Sales Tips

Discovery
In the initial Discovery stage, you must ensure that the customer matches the profile of individuals that typically find value in your product or services. This means learning unique characteristics and background information about your customer. ‘Showing you’ve done your homework will make your solution that much more relevant and receptive by your customers.

Part of the learning process involves listening to your customer. You have to listen very carefully to what the customer or potential customer is saying so that it gives you signals for how to create a win-win. It has to be in your interest and their interest. In order to understand your customer’s interest, you need to understand what they want and then fulfill their needs. It’s not really relevant to the sales process what you want. What’s relevant is what they want. For things to move forward, one of the first things to establish is that there is a likelihood that this customer may be facing the same types of issues that your other customers have, and it will be helpful to investigate things further.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis. In the Diagnosis stage, you want to help your customers understand their inefficiencies and performance gaps. You may be able to help maximize the customer’s awareness of their dissatisfaction with their situation, and determine whether that dissatisfaction supports the need for your solution or not.

These are the two major reasons why people do not buy:

  • They do not believe they have the problem the solution will solve (which includes thinking the problem is not big enough to require a change).
  • They do not believe the solution will work.

The vast majority of buyers fall into the first group. Therefore, critical components of moving customers through a quality decision process involve the following three decisions:

  1. Is there physical evidence that points to the consequences of the absence of the solution?
  2. Are the consequences causing measurable financial impact?  Is the financial impact acceptable?
  3. Is it a priority? If it is, the customer has decided they have a problem, it is costing them X amount of money, and they are willing to take action and invest in change in order to better their situation.

Design
When people decide to make a purchase, their intention is to improve their situation. It is important to help them get a very clear picture of the desired outcome, their expectations. This Design stage brings clarity to the desired situation and how to get there. The decisions to be made at this stage are:

  • ‘What do I want it to look like after I make this change?’
  • ‘What is the best way to make this happen?’
  • ‘What am I willing to invest?’
  • ‘When do I want to achieve these results?’
  • ‘How will I know this will work?’

The customer is deciding what they want to achieve, the best way to do it, how to fund it, when they want it and how to be sure they will be successful. At this point, the customer has decided exactly what they are going to do, and they are ready to see the proof that your solution is a match for everything they have decided.  You may be able to use your knowledge about the customer, their goals, and the product to help move the process along and get the customer to commit.

Point out factors that would create a ‘sense of urgency.’ ‘That urgency may be as simple as, ‘Gee, you could reduce overhead by 10%-25% within a matter of weeks if you did this. The sooner you do this the sooner the company improves their bottom line.’


Delivery

After your customer commits to the sale, the next phase of the process is to deliver the product or service and assure your customer’s success in using your solution. The first step in the Deliver phase is for you to show the customer the solution that you have put together in a formal presentation. The main reason people have difficulty closing is that they typically have presented their solution to an individual who does not have a quality decision process and has not made all the decisions we have described above. Each decision that has not been made leaves a gap, represents a reason not to buy, and will prevent the sale from moving forward.

If you and your customer have discussed each of these decisions and reached mutual understandings and agreements, when you complete your presentation the only question remaining will be ‘Is there anything we may have missed?’ If there is, take care of it as quickly as possible. Since the answer will likely be ‘No, I don’t believe we missed anything,’ proceed with the final paperwork. The close is now a non-event, he says.

Whether you close the sale or not, always follow up with customers to find out what you can learn from them.

The most successful sales people are the ones that have repeat business. The only way is to have clients who are happy with what you’ve provided. It’s always a mistake to be so desperate that you have to have this sale today and you don’t care what happens tomorrow.

Most people will have more respect for a salesperson that is truthful about whether their products or services can help you solve their problems. Credibility is very important in repeat business.

The deal is actually closed before the deal happens. Building relationships with customers are the only guarantees of succeeding in closing a deal.

Be the best listener you can. Hear the other person’s pain; what can you do to solve it? And if there’s pleasure you can add to this equation, focus on that.

Tricks aren’t good: If you need them, you’re not in position to close anyway. Create true value. That’s what will help you sell faster at the price you want.

Find the Win-Win- Win solution. You will have a customer for life. Solve a problem and the customer will be looking to help you as well. Always remember customers are earned, their respect and their commitment!
Part of the learning process involves listening to your customer. You have to listen very carefully to what the customer or potential customer is saying so that it gives you signals for how to create a win-win. It has to be in your interest and their interest. In order to understand your customer’s interest, you need to understand what they want and then fulfill their needs. It’s not really relevant to the sales process what you want. What’s relevant is what they want. For things to move forward, one of the first things to establish is that there is a likelihood that this customer may be facing the same types of issues that your other customers have, and it will be helpful to investigate things further.

