The 3 Secrets of a High Performing Sales Hunter

The ability to prospect is first and foremost the most important sales skill for gaining market share and sales volume. Without the hunting skill nothing else will happen.

1-The Strong Hunter will prospect and prospect consistently making the same number of attempts to get in front of the decision maker per day, per week and per month. When the hunter makes the same number of attempts per day, over time they can then calculate how many attempts they need to get to the decision maker, to get the sale, measure the amount of sales volume gained, and then be able to adjust their attempts. The successful hunter is committed to working on developing other sales skills to close the gap between attempts made and closed business.

2- The Strong Hunter knows how to get past the gate keeper and is very resourceful in making attempts to reach the decision maker. They have the skill to deal with the gate keeper and not get trapped. The hunter knows that any attempt to have the gate keeper pass on messages or send information in advance of speaking with the decision maker is a recipe for failure.

3-The Strong Hunter has the ability to get to the decision maker. They know getting in front of the decision maker will shorten the sales cycle, which will support doing a better job of qualifying or disqualifying a business opportunity and finding out about money availability. While also discovering the real issues facing the prospect and the compelling reasons the prospect has to make a decision to buy.The strong hunter knows that calling on anyone else in the organization will lead them down a path of having to deal with gate keepers. They will be speaking with people who can only say no and not yes, or having to deal with committees and then present a questionable quote.

 

Using Affirmations

“I’m never going to be able to do this job; I’m just not smart enough.”

“Why does my boss want me to present at the trade show? I’m a terrible public speaker, and I’ll just embarrass the company.”

“I wish I could stick up for myself at work; in every meeting, I let the others walk over my ideas. I’m never going to get ahead.”

Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes on a regular basis. When we have these thoughts, our confidence, mood and outlook become negative too.

The problem with these negative thoughts is that they can be self-fulfilling. Inside our heads, we talk ourselves into believing that we’re not good enough. And, because of this, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.

This is why consciously doing the opposite – using positive affirmations – can be helpful. In this article, we’ll explore how you can use affirmations to drive positive change, both in your career, and in your life in general.

Why Use Affirmations?

Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.

While there’s limited research into the effectiveness of using affirmations in a general setting, there is evidence that the use of positive affirmations can successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.

For instance, in a study by researchers at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, people who used positive affirmations for two weeks experienced higher self esteem than at the beginning of the study.

Also, in a study published in the Journal of American College Health, researchers found that women treated with cognitive behavioral techniques, which included use of positive affirmations, experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and negative thinking. A study by researchers at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, had similar results, and came to a similar conclusion.

Of course, it’s important to realize that although some people have successfully used affirmations to overcome depression and negative thinking, the technique may not work for everyone. Some people may view affirmations as “wishful thinking,” or simply looking at the world with an unrealistic perspective. Quite a lot can depend on your mindset.

So try looking at positive affirmations this way – many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body’s physical health and condition. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook; these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way.

Note:

There has also been research that says that the higher your self-esteem, the more effective affirmations can be. This research also found that affirmations can actually have a negative effect if you have very low self-esteem. If this applies to you, work on boosting your self-esteem before you use them.

When to Use Positive Affirmations

You can use affirmations in any situation where you’d like to see a positive change take place. These might include times when you want to:

Raise your confidence before presentations or important meetings.

Control negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience.

Improve your self-esteem.

Finish projects you’ve started.

Improve your productivity.

Affirmations are often more effective when they’re paired with other positive thinking and goal-setting techniques.

For instance, affirmations work particularly well alongside visualization – instead of just picturing the change we’d like to see with visualization, we’re also saying it aloud using a positive affirmation.

Affirmations are also useful when setting personal goals. Once you’ve identified the goals you’d like to achieve in the short and long term, you can use positive affirmations to help keep yourself motivated in order to achieve them.

How to Use Affirmations

Remember – affirmations are positive statements that help you challenge and overcome negative thinking and self-sabotaging behaviors. They’re usually short, positive statements that target a specific area, behavior, or belief that you’re struggling with.

