While recently leading a webinar I mentioned how creativity, which I consider one of many selling strengths, can work against me. Being creative helps me solve client problems and present ideas in ways that help others understand. Creating is also something that…
The competitive nature of selling can be a double-edged sword. On one side competition can turn up ones motivation and on the other side it can distract you from being your best. The chase becomes more important than what needs…
Do potential client/customers trust you? Of course they do, right? How do you really know? Most of us base this answer on a gut feeling more than on factual information derived through meaningful selling conversations. The best indicator of trust according to Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig, authors of Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play is the “flow of meaningful information” between a buyer and a seller. This of course begs the question, “What is flow of meaningful information?” Let’s take a look at that question as well as eleven behaviors you can practice to build trust.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the book, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Kalso and Randy Illig. The authors not only provide an easy to implement methodology but they address what we as sales people need to do to get and keep things real. So what is getting real? At the core of “getting real,” is honesty. This includes honest communication between a seller and a buyer during selling conversations as well as being honest with our self. Honest communication is not only about what we say, it also includes what we’re not saying. When our intentions are in service of our buyers and we are transparent and honest in our communication, we make room for the buyer to be completely honest with us. The four-letter word that prevents us from reaching this honest place during selling conversations or managing people is FEAR.
In my personal selling experience as well as watching others sell, I’ve come to appreciate selling conversations that are enjoyable. They’re not a struggle or stressful. There’s no guessing or worrying involved. They’re simply a series of conversations that are enjoyable. We keep the conversations enjoyable by staying in the present. When you focus on the end (the order) during a sales conversation you can easily remove yourself from being present. Of course “the order” is a point of reference and a job priority, but it’s important to keep it in the proper perspective. The order will take place at the proper time if your buyer chooses to purchase with you. Before that happens staying present in your selling conversations will keep the process enjoyable and profitable.
When you are at the check out at most big box stores you can expect to be asked, “Are you a rewards member?” The rewards are designed to encourage us to buy at the store more frequently. Loyalty is being developed toward the reward but not to the company or people working there. I wonder if this was intentional or simply an evolution? What about you? What type of loyalties are you building around you?
How patient should you be in a sales process? I’d say as patient as you need to be as long as the process is continuing. Am I saying you should just let the buyer lead the sales process? No. At the same time that you’re being patient, you also need to be urgent. It’s what I call the delicate balance of patience and urgency.
If you have managed to maintain your sales volume and customer base during the past 14 months, I say well done! If business has been down or you feel like you have taken a beating during a weak economy, make sure you have not weakened your approach to opportunities. Continue selling strong by sticking to your fundamentals.
Have you walked into a selling situation where the prospects seem completely sold on another vendor or approach and shows little interest in hearing about your solution? Sometimes it might feel as if they are defending their preference as a protection from hearing something new. Let’s say they like apples and you are selling mangos. Apples might be a good solution for them, but the mangos you represent are better. How can you help your prospect disconnect from their love of apples and be open and begin to focus on mangos?
Business relationships are no different than personal relationships. Things can go awry when we take things for granted, become less appreciative or neglect the details that first built the strong relationship. The relationship can begin to effect your upselling technique. When a competitive large sales opportunity presents itself with an existing client or customer an easy trap to fall into is, trusting your key contact (the one with the strong relationship) to do your selling for you.
Are you building a sales career or living or dying by your next deal? Tiger Woods is working toward a career objective, and as we saw Sunday at the PGA Tournament, things don’t always go as planned. Closing business at every opportunity would be great, but the reality is we don’t close every deal, but we do have a response to every outcome.
What is the value of the contacts you made today? If you have an answer to this question you are viewing the value of your contacts from a short term perspective. We never will know the value of any contact (person we converse with and get to know) until their life is over. So how do you increase the lifetime value of each contact you make and develop a valuable referral network? Most professional B2B Sales Managers would suggest:
We are selling in a different time (2009). The economy is lagging or flat out bad in some industries. In general I have heard these trends. Decisions are being delayed, pricing is more scrutinized and in general decision makers are not as decisive. This all leads to a longer selling cycle. For a Small Business Sales Team this can be an anxious time.
Service-Minded Selling sounds admirable until you are tested to choose between serving your client in a way that might cost you the sale. This week a sales rep (Jon) shared that a prospect was looking for a new system a year after their last purchase (systems usually last 5+ years). They were looking because they never received proper training and the system did not seem to be easy enough to use efficiently (employees did not like the system either). They liked the product Jon was presenting and he left with a request for a proposal.
This blog is not intended to be a religous pitch, as I understand that each of us needs to come to terms with our own beliefs regarding sprirituality and religion. It is intended to share my personal experience as I do in all my blogs regarding my beliefs and how they relate to motivating a salespeople.
One of the sales people I work with shared that she was struggling with a prospect. The prospect was polite, but aside from agreeing to continue the sales process was not sending any clear buying signals. In fact, she seemed a little distant. The sales rep was smart enough to ask, “Do I have a chance of selling you this system?” The prospect honestly answered, “No, my best friend sells for the competition.”
H. Dale Burke in his book, “Less is More Leadership” has a great quote. “When your memories are more exciting than your dreams, you’ve begun to die.” If you find yourself talking more about what was, than what can or will be you might need some resuscitation. Growing your business through a sales team requires a clear vision that will motivate them to stretch. They need a compelling reason to move out of the comfortable and stable environment they have.