Let’s face it – many potential customers see your sales call as an interruption from the important things they feel they ought to be doing.  A salesperson is often viewed as an intruder, a money-grabber, and sometimes even a beggar. The reason for these feelings is that customers are typically given no idea what you are about to do.  It is the same as being in a dentist’s chair and the dentist just begins digging and drilling, without first telling you what they are about to do and why they are doing it. Unless you can change that initial attitude and atmosphere right off the bat, you are potentially doomed before you even get started.

Before selling can begin, tension and fear of the unknown must be greatly reduced or eliminated. Potential customers must come to feel that you are a trustworthy and creditable person, that you have something important to say to them, and that they might ultimately benefit enough to justify the time they invest in listening to you.  That’s a big order, isn’t it?  But let’s add one more dimension to make it even bigger. You have to accomplish all of those things in a matter of minutes – sometimes even in seconds.

Here are two very effective strategies to eliminate tension and establish trust.

You Have to Win the Inner Game

Potential customers can read you like a book. They can instantly sense your confidence level, your attitude about selling in general as well as the product you are selling, your feelings toward them, and your personal comfort level at being with them. It shows in your eyes, your gestures and movements, and even in your tone of voice.  You simply can’t consistently fake your way through the inner game of selling and be a winner in the outer game.  “But I can’t change the way I think and feel!” is a common protest. WRONG! You can change even your most basic attitudes and thoughts. It begins when you start replacing your negative, self-limiting thoughts with positive thoughts and beliefs.

If you want to experience a real change in the way potential customers see you, start feeding some of these positive thoughts into your mind.

  • Selling is an honorable profession that is worthy of my best efforts.
  • I will enable my customer to discover what they are missing, so we can find out what they want and need, and then I will help them attain it.
  • I am a value generator for this customer and for all of my clients.
  • My prices are not too high. I will see to it that the customer gets what they pay for – and more.
  • I am a capable and confident salesperson, and the company I represent is a solid firm which seeks to deliver greater value than the competition.
  • I will not rely upon high pressure or persistence to make this sale, but will concentrate on making a good impression upon this customer.
  • When I finish this interview, the buyer and I will be totally clear on what the next step is to be.
  • It is perfectly okay for the customer to say, “No.”

 

Not one of these statements is an artificial claim that you cannot back up with facts. If you have a problem believing any of them, let me urge you to work through them until you can honestly say them to yourself. When you truly start to see yourself in that light, you’ll be happily surprised at how much more warmly your potential customers will receive you.

You Must Create Trust and Credibility

The natural condition that exists at the beginning of any selling situation is tension. We could talk for days about all of the factors that cause such tension, but you’ve probably experienced enough of it to know how real it is. The fact is tension will exist until you take action to reduce or eliminate it. So let’s focus on what you can do about it.

Here are three techniques we have found to be very helpful in eliminating the tension and creating an atmosphere of trust and creditability.

FOCUS ON THE PRESENT

Eliminate any unnecessary tension inducers before calling on your potential customer.  At the time of any sales call, the one with whom you are speaking is the only customer you have. So clear your mind of the last one or the one coming up, problems back at the office, a phone message you did not like, something going on in your personal life, and any other self-limiting thoughts. Get present and give that potential customer 100% of your attention. In addition – and this should go without saying – keep any judgments, emotions and criticisms under lock and key.

GET ON THE SAME PAGE

A quiet manner, a mild sense of humor and a warm smile can go a long way toward breaking down barriers between you and your potential customer. One of the best ways to make someone relax is to be as much like them as possible. Match and mirror their physiology and behaviors. A good example would be if they offer you a cup of coffee, simply ask if they are going to have one. If they say no, you say no; if they say yes, you say yes. Also match their tone and pace while speaking.  One of the quickest ways to get a potential customer to totally tune you out is to talk either faster or slower than they do.  By mirroring their behavior, you set the customer at ease and allow them to open up to the conversation.

BE A GOOD GUEST

Ask permission before you do anything. I remember a salesperson who walked into a potential customer’s office, moved things around on his desk, and then set up a computer for a presentation. The look on the customer’s face told me exactly how he felt. It was over! Before the meeting starts, establish the following: a) permission to ask a lot of questions, and b) permission to interrupt if you need clarification on something.  In addition, be sure to give your potential customer a lot of praise and compliments.  Even if they give you a compliment first, give it right back to them by saying something like, “Thank you but you made it easy for me to…”  Finally, the most important thing to know is how much time they have allowed for the meeting. Whatever the amount, honor it. Not until they can trust you with something as minor as respecting their time request, can they trust you with bigger responsibilities.

Remember, tension is the natural state that exists in any selling situation. It won’t just go away on its own. You have to take positive steps to create the kind of trust which eliminates or reduces the tension before you can ever begin selling.

To improve your sales teams skills call Sales Focus, Inc. at 410-442-5600 to receive a Free Sales Team Analysis.

