year, and you are seriously shy of your goal. What do you do? Where do you turn? You need revenue! You have bills to pay, a commission to earn. How do you find the quick sale?

The BIG Ones

Take a look at your existing customer base, and ask yourself how well you know them and how well you understand their needs.

Why? Because there is gold in your existing customer base, gold in the sense that there are easy sales, and easy sales that have value for your customer as well as you.

Let me ask you, do you know the BIG Ones? Do you know the big questions every salesperson should know about their customers?

  • How does their business work? What exactly do they do? 
  • What are their biggest challenges? 
  • How has this economy impacted their business? 
  • Where do they see their business in the next five to ten years? 
  • What do they see as their biggest opportunities? Take the time to make five calls this week, to any of your existing customers, and ask them these questions. Get the conversation going, and you will find enough products and services to fill your pipeline. 

Your Alternative Sales Force

Oh, we all have ’em, those five or six customers that just love us. For some reason they love us, our staff, what we do, and they believe more in our business than we do.

Save our mothers, no one thinks we hung the moon more than these customers. You need to turn that support into more than just sheer admiration.

Sit these folks down, and ask for their help. In today’s economy our advocates’ sales power is far more impactful than ours. What may take us eight to ten times to close a deal, they can do in two.

The Looking Glass

Okay, hate to tell you this, but if you have been in sales longer than one year, you have left sales on the table.

You have done the hard part: You have made the initial call, had the conversation, followed up once or twice, then given up because the prospect didn’t bite. Now, we all know most customers do not buy without at least seven to eight touches, yet we give up at two or three.

The good news is, we left sales on the table, and they are on the table just at a time when our pipeline is dry. So now is the time to pull out the looking glass, and analyze the sales calls you have made in the last year. Look closely, and choose 10 or 20 who deserve a follow-up call.

The Big Sweep

Yep, you guessed it, now it is time for the big sweep. A whole week of follow-up calls. Just let those prospects know you are getting back in touch with them, see what has changed or is new in their business, and you have a few ideas for how you can help them.

In today’s economy, if you do not learn to master follow-up, and consistently practice the BIG SWEEP, you are leaving sales consistently on the table and making sales a much harder process than it has to be.

Change Your Lifestyle

There you made it. Your pipeline is full again, and this crisis has been avoided. Now, do not rest on your laurels, get back in the game, and change your lifestyle.

An empty pipeline, combined with a big goose egg where closed sales should be, never feels good. So get that stress out of your life, follow these steps and start making sales calls every day.

Now again, I am not in any way advising you to get yourself into this pinch, but I do get it and have been there myself.

These are the strategies, ideas, and tips I use to fill my pipeline when I need a quick sale. What I love about these strategies is that they may produce quick results, but never ever at the expense of your integrity as a sales person. No matter how dry your pipeline you can never sacrifice that.

 

The Hidden Value of Gatekeepers

 


Winning over a gatekeeper can often be the major differentiator when you’re in fiercely competitive situations.
Gatekeepers. Ahhhh, my favorite. No really; they are. In high school, I used to love the challenge of winning over the ultimate gatekeepers: my dates’ mothers.I think that’s honestly where it started, but I still love the challenge of winning someone over who has been strategically placed in my path to thwart me.

During our trainings and workshops, we’re frequently asked how to deal with dreaded gatekeepers. My favorite part of being asked this question is that it’s often done so within a context of terror, as if the person is picturing Gandalf slamming his staff into the stone and yelling, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

The first thing you need to remember is that behind the scary mask, there is a human. They have feelings, respond to human influence networks, and like to feel important just like the rest of us.

The only difference is that they’re put in place to filter (and sometimes flat out stop) people like you from accessing the “boss.” Some are good at this without being mean, callous, or crotchety, but many others are harsh and seemingly unlikeable.

The second thing you need to remember: You just need to accept the fact that they’re there. I’ve found that trying tricks or tactics to “bypass the gatekeeper” may get you some surprise face time, but it’s often at the expense of the deal.

Getting “past the gatekeeper” needs to be done by embracing them and leveraging their influence over your target’s calendar. Remember, you’re talking to the person with the MOST influence over who your target talks to, meets with, and ultimately does business with.