Start by thinking of the areas of your life you’d like to change. For instance, do you wish you had more patience? Or a deeper relationships with your friends or colleagues? Or do you want a more productive workday?

Write down several areas or behaviors you’d like to work on. Then, for each of these, come up with a positive, present-tense statement you can repeat to yourself several times a day.

It’s also important that your affirmation is credible, believable, and based on a realistic assessment of fact. For instance, imagine you feel bad about the level of pay you’re currently receiving. So you begin to use affirmations to raise your confidence about asking for an increase. However, it probably wouldn’t be wise to affirm to yourself that you’re going to double your salary: for most people, and most organizations, doubling what you’re earning in one go just isn’t feasible. Keep it realistic!

After all, if you can’t believe the affirmations you’re repeating to yourself, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have any impact on your life.

Tip:

Affirmations should be formed in the present tense, as if they’re already happening. This helps you believe that the statement is true right now. For instance, “I am well-prepared and well-rehearsed, and I can give a great presentation” would be a great affirmation to use if you often feel nervous speaking in front of a group.

Tip 2:

The power of affirmations also lies in their repetition. It’s useful to recite your affirmations several times a day (have them pop up in your computer diary). You also need to repeat your affirmation as soon as you start to engage in a negative thought or behavior.

Tip 3:

Affirmations are more effective when they’re thought or said with feeling. Every affirmation you choose to repeat should be a phrase that’s meaningful to you. You need to want this change to happen.

Here are some examples of positive affirmations:

I have plenty of creativity for this project.

My work will be recognized in a positive way by my boss and colleagues.

I can do this!

My opinion is respected and valued by my team.

I am successful.

I am honest in my life, and my work.

I like completing tasks and projects on time.

I’m grateful for the job I have.

I enjoy working with my team.

I’m bringing a positive attitude to work every day.

I am excellent at what I do.

I am generous.

I am happy.

I will be a leader in my organization.

Tip:

The use of affirmations is just one way to make positive changes to your life. You can also use techniques such as Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking, and Positive Thinking, and Cognitive Restructuring. You may also want to take our quiz, Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker?

Key Points

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.

To use affirmations, first analyze the thoughts or behaviors you’d like to change in your own life and career.

Next, come up with positive, credible, present tense statements that are the opposite of these thoughts. Repeat your affirmations several times a day, especially when you find yourself slipping into a negative thinking pattern, or engaging in a negative behavior.

Remember that affirmations are most effective when used alongside other strategies, such as visualization and goal setting.

Customers for life

 

The most successful companies place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers. In today’s competitive marketplace, they’re aware that their customers are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Customer-focused companies recognise that relationship building and follow-on service are critical components for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth.

Today we have access to innovative tools, such as the Internet, cellphones, faxes and voicemail, all designed to enhance our ability to communicate. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of dissatisfied customers, lost sales and failed relationships all reflect the fact that none of us are as effective at communicating as we would like to believe.

Temperament understanding helps to foster effective communication. Research in the field of human psychology indicates people are born into one of four primary behavioral styles; aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each of these four temperament styles requires a unique approach and communication strategy.

For example, if you are working with the impatient, aggressive style, they want a quick fix and a bottom-line solution. Under pressure they can be ill-tempered and quick to anger. Give them options so you don’t threaten their need for control. Don’t waste their time with chitchat; stick to business.

Meanwhile, at the other extreme, the stress-prone analytical style requires more information and is interested in every detail. Their cautious and analytical nature makes them susceptible to buyer’s remorse. Be sensitive to their need for reassurance and guarantees. Once you learn how to identify each of the four primary behavioral styles, you will be able to work more effectively with all of your customers.

Communicate effectively

Recognise the importance of nonverbal communication and learn to “listen with your eyes.” It might surprise you to know that research indicates over 70% of our communication is perceived nonverbally. In fact, studies show that body language has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word.