Laughter is not only good medicine: it’s also a very powerful tool. It breaks down tension, endears you to people, establishes a level of commonality, and it really is amazingly good for your health.

Humor needn’t be relegated to your personal life, though; it can be most helpful in business, and especially in – yes, you guessed it – sales. A customer who’s having a bad day is likely to be closed to a sales pitch, but throw some humor in, and they just may open up to what you want to say.

Laughter offers a veritable plethora of benefits. The following are just some of the advantages:
• Decreases stress/anxiety
• Improves mood
• Makes others more comfortable
• Lowers blood pressure
• Breaks the ice/decreases resistance
• Enhances immune function
• Lowers bad cholesterol (indeed!)
• Can reduce depression
• Improves cardiovascular health
• Increases memory
• Draws attention

Bringing laughter in to your work can certainly benefit you and those around you (whether colleagues or clients). Be creative in how you use humor in your sales pitches and transactions, because naturally, it should feel comfortable to you. Here are some suggestions for ways you can use laughter/humor to improve your day and/or others’:
• Share anecdotes of funny sales experiences.
• Read a favorite funny book or cartoon to start the day with a boost of enthusiasm.
• Poke fun at yourself – appropriately.
• Start a quirky habit. One salesman I know decided to start wearing a bow tie – every day. Perhaps you could try sunglasses, sneakers, suspenders, a hat… you name it. I don’t recommend the pants-so-low-the-skivvies-show look, though.
• Share a joke about sales to ease the tension in a cold call or initial meeting.

A few words of caution with humor in sales, though:
• Don’t deride others – individuals, companies, or products. It’s especially important not to make fun of your competition: that’s just bad form.
• Also avoid politics, religion, money, and ethnic jokes. Enough said.
• Keep it clean! Never use nasty language or references. Even if the client you’re talking with wouldn’t be offended, they may share the joke with others and credit you, and your blue humor may reflect badly on you in a wider circle.
• Don’t make jokes the main part of your pitch. Lighten the mood with laughter, but get back to business: you and the client should both remember why you’re there.

So when was the last time you invited humor to the table at a sales call? If it’s been a while, give it a try. As spirits rise, perhaps your sales will, too!
Call Sales Focus at 410-442-5600 or visit our website at www.SalesFocusInc.com to discover how a positive environment can make a difference in your sales performance.

The Art of Selling or as it is commonly called; “The Process of Selling” has taken many forms throughout the ages. The most recent direction has been to move away from “product” selling or as it is also described, “Telling”, to one that follows a “customer focused” approach. The need to do this has been brought about because customers have become more demanding and products have become more and more alike. Most Sales Reps will tell you they are already focusing on their customers’ needs and indeed they probably are but, the level of customer focus and the particular skills and processes it takes to sell today’s customer are different. While that difference may be subtle it can mean the difference between winning the sale and coming in second.
So, what is it that makes Customer Focused Dialogue selling unique? To understand this you first must define Product Selling. Product selling follows a set of rules or elements that occur in a set order with little or no room to vary. These elements are Opening, Customer Needs, Product Positioning, Objections, Close/Action Step and Follow up. The customer focused dialogue approach uses these same six elements but does not attach a specified order to them, with the exceptions of the opening and the close/action steps. The product selling (telling) method is mostly a monologue where the Sales Person does most of the talking and the prospect most of the listening. Customer focused dialogue is a two way conversation that allows the Sales Person to adapt and perform in a much more consultative way. In reality how often are you able to get a prospect to sit and listen to your step by step process? The dialogue method allows you to adapt to any situation that you find yourself selling in.
Obviously you can’t just jump from one element to the next to uncover a customer’s needs, which is the ultimate goal in a customer focused dialogue approach. Doing this would not create a true dialogue. The six elements alone are simply the framework that gives you the potential for a true dialogue. To successfully move from one element to the next you will need to develop and know a series of skills, which when mastered will become the bridges that will carry you from one element to the next. These dialogue skills are presence, relating, questioning, listening, positioning and checking. As with the six elements there is no particular order in which they are used. The only way to become successful with this is through consistent practice and use.
Most Sales People start their careers using the Product Selling method but quickly learn that they will never survive if they remain there. They move to a quasi consultative style where they understand the importance of uncovering a customer’s needs. The problem is that once they uncover these needs they quickly jump to the product sell. This quick jump, which often occurs at the first glimpse of a need or before they fully understand the need, takes away the opportunity to position their idea, even when the product is right. This jump to product, also known as the solution then requires a great amount of persuasion. While many can be successful in this method you have to wonder how many more could be successful if they understood and used the elements and skills required in dialogue selling?
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Intelligent Sales Solutions
Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.
To find how we can build a team of Sales Hunters for your Business visit us at www.salesfocusinc.com or call 410-442-5600.