Do you really think that a trick to bypass them will result in a meaningful relationship? No. Probably not.

The third thing you need to understand is that many executive assistants (EAs) and gatekeepers (GKs) are very influential. If they are your ally, they can help you during the sale, negotiation, and other parts of your buyer’s journey.

Winning over a gatekeeper can often be the major differentiator when you’re in fiercely competitive situations.

So, with those three things in mind, here’s what I do with gatekeepers…

Me: “Good morning, Sally. Is Buck Rogers available?”

Sally: “Is Mr. Rogers expecting your call?”

Me: “Thank you for asking. No, he is not expecting my call. That said, are you who I need to work with to try and get on his calendar?”

Sally: (coldly) “He doesn’t take unsolicited calls or meetings.”

Me: (positive tone) “I don’t blame him for that at all. I’d love to have someone that helps me spend my time where I should be spending it. Ok, so Sally, I most certainly don’t want to be a pest, and I absolutely respect that you are in charge of who he meets with. That said, would it be possible to get 15 minutes with you on your calendar to learn more about your company to see if we would even be a good fit? I know that you’re very busy, so would Thursday at 2pm work for a short call?”

Sally: “I don’t usually do that. I don’t think we’re interested.”

Me: “Sally, that’s exactly why I called. Not everyone is worth setting time aside. But, most of the clients I have today that have done business with us for years started with me working directly with the executive assistants like yourself. I assure you that I won’t bother you if we aren’t a good fit, so could you meet with me anyway? Say, Thursday at 2pm or Friday at 8am?”

Now, I clearly just made up a dialogue, and as the writer, I can make myself look as good as I would like, but this exchange has some elements that (if used properly) will help you establish fluency and success with gatekeepers.

In his mega-bestseller Sales EQ, Jeb Blount discussed the Five Most Important Questions in Sales.  Let’s look at this dialogue in the context of how people subconsciously ask and answer these questions when you interface with them.

  1. Do I like you?

    Most prospectors that call can’t rush off the phone fast enough or don’t take the time to acknowledge the gatekeeper’s role and responsibility. Acknowledging them as important increases the chances of them liking you. Also, be likable. Be positive. Be empathetic to the fact that they have to pretend to be an asshole all day to people who randomly call.

  2. Do you listen to me?

    People like to be heard, and by acknowledging them and the importance of their role, they’ll feel heard. Make sure you (truly) listen and engage them with questions based on their information. Listening is often confused for waiting for your turn to talk, so it’s paramount to make them feel heard.

  3. Do you make me feel important?

    Acknowledging the importance of their role is critical. GK’s sometimes feel like the ugly sister who always has to entertain her beautiful sister’s suitors while she’s still getting ready. Make them feel important. Sincerity. You can’t be fake. If you think about it, some of these people that are the EAs or GKs for important CEOs are really the ones in charge of the world. Keep that in mind.

  4. Do you understand me and my problems?

    Empathy is important and acknowledging that they’re busy and need to schedule appointments is a form of understanding them and their problems. Asking them for time to share problems from their point of view shows that you’re trying to sincerely understand them along with the people and the organization that they support.

  5. Do I trust and believe you?

    Can they trust that you’re sincerely wanting their time to meet and that it’s not just a tactic you’re using to “get to the boss”? Can they believe that you’re really trying to gauge whether or not they’re a good fit for you? Delivery of your message matters as much as the message itself, and some of these GKs can be shrewd; they can smell fear, weakness, and insincerity like a shark smells blood in the water.

So folks, in closing: Calm down, take a deep breath, and try to enjoy a conversation with someone that has a crappy responsibility. Remember that, just like you, they’re a person who has a job to do.

Remember that they, like everyone else, like to be valued and heard. Be a human and earn their trust and devotion.

And think of this: If you get them on your side, they’ll start gatekeeping for you and start sending your competitors packing. Allied gatekeepers can be amazing influencers when you need them, so embrace and cherish them.

PRO TIP: When you do land time with a gatekeeper, make sure you follow it up with a handwritten note thanking them for their time. It’s a lost art and a massive differentiator.

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.