Create a favorable first impression and build rapport quickly by using open body language. In addition to smiling and making good eye contact, you should show the palms of your hands, keep your arms unfolded and your legs uncrossed. You can develop harmony by “matching and mirroring” your customer’s body language gestures. Matching and mirroring is unconscious mimicry. It’s a way of subconsciously telling another that you like them and agree with them.

Improve your active listening skills. To develop and encourage conversation, use open-ended questions to probe the meaning behind your prospect’s statements. Occasionally repeat your prospect’s words verbatim. By restating his or her key words or phrases you not only clarify communication, but also build rapport. Keep your attention focused on what your customer is saying and avoid the temptation to interrupt, argue or dominate the conversation.

Little things make a big difference

Rendering quality customer service is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Often salespeople view customer service as an administrative burden that takes them away from making a sale. The truth is that customer service provides opportunities for cross-selling, up-selling and generating quality referrals.

Customers describe quality customer service in terms of attention to detail and responsiveness. Customer satisfaction surveys consistently point to the fact that the little things make a big difference. Not surprisingly, the top two customer complaints with regards to customer service are unreturned phone calls and a failure to keep promises and commitments. Make an effort to see yourself through your customer’s eyes. True customer service is meeting and surpassing your customer’s expectations.

Successful salespeople “go the extra mile” when providing service and turn the customers they serve into advocates to help them promote their business. Your referrals and follow on business are in direct proportion to the quality and quantity of service you render on a daily basis. Want more referrals? Improve your service!

Here are five powerful customer service tips.

Under-promise and over-deliver. Develop a reputation for reliability; never make a promise that you can’t keep. Your word is your bond.

Pay attention to the small things. Get in the habit of returning phone calls, emails and other correspondence quickly. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Stay in contact and keep good records. Take the time to jot down notes from meetings and phone calls making certain to record all relevant information. Maintain a written record of service. This is especially helpful when clients are reassigned to a new sales rep. Setup a suspense system to track important contact dates such as client review calls and birthdays. Consider sending a personal note or an article of interest every six months.

Give your customers a promotional gift. Consider sending them a letter opener, coffee mug or a calendar with your picture and contact information.

Establish a feedback system to monitor how your customers perceive the quality and quantity of the service you provide. Service is not defined by what you think it is, but rather how your customers perceive its value. When it comes to customer service, perception is reality.

Progressive companies emphasise commitment to customer service from the top down by establishing training standards and continuously monitoring customer satisfaction. Companies that fail to implement an effective customer service programme actually do a disservice to their customers and unknowingly, leave the backdoor open to their competitors. If you do it right – sales and service will blend seamlessly.

Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make Managing Remote Sales Teams

Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make Managing Remote Sales Teams

Remote sales offices are established typically with the single purpose of growing new markets and revenue sources for the company.  Anything that hinders that mission is by definition hindering company growth and impeding efforts to grow revenues.With that in mind I have put together a list of common mistakes I have seen repeated many times so you can at least recognize and correct them or at best avoid them.

Mistake 1:  Not enough support resources.  This mistake is almost always preceded in a sales meeting by the phrase “You sell it and we will figure out how to deliver it/get you the resources to get it done.”As an employee in this situation a giant flashing light and klaxon should go off in your head warning you of the impending danger.  Negotiate for specific technical resources with timeline commitments before you accept the position or ask and understand how your sales efforts will be supported.  If it does not pass the smell test in explanation, you should never expect it to pass the smell test in execution.As a company, you risk damaging your reputation, losing customers, destroying your remote sales teams integrity in the market, and doing irreparable damage to the remote teams morale by failing to execute all post sales responsibilities.If a company cannot truly support a remote sales team that is going to need company resources to deliver the products and services they are selling, the company is better off not opening/closing that field location and terminating/relocating that sales resource to a market the company can support with certainty.You cannot fight a war to win revenues without establishing clear lines of support.