A famous Major League slugger was almost washed out in his first year because he tried to be someone else. The rookie started out hitting beautifully and soon led the league. Sports writers were singing his praises. Suddenly he went into a slump. His batting average dropped from .460 to .140. Days went by without him being able to get a scratch single. Finally, the manager benched him. Three days later the manager met with his coaches. He had to cut his roster and wanted their opinion. The manager had decided that the once sensational rookie should be sent down to the minors for further seasoning. One coach, a grizzled veteran, disagreed. “Let me have a few days with him,” the coach suggested. “Okay,” the manager assented. “Three days only.”

The coach, who had been a great hitter in his time, took the rookie aside. He told him to take a few swings of the bat. “Say,” the coach observed, “you cut at that ball just like Hank Aaron used to.” The youngster blushed. He admitted that Hank Aaron had been his boyhood hero. All through sandlot and high school baseball the rookie had tried to pattern his swing after that of Arron. It had worked wonderfully and actually carried him here to the Majors. And, here in the Big League, it worked, too—for a while. But now, once the pitchers figured out his weakness, he went into this slump.

“The trouble is,” the coach told him, “is that it really is still Hank Aaron’s stance and swing. You can never quite duplicate it and even if you could its doubtful if it would be exactly right for you.” The newcomer saw the point. For three days, the coach worked with him to develop a style of hitting that was his very own. On the fourth day, the coach told the manager, “You can put the rookie back in the line-up.” On his first day back the rookie got two doubles and a home-run out of four times at bat. The next day he hit another four bagger. That season he ended up with a batting average of 351, near the top of his league.

Be an Individual
I’ve known scores of salespeople who failed because they tried to be somebody else—Trying to be like other successful salespeople, their manager etc. This is a form of extended adolescence. This kind of salesperson has not matured into their own identity. It’s perfectly all right to have our heroes but we should not try to emulate them 100%.

They should serve as guideposts or examples of top behaviors in selling. Too many salespeople believe the way to success lies in copying others. This is nonsense. Outstanding business leaders today are individualists to a person. They reached their positions because they were not simply faces in the crowd. They stand out from a crowd. Do they strike you as being a reproduction of someone else?

Be A Leader
Who but a leader could have developed the idea of a fast food hamburger chain, thereby creating a new multi-billion dollar market all over the world? Credit this one to Ray Krock, of McDonalds. Also, there was Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, developing an easy to use computer, revolutionizing computing today. Krock was a milkshake machine salesman and Jobs and Woz sold illegal telephone “blue boxes.”
Every great idea was produced by leaders. This is especially true of selling.

A number of salespeople are too content and move in well-worn paths. They are full-time followers instead of the leaders they should be. They use methods that were old 10 years ago. For example, they tell the buyer that something is no problem knowing full well it is, or worse, knock the competition. Their presentations are taken from a book rather than developed on the basis of trial and observation.

Make no mistake about it; truly successful salespeople today are leaders, not followers. They are originators and as creative as an artist. They function like an orchestra conductor working with their client companies. Helping in everything from proper selection to turning to a clear solution. They also orchestrate the project through preparation, development, implementations, conclusion and delivery. When something is “off key” just like the master conductor it is their job to correct the problem.

Develop Your Talents
Being a leader is easy to say. But how, you may ask, does one acquire this quality? The answer is simply, using the talents you have. Each of us was endowed with certain abilities. The trick is to discover them, own them and use them. Too often a salesperson’s qualities lie dormant because they don’t even know they are there.

All of us are raw material when we go into selling. From that point on we undergo a honing process, a refinement. This should also be a period of discovery. Look at yourself carefully. Be honest in assessing yourself. If you’re like most people you will find in yourself some characteristics that could hurt you in the business world. But you should also turn up some facets that can be of invaluable help in your career.

For example, you may have an arresting, well-modulated voice. By all means develop this quality for use in your sales presentations. Perhaps you have a good head for thinking out of the box. Why not use this talent to excite prospects and customers?
You might have the ability to make people feel comfortable about themselves. By all means take advantage of this. Most customers make judgements by how they feel emotionally and here is your chance to really shine in this department.

The quality of merely being a good listener will help your selling. It’s surprising how many salespeople do not use this ability. If a buyer feels you are truly interested in, understand and empathetic to their problems, they will often translate this feeling into an order.

The only way to be yourself is to trade on the characteristics that are yours and yours alone.

Study Your Prospect
Copying other people’s sales techniques is harmful because it does not take into consideration the varieties of prospects and customers. The old saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” applies here. Another salesperson’s techniques may be just fine for their customers but poison for yours. All customers aren’t cut from the same mold. Each must be handled and responded to differently. How much better it is to study each prospect or customer, discover their desires, strengths and weaknesses, and then relate to them accordingly. To blindly adapt another salesperson’s methods may be the surest way to disaster.

