We sell sales training. An objection we hear at least once a day is “My people are experienced, I don’t have any new people.” When we hear a manager say this, we really want to shout “We’re experienced too, but we still make mistakes.”
We miss opportunities to be a source of value for a prospect because sometimes we sometimes don’t listen well, or maybe don’t ask the right questions. Maybe We’re not working with the decision maker. We want to say to this manager that sometimes experienced sales people get stuck in bad habits. Even experienced people lose business. There is always room for improvement and growth.
Does this sound like someone on your team, or maybe even you? If you have been selling for a long time, when was the last time you tried a new strategy or tactic with a prospect or customer? Do you do the same thing over and over hoping for different results?
We are often asked to give advice to new sales people. Based on ourselves and the experienced sales people we know, we think the advice below is helpful for experienced salespeople as well as rookies!
The most important skill a new sales person can learn is to listen to what not only what a customer is saying but what they mean. Don’t be afraid of silence. Silence is okay. Customers want to know you are listening to them. Take notes. Think before you speak. Check for clarification to make sure you understand.
WRITE AND CREATE ELEVATOR STATEMENTS
Create value statements about your company to use when leaving a message or sending a text. Practice saying them out loud. Really work on understanding the value your company offers not only your customers, but your customers’ customers as well.
Invest time to develop questions that provide information to move the process forward. Before any sales call, write seventeen questions you want to ask the prospect. The first few will be easy. Sales people need to stop telling and start asking questions.
If you make a statement about how great your company is to the prospect, be aware the prospect is thinking, “SO WHAT!” Understand your prospect’s needs and pain points. Connect the dots for your customer.
GET WITH THE DIGITAL AGE
Use the tools available on the Internet to connect, stay in touch, and research your customers. The vast majority of sales people consistently use a fraction of what is available.
What you don’t know in a sales call may be more important than what you do know. Assumptions made prior to, or during a sales call, limit your ability to consider alternatives and impede the search for facts.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF AN OBJECTION
Ask questions to find out why the customer has an objection. Make sure you understand the reason for the objection. Think about the objections you most often hear. Plan ways to reduce risks for your customers. Ask your coworkers what they do when they hear specific objections.
RECOGNIZE CUSTOMERS’ STYLES
Determine if your prospect is task oriented or people oriented. Determine if they make decisions slowly or quickly. Don’t treat everyone the same way. Some customers need to build more rapport more than others. Some need to know the price first. Some need all the details and then more details! Be aware! Customers are not all the same.
UNDERSTAND THE FINANCIAL IMPACT YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES HAVE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
Spend some time and learn financial concepts and how to use them to uniquely cost justify your products and services. If you can, show a customer how quickly they can make a return on their money. You will close more business.
Ask for the business. Follow your gut. Closing should be natural. If closing is awkward or a struggle, then you are messing up at the beginning of the process, not the end.