Mistake 2:  Treating every office the way you treat the home office sales team.  Remote offices are almost always setup to expand the corporate empire based on the success of the home office.  It is a massive mistake to manage a new office in a new remote city the same way you manage your home office sales team.In your home city it is likely that your company has established a certain momentum aiding ongoing sales efforts.  This momentum is often a compilation of several factors including having an established local brand, a number of years in business, culture, established customer base, local references, local advertising and publicity, tradition, and typically, local ownership ties.It is a fundamental mistake to set across the board sales targets and objectives for the sales teams facing radically different established momentum.  This is not a matter of simply waiting for a new market sales resource to ramp up, it requires a fundamental change in how you attack that market.  S

Mistake 3:  Not understanding the unique requirements of new markets or of markets in different stages of development and managing them all the same.

In establishing a remote office, a company is typically:

Expanding into a new market where their services have not been offered before.

Opening a remote office around a key client.

Opening a remote office to manage some existing accounts with hopes for growth.

Making a tactical decision to rapidly expand, block a competitor, arrive in a market ahead of a competitor or grab a key location.

The strategy for every office needs to be unique to its individual market situation.  Even McDonalds, with world wide name recognition and a reputation for producing a consistent product makes adjustments to their menu and process based on the unique qualities of the market they are entering.

In a new territory where there is no name recognition, I focus on territory planning, earning core anchor accounts that can be used as references, and deploying heavy support resources to make sure the first few engagements are successful ones to make sure the first few steps in a new market are solid ones as we begin to build our name.  That is radically different than my market approach with the home office.

Match management focus to individual market needs to establish remote offices in new territories.

 

Mistake 4:  Expecting remote office staff to be able to generate the same volume of reports/ admin/paperwork as the home office.

Where there are sales professionals there is paperwork.  Expense reports, pipeline reports, call reports, travel logs, presentations, proposals, RFPs, etc.

While there may be a standard procedure for preparing and completing necessary paperwork don’t automatically assume that what works for the home office is even necessary or will work for smaller remote offices.  In many cases there are additional official or unofficial support resources that assist in keeping the sales machine running in the home office.  Burdening a remote office with excessive admin requirements can destroy morale and limit their time/ability to do what the office was established to do, sell.

Mistake 5:  Micro manage remote resources.

In retrospect, I probably should have put this one first because this has been the death of so many remote sales organizations and the HQ based managers that are tasked with managing them.  Micro management has no place in managing remote sales teams.

Yes, the remote sales team is going to be out of the daily purview of management but that does not mean there needs to be any extra controls put in place to make sure they are doing their job.

In fact, there should be far fewer controls on them than there are on the sales team at HQ.  If you want the specifics of why, send me an email and I will break it down for you.  Pick four or five metrics preferably built into existing sales reporting tools to use to manage your sales team.

It makes no sense to try and manage where the remote sales team is and what they are doing every minute of the day.  If your sales team is making their numbers legally and ethically, who cares where they are.

If some team members are not making their numbers, use activity metrics and their call ratios as a comparison to determine where/why they are struggling.

I have managed remote offices, opened remote offices and carved up new territories and can tell you from personal experience that there seems to be a tendency to treat remote sales offices as somehow of lesser importance than HQ.  Perhaps that is because of the revenue disparity between the established home office and the developing remote office or the lack of daily interaction, I am not sure.

Remote offices are your growth strategy.  Remote teams should get at least the same amount of attention as the home office sales staff, but in truth I think that a remote office team needs more ongoing attention to run at its peak.

We nurture babies more than adults.  We tend to the needs of puppies more than the adult dogs they become.  We pay more attention to young plants than we do old established trees they grow to be.  That same methodology should be applied to growing and managing remote offices.

How to Help Remote Salespeople Sell Better

How to Help Remote Salespeople Sell Better

More and more people are working from home these days, and this includes salespeople. There are definite advantages to having salespeople manage a territory and work from their home. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with some serious disadvantages. One of the biggest is the general lack of situational knowledge that is gained by working with a group of people in a single place.