Look at it from the point of view of the customer. They don’t want every salesperson they talk to, to be a carbon copy of the one before them. Coming in asking quick qualifying questions, do a feature and benefit presentations and toss some 30 year old close technique at them. This will displease them for three reasons;

(1) they’ll feel insulted because these types of salespeople treat them in the same manner as if they were a machine.

(2) they want a little variety in their life too.

(3) they want to trust you and know you are credible.

How dull it is for a customer to see the same type of sales person, making the same promises, grab some specs to quote, ask few questions and fax them some numbers. What some customers need is the refreshing breeze. Why don’t you be it?

Are you convinced that being yourself is the best way?

The sales profession is a “people” profession: if you don’t like people, come not near!

In our contact with so many people we’re bound to come across some customers who are a challenge to get along with. Some salespeople would avoid transactions with challenging customers altogether, but they lose out on valuable business. There’s no reason for you to forfeit a potential sale; instead, use some understanding and thoughtful action to create an effective working relationship and close the sale.

The following are some tips for things to avoid – “don’ts” – when dealing with not-so-cooperative customers:

  • Don’t be too quick to label. The “difficult” customers are sometimes nothing more than “different” customers.  They may do things differently than you, but if you can find common ground, it may pay off with a loyal customer.
  • Don’t go toe-to-toe on everything. Choose battles carefully; if you can reasonably accommodate some demands, do. By giving in on some things, you’re in a better position to stand your ground on others.
  • Don’t give up. Some customers will just want to see that you’re dedicated. Call a second time (maybe even a third!) and earn respect for your positive attitude and persistence.
  • Don’t fall short on delivery. Some will be difficult simply because they don’t know what to expect from you. Show them your integrity and respect for them by following through and delivering on promises. The path to trust may be long, but it’s well worth traveling.
  • Don’t shut them out – or off. Listen – really listen – to the customer. If they feel as if you don’t hear them, they won’t want to buy from you. And in the case of complaining customers, sometimes they just need to vent; in these cases, empathy goes a long way.
  • Don’t argue or banter. If the customer says something that raises your ire, take time before you respond. Show them you’re thoughtful and not impulsive – a very good quality in a salesperson.
  • Don’t ignore cues from the customer. Use the customer’s nonverbal cues to know how to approach them. If they’re watching the clock, be respectful of their time. If agitated, be sensitive to their mood. If their eyes glaze over when you start your pitch, make it short and succinct – they’re probably overloaded with information. Being sensitive to the customer’s needs wins you a more open mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to question. If you feel as if you’ve stepped into an inquisition, you can respond to the customer’s questions with thoughtful questions of your own. This will help the customer to slow down and think and set the stage for a cooperative conversation.
  • Don’t be a control freak. Sometimes, the customer just doesn’t want to yield control. Be sure they feel that the decisions are theirs – that they’re not being pushed into a deal.
  • Don’t let the mercury rise. If you’re on a sales call and the discussion escalates, step back. After a pause, ask the customer if you can start the conversation again.  This tells the customer that you’re committed to hearing them. Restart the dialogue by saying that you’re here to help solve a problem or fill a void for their company; doing so reminds them that you’re the ally, not the enemy.
  • Don’t be too quick to shut the door on irrational demands. Some customers want what you simply cannot do, but you can try to work toward a compromise to avoid losing the sale.

Just a bit of patience and understanding can help reduce your distress when working with demanding or uncooperative customers — and secure sales that others might pass up!

Call Sales Focus at 410-442-5600 or visit our website at www.SalesFocusInc.com to sign up to receive all new Sales Tips each month.

As we begin the change of seasons from summer to fall we feel the temperatures change and see the leaves changing on the trees and wildlife get ready to hibernate. It seems, too, that nature’s wardrobe is inversely related to ours: as the trees change and drop foliage, we add layers to stay warm.  With all of the change going on lately, have you stopped to think of what you might change to improve your sales?  This is a good time to take a break – maybe even take a nice long walk – and engage in a bit of self-reflection.

Dedicate the time now to take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we all have weaknesses (we are human), but instead of being ashamed of your downfalls, learn from them.  They can be a powerful tool in the reinvention of your sales self.

Look back at the past year, professionally.  What do you think you did right and where did you not succeed as you wanted?

On the positive side…

Did you have any astounding successes?

Were there referrals from existing clients?

Did you improve your relationships with current customers?

Did your sales increase?

And the not-so-positive side…

Did you lose any clients?

Can you think of accounts you’d hoped to secure, but didn’t?

Do you recall dropping the ball on any leads?

Did your sales decline?

Perhaps one or more of these situations pertains to you.  If you look back and see things you wish you’d done differently, then resolve to do better next time.  If you’ve enjoyed a lot of success, kudos to you!  Think about what you did to get there and keep doing it.  There can still be room for improvement, though.  The greatest salesperson in the world doesn’t maintain the position of “greatest” without ongoing improvement.