When everyone is working together in the same location, there are far more opportunities for conversation, formal and informal. There is an exchange of knowledge that isn’t easy to replicate when someone is working at an outpost. Sales organizations are going to have to do a better job of helping salespeople who are working from home.

Here are three ideas.

Share Tribal Knowledge

One of the biggest challenges of not being connected to the home office is the general lack of tribal knowledge. Salespeople working from home aren’t included in the communication that only occurs face-to-face, and they are missing a lot of context when they do receive information. We can try to keep salespeople updated with intranets and email, but it isn’t the same. It doesn’t feel the same, it’s one directional, and it doesn’t have the same result.

To improve this, you have to find ways to share tribal knowledge. You have to make time for more formal and informal communication, including webinars and small group meetings where the kinds of conversations that can happen face-to-face happen virtually. Video helps tremendously. So does dedicating time to just share what’s going on in the business.

Who are we competing against most often? What are they selling? Who has the hot hand on the sales team and why? What’s changing out there and what are we doing about it? These conversations aren’t part of the sales meeting we usually hold, but they need to be.

More Time at the Office

It’s hard to be disconnected. The longer you are disconnected, the more you feel that you are out of touch. The more frequently you can bring the salespeople from the outposts back to galactic headquarters, the better. The more often they can walk the halls, interact with their team, and spend time interacting with the rest of the company, the more they will feel connected to them.

Some salespeople almost never visit the rest of their team. Some only see the home office every year. This is too long to go without having real, face-to-face visits and communication with the rest of their team—and especially their sales managers.

Virtual Ride-a-longs

In the old days, we transferred a lot of knowledge to the sales force by riding along with them on sales calls. This seems to have been all but abandoned. Now there is no transfer of knowledge. There are no curbside sales meetings after the sale call. There’s no informal sharing of information and feedback. Is it any wonder we aren’t doing well as we might be?

If your people make sales calls from home, you need to do a virtual ride-a-long. Listen to those phone conversations. If they are making virtual presentations, join those presentations and ensure that salesperson gets the feedback they need. Have the curbside sales meeting over the telephone or video. And make the opportunity to go and ride-a-long on real face-to-face sales calls, too.

Spend time transferring the knowledge and the feedback you would share if your salesperson worked down the hall, and help your remote sales force sell better.

Questions

What are the disadvantages of working remotely?

What does it cost the company to NOT have the salesperson working with their team?

What are your best ideas for helping transfer situational knowledge to remote sales people?

How do you ensure that your remote sales force is connected to the rest of the company?

 

Sales Managers: You Are Responsible for Your Organization’s Culture

Your company’s culture is far more important than you realize and don’t think for a moment it’s somebody else’s job.

Everyday your employees come to work, but do they come to engage their minds?

The output of an organization is influenced dramatically by how each person in the organization feels.

Culture is far more important to an organization than most managers believe.  It’s important for several reasons, including the fact it serves as a foundation with regard to integrity and personal performance.

Your employees are taking their cues from you.

They watch you to see how you handle yourself in good times and bad times, and what they see from you becomes what they wind up believing as acceptable behavior.   Culture starts at the top. It does in a family with the parents, it does in a school with the administrators and it does in the workplace with the managers.

Watch a company when they bring in a new CEO from outside the company. Notice how thing change.  Same thing goes for departments within a company when an outside manager takes over.

The impact you as a manager/leader has on your team is far greater than you realize.  Bigger yet is the impact you have in ways you never thought about.

Your people take their behavioral cues from you. To put it another way, as you are now is how your employees will be someday.   Is that scary or is that inspiring?

What are the things you do or don’t do that are impacting how they behave?

Many people are say culture can’t be measured, so it’s not something to worry about.  I’ll challenge that and say a company’s culture can be measured.  It shows up in both the top-line sales numbers and the bottom-line profit results

Making a Great First Impression

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression. This article provides some useful tips to help you do this.

Be on Time

Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.

Be Yourself, Be at Ease

If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create the wrong impression. If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one. See our section on relaxation techniques to find out how to calm that adrenaline!

Present Yourself Appropriately

Of course physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.

But it certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression. (Unless you are interviewing with your local model agency, of course!)

No. The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the “picture” you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting. Is your appearance saying the right things to help create the right first impression?

Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, what is the appropriate business attire? Suit, blazer, casual? And ask yourself what the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear – if your contact is in advertising or the music industry, a pinstripe business suit may not strike the right note!

For business and social meetings, appropriate dress also varies between countries and cultures, so it’s something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms.

And what about your grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy make up. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “the part”.

Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part,” and so feel more calm and confident. Add all of this up and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.

A Word About Individuality

The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation. If in a business setting, wear appropriate business attire. If at a formal evening social event, wear appropriate evening attire. And express your individuality appropriately within that context.

A Winning Smile!

As the saying goes, “Smile and the world smiles too.” So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions. But don’t go overboard with this – people who take this too far can seem insincere and smarmy, or can be seen to be “lightweights”.

Be Open and Confident

When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.

Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.

Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease. Again, see our section on relaxation techniques for help with this.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way

Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?

Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Be Positive

Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous and Attentive

It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!

One modern manner worth mentioning is “turn off your mobile phone.” What first impression will you create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time? Your new acquaintance deserves 100 percent of your attention. Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.

Key Points

You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it’s almost impossible ever to change it. So it’s worth giving each new encounter your best shot.

Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.

5 Stupid Phrases Salespeople Say By Accident When Trying to Close

Below are 5 stupid phrases salespeople say right when they’re presenting the price and trying to close.  (Usually what ends up happening is they offer a discount! Ouch!)

Have you ever found yourself saying…

Is that more than you thought it would be?

Are you concerned about the price?

How does this price compare with what you’ve been looking at?

I’m sure there is some flexibility in the price.

I think I can come up with something cheaper.

As you read through them, you may have breathed a sigh of relief because you can’t recall using any one of them.

Guess what?  Most people have used them or variations of them, and worst of all, we don’t even realize we’ve used them.

We use phrases like this because we’re not confident and we’re trying to close the sale based on our friendliness to engage the customer.  Big mistake!

Never try to close a sale unless you are confident.  If you’re not confident, there is no way you will be able to come out of the sale with the highest level of profit possible.

Also, using friendliness to close a sale is certainly a fine strategy, but use it throughout the sale process — don’t just double-down on the use of friendliness as you close the sale.

In this situation, the friendliness you’re displaying to the customer is causing anger with your company by costing you and your company profit.

When you state your price, you must do it with confidence in you voice and body language, and then after stating the price, be silent.

It’s the silence that destroys the salesperson who is not confident.  The silence overwhelms them and they suddenly make a stupid statement like one of those listed above.  State your price and wait for the customer to respond.

Taking Control of the Sales Process

Taking Control of the Sales Process

Sometimes it takes a massive change to produce better sales results. It might take a major overhaul of what you do and how you’re doing it. But sometimes small changes can have a major impact on your sales results. You might be doing most everything right, but something relatively minor causes serious problems, like losing control of the sales process and extending your sales cycle time.

Here are two small changes that can give you back control over your sales process, shorten your sales cycle time, and allow you to create more value throughout the process.

Linking Commitments to Commitments

Sales managers and sales leaders complain about persistently long sales cycles. They have a sales process—even if isn’t given the attention it deserves. Reducing the cycle time would help them produce better results, and it would help their clients to realize the value that they create sooner too.

One simple change can make all the difference in the world. Here it is: never leave a sales interaction without scheduling the next sales interaction.

By never leaving a sales call without another commitment for some activity that advances the sales, you link commitment to commitment and more the sales process along. This little change alone can squeeze weeks out of the sales process, normally those weeks that you spend trying to get your dream client to return your calls, respond to your voicemail message, or return your email messages.

Choosing the Right Medium

Some people insist on emailing pricing to their dream clients. But by emailing their pricing, they lose control of the sales process. Once your prospect has your emailed pricing and proposal, they can make their decision without you. If they have concerns, they can resolve them to their satisfaction—but not to yours.

Email is a poor medium for delivering pricing and proposals, unless your business is seriously transactional, and even then you’d gain an advantage by choosing a more effective medium. Email is also a poor medium for negotiations. It’s more effective to speak face-to-face or by telephone to talk through issues than it is to send revision after revision back and forth with no real dialogue.

The nature and outcome of the interaction drives the choice of medium, not what’s easiest. Maintaining control of the sales process means choosing what’s most effective, not what seems to be most efficient. In fact, the effective choice is the most efficient choice—it’s the one that most quickly gets you the outcome you want.

Questions

Have you ever made small changes to realize a dramatic improvement?

Can one seemingly minor mistake have outsized repercussions?

How do you recognize the blind spots or mistakes you might be making?

Do you ever leave a sales interaction without scheduling your next sales interaction?

Do you ever choose a medium that might not be the very best choice for the outcome you want?

 

On Being Young and In Sales

On Being Young and In Sales

Tom writes: “I am 25 years old and sometimes feel as though I am not perceived as a peer to the business owners to whom I sell. Do you have any tips to combat this?”

Yes.

I started working in sales when I was 19 years old. I never thought of myself as being in sales at that time, but I was making cold calls, making sales calls, and making deals.

I wasn’t officially in sales until I was 24 years old and a mentor forced by to become an Account Executive by threatening to fire me if I didn’t leave an operational role and go outside full time. I was young. I looked young, and I wore my long hair in a ponytail. I also wore a nice suit every day. Of course, that was Los Angeles, so I didn’t look out of place at all there.

I did, however, when I came back to Columbus. Then I was 25, still looked young, and was now selling major, multi-million dollar deals.

Here’s my advice.

Be Respectful and Learn

The reason the business owners you call on don’t look at you as a peer is because you aren’t yet their peer. That’s okay, too.

The business owners you are calling on are likely entrepreneurs. They’ve taken risks. They’ve built businesses. They have a profit and loss statement and balance sheet for which they alone are responsible. They have a depth of knowledge and experience you likely haven’t acquired.

What I found worked when I was young was my insatiable curiosity to learn from people that knew more than me. Since they had experiences I hadn’t had, I asked endless questions to better understand their business and to learn from them. The more I asked for an education, the more I received one.

After some time, I knew something about a lot of different business, and I gained an understanding of how businesses generally work. Later, when I called on business similar to the ones who were tutoring me, I knew how their business worked and the questions to ask to open opportunities.

So start by being respectful of what they know, and be genuinely curious. You’ll be surprised how much people enjoy teaching you everything they know about their business.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

The other thing that I did that helped me combat my youthful appearance (and the ignorance that accompanied it) was to become a subject matter expert.

My clients knew their business, but they didn’t know mine. I sold temporary staffing, so I started to study employment. I started to read all the labor market releases. I researched legislative changes that would impact my client’s businesses. I started to develop ideas as to how I could add value by helping them see around corners, identifying areas of concern and making plans long before they were necessary.

I discovered that by having subject matter expertise, my clients and dream clients began to think of me as a business partner, as a member of their management team, as something more than just another vendor.

You don’t have to be perceived as a peer by your clients. You don’t have to be their equal right now. They’re older, and they have more experience. But you can—and should—be more than their equal when it comes to your subject matter expertise. Instead of trying to be a peer, try instead to be the member of their management team. Be someone they trust to own the outcomes that you can produce for them.

And as a final note, don’t worry about the whole “being young” thing. I promise that will pass much faster than you can imagine.

Questions

Why is being young sometimes a disadvantage in sales?

Do you have to be considered a peer or equal to sell effectively?

What should you do to be something more than equal in your subject matter?

How do you make yourself more valuable when you lack experience and situational knowledge?