Sometimes, a little change is all that’s needed for professional rejuvenation. Self-reflection is a good start, but also consider trying one of the following:

  • Reinvent your approach with prospects and clients.
  • Change the way you dress – in a big or small way – and see how it changes your outlook.
  • Take a short vacation to refresh the wind in your sails.
  • Commit to reading SFI’s Sales Tips regularly!
  • Use a mirror to practice your sales pitch (you may be surprised at what you see).
  • Talk with a salesperson you admire and gain insight/tips.
  • Ask trusted clients to tell you what they like about you and what they would like to see you improve.
  • Read books about sales; the classics are a great place to start!

Experts recommend planting trees and shrubbery in the early spring so that roots can take hold, ensuring the plant will thrive.  This can be a good time for you, too, to try something new and let it take root so your sales can thrive.

We’ve all had the painful experience of visiting a store – grocery, computer, shoe, hardware, clothing; you name it – and finding that the clerk or salesperson is clearly having a bad day. And it’s not just a bit of a bad day, it’s a baaaaaad day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to make a graceful but hasty exit in cases like that, I just don’t like buying from people who don’t want to sell to me.

On the other hand, I’ve met salespeople whose energy and enthusiasm were so inspiring, I would have bought a square wheel from them. Attitude, you see, is everything. Now, I don’t want to discount knowledge, persistence, a great product, etc., but your attitude can certainly put a shine on everything else that goes into good sales. And it has a much greater effect than you’d think on you and those around you. It raises your self-esteem, and consider this: if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

First of all, a positive attitude attracts positive people and positive situations.  Have you ever noticed how negative people breed negativity, but positive folks spread the sunshine? We all like being around people who think positively, and we give more attention to those who stay upbeat. Not only do they give us hope, but their encouragement is contagious: we can’t help but think better of things when a ray of sunshine brightens the landscape.

An optimistic disposition will also help to give you strength in the face of disappointment. It will give you determination to pick yourself up and either try again or move on to the next challenge with zeal. Hearken back to when you were young and learning to ride a bike; if you had given in to defeat after the first fall, you’d never have known the joys of bike riding. Instead, the promise of the wind in your face and the feeling of freedom kept you going, and you finally mastered it. What a rush! That first solo “flight” on your bicycle was magical, wasn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong when I say to think positively: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be realistic. You must recognize challenges and respect the doors that close and lock. Beating your head against a brick wall time and again will never feel good. But where negativity would have you just give up, positivism knows there’s something better ahead, and gives you the adrenaline to forge ahead and find out what that is.

How can you maintain positivity? That varies from person to person.  Here are a few suggestions.  Pick one (or more) that works for you, or create your own:

  • Post-its: Write pithy statements of encouragement to yourself on sticky notes and place them where you’ll see them often.
  • Friends or mentors: Find at least one person in your life (preferably business, although personal support helps a lot, too) who has a great attitude and with whom you can talk/text/email freely.
  • Books or articles: Sales Tips has mentioned the writings of Dale Carnegie before and recommends them, but some other suggestions include The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and a personal favorite, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (wisdom can be quite simple!).
  • Quotes: Whether you commit them to memory, use the Post-it idea, or keep them nearby on your phone/tablet/computer, quotes can be helpful bits of mental energy. A good one: “If you say you can or you can’t, you’re right either way,” said Henry Ford.
  • Smile: Really. It’s amazing how simply turning up the corners of your mouth can psychologically turn around a challenging situation. If you’ve never tried it, do. And then the next time you feel yourself discouraged or down, try it again. It really works. No, it won’t change the situation, but it will change your attitude toward the situation – and that is more than half of any battle.
  • Revel in the past: Indulge in recalling your successes. They can help give you ideas for addressing challenges ahead, or just give you energy for your next appointment.

If you’re not yet convinced that attitude matters, consider this: in addition to professional and personal advantages, positive thinking has a demonstrated benefit to your health! Keeping your spirits up can help your immune system, decrease stress, and give you more energy. What a deal!

So what are you waiting for? Put on your brightest smile, tell yourself you can, and go out and succeed!

If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, you know at least one super-salesperson, and probably more. They’re the ones who could charm the weapons from Attila the Hun, who bring sunshine out of snowstorms, calm wild animals with a single glance, and always – we mean always – close sales. They have that je ne sais quoi that sits just beyond the reach of description or understanding. Well, maybe.

If you want to know what makes certain salespeople really great, read on. Here, the super-salesperson is demystified as we delineate the traits common to the species. Go ahead: read on, and consider how many of these traits you display and which you’d like to.

These characteristics can be found in many great salespeople:

Charisma – If you aren’t likeable – and we mean quickly likeable – to prospects/clients, you’ll lose their attention and the sale.

Motivation – Great salespeople don’t reach for the snooze alarm; they’re eager to get out there and sell!

Persistence – You don’t take no for an answer when you know you can make life better for a prospect’s company.

Patience – Not the same as persistence, patience means you know when the customer needs time to think and come around. You’re willing to wait for the sale.

Assertiveness – Assertiveness isn’t being aggressive; rather, it’s confidently stating your point and being sure you’re heard.

Resourcefulness – Innovation can make the difference in sales. If you can find a way to make your product or service invaluable to a prospect, you’ve made a sale.

Resilience – Let’s face it: in sales, there will always be disappointments, from lost sales to lost clients. Those who see the losses as an opportunity to learn are the ones who will win in the end.

Optimism – Keeping your chin up keeps you moving forward, and great salespeople always move forward.

Perspective – People with the ability to see the big picture can strategize and plan more effectively than those who see only the trees and not the forest.

Listening – When you use your ears more than your voice, you let the prospect tell you what their company needs. Once you know that, you’ll know how your product or service can become essential to them.

Continuous improvement – In any profession, those who distinguish themselves are the ones who constantly find ways to become better, stronger, faster…

Product knowledge – Whatever you’re selling, you have to know not only its strengths and advantages, but also its weaknesses and disadvantages. Know your product inside and out, and you’ll be better equipped to sell it.

Customer focus – Truly great salespeople care about their clients’ happiness; they deliver what they promise (and often more), they make wrongs right, and they follow up.

Admittedly, not every salesperson perceived as “super” will have all of these traits, but if you look closely, they’ll have several of them. Do you? Do you see qualities here that you can develop to enhance your sales expertise? If you think you’re falling short, remember that sales aren’t so much about aptitude as it is attitude – so make yourself super!

Call Sales Focus at 410-442-5600 or visit our website at www.SalesFocusInc.com to discover how a positive environment can make a difference in your sales performance.

Laughter is not only good medicine: it’s also a very powerful tool. It breaks down tension, endears you to people, establishes a level of commonality, and it really is amazingly good for your health.

Humor needn’t be relegated to your personal life, though; it can be most helpful in business, and especially in – yes, you guessed it – sales. A customer who’s having a bad day is likely to be closed to a sales pitch, but throw some humor in, and they just may open up to what you want to say.

Laughter offers a veritable plethora of benefits. The following are just some of the advantages:

  • Decreases stress/anxiety
  • Improves mood
  • Makes others more comfortable
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Breaks the ice/decreases resistance
  • Enhances immune function
  • Lowers bad cholesterol (indeed!)
  • Can reduce depression
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Increases memory
  • Draws attention

Bringing laughter in to your work can certainly benefit you and those around you (whether colleagues or clients). Be creative in how you use humor in your sales pitches and transactions, because naturally, it should feel comfortable to you. Here are some suggestions for ways you can use laughter/humor to improve your day and/or others’:

  • Share anecdotes of funny sales experiences.
  • Read a favorite funny book or cartoon to start the day with a boost of enthusiasm.
  • Poke fun at yourself – appropriately.

  • Start a quirky habit. One salesman I know decided to start wearing a bow tie – every day. Perhaps you could try sunglasses, sneakers, suspenders, a hat… you name it. I don’t recommend the pants-so- low-the- skivvies-show look, though.
  • Share a joke about sales to ease the tension in a cold call or initial meeting.

A few words of caution with humor in sales, though:

    Don’t deride others – individuals, companies, or products. It’s especially important not to make fun of your competition: that’s just bad form.
  • Also avoid politics, religion, money, and ethnic jokes. Enough said.
  • Keep it clean! Never use nasty language or references. Even if the client you’re talking with wouldn’t be offended, they may share the joke with others and credit you, and your blue humor may reflect badly on you in a wider circle.
  • Don’t make jokes the main part of your pitch. Lighten the mood with laughter, but get back to business: you and the client should both remember why you’re there.

So when was the last time you invited humor to the table at a sales call? If it’s been a while, give it a try. As spirits rise, perhaps your sales will, too!

Discovery. In the initial Discovery stage, you must ensure that the customer matches the profile of individuals that typically find value in your product or services. This means learning unique characteristics and background information about your customer. 'Showing you've done your homework will make your solution that much more relevant and receptive by your customers.

Part of the learning process involves listening to your customer. You have to listen very carefully to what the customer or potential customer is saying so that it gives you signals for how to create a win-win. It has to be in your interest and their interest. In order to understand your customer's interest, you need to understand what they want and then fulfill their needs. It's not really relevant to the sales process what you want. What's relevant is what they want. For things to move forward, one of the first things to establish is that there is a likelihood that this customer may be facing the same types of issues that your other customers have, and it will be helpful to investigate things further.

Diagnosis. In the Diagnosis stage, you want to help your customers understand their inefficiencies and performance gaps. You may be able to help maximize the customer's awareness of their dissatisfaction with their situation, and determine whether that dissatisfaction supports the need for your solution or not.

These are the two major reasons why people do not buy:

  • They do not believe they have the problem the solution will solve (which includes thinking the problem is not big enough to require a change).
  • They do not believe the solution will work.

The vast majority of buyers fall into the first group. Therefore, critical components of moving customers through a quality decision process involve the following three decisions:

  1. Is there physical evidence that points to the consequences of the absence of the solution?
  2. Are the consequences causing measurable financial impact?  Is the financial impact acceptable?
  3. Is it a priority? If it is, the customer has decided they have a problem, it is costing them X amount of money, and they are willing to take action and invest in change in order to better their situation. 

Design. When people decide to make a purchase, their intention is to improve their situation. It is important to help them get a very clear picture of the desired outcome, their expectations. This Design stage brings clarity to the desired situation and how to get there. The decisions to be made at this stage are:

  • 'What do I want it to look like after I make this change?'
  • 'What is the best way to make this happen?'
  • 'What am I willing to invest?'
  • 'When do I want to achieve these results?'
  • 'How will I know this will work?'
    • The customer is deciding what they want to achieve, the best way to do it, how to fund it, when they want it and how to be sure they will be successful. At this point, the customer has decided exactly what they are going to do, and they are ready to see the proof that your solution is a match for everything they have decided.  You may be able to use your knowledge about the customer, their goals, and the product to help move the process along and get the customer to commit. Point out factors that would create a 'sense of urgency.' 'That urgency may be as simple as, ‘Gee, you could reduce overhead by 10%-25% within a matter of weeks if you did this. The sooner you do this the sooner the company improves their bottom line.’

      Delivery. After your customer commits to the sale, the next phase of the process is to deliver the product or service and assure your customer's success in using your solution. The first step in the Deliver phase is for you to show the customer the solution that you have put together in a formal presentation. The main reason people have difficulty closing is that they typically have presented their solution to an individual who does not have a quality decision process and has not made all the decisions we have described above. Each decision that has not been made leaves a gap, represents a reason not to buy, and will prevent the sale from moving forward.

      If you and your customer have discussed each of these decisions and reached mutual understandings and agreements, when you complete your presentation the only question remaining will be 'Is there anything we may have missed?' If there is, take care of it as quickly as possible. Since the answer will likely be 'No, I don't believe we missed anything,' proceed with the final paperwork. The close is now a non-event, he says.

      Closing a Sale: Don't Forget the Follow-up

      Whether you close the sale or not, always follow up with customers to find out what you can learn from them.

      The most successful sales people are the ones that have repeat business. The only way is to have clients who are happy with what you've provided. It's always a mistake to be so desperate that you have to have this sale today and you don't care what happens tomorrow. 

      Most people will have more respect for a salesperson that is truthful about whether their products or services can help you solve their problems. Credibility is very important in repeat business.

      The deal is actually closed before the deal happens. Building relationships with customers are the only guarantees of succeeding in closing a deal.

      Be the best listener you can. Hear the other person’s pain; what can you do to solve it? And if there’s pleasure you can add to this equation, focus on that.

      Tricks aren’t good: If you need them, you’re not in position to close anyway. Create true value. That’s what will help you sell faster at the price you want.

      Find the Win-Win- Win solution. You will have a customer for life. Solve a problem and the customer will be looking to help you as well. Always remember customers are earned, their respect and their commitment!

The Art of Selling or as it is commonly called; “The Process of Selling” has taken many forms throughout the ages. The most recent direction has been to move away from “product” selling or as it is also described, “Telling”, to one that follows a “customer focused” approach. The need to do this has been brought about because customers have become more demanding and products have become more and more alike. Most Sales Reps will tell you they are already focusing on their customers’ needs and indeed they probably are but, the level of customer focus and the particular skills and processes it takes to sell today’s customer are different. While that difference may be subtle it can mean the difference between winning the sale and coming in second.

So, what is it that makes Customer Focused Dialogue selling unique? To understand this you first must define Product Selling. Product selling follows a set of rules or elements that occur in a set order with little or no room to vary. These elements are Opening, Customer Needs, Product Positioning, Objections, Close/Action Step and Follow up. The customer focused dialogue approach uses these same six elements but does not attach a specified order to them, with the exceptions of the opening and the close/action steps. The product selling (telling) method is mostly a monologue where the Sales Person does most of the talking and the prospect most of the listening. Customer focused dialogue is a two way conversation that allows the Sales Person to adapt and perform in a much more consultative way. In reality how often are you able to get a prospect to sit and listen to your step by step process? The dialogue method allows you to adapt to any situation that you find yourself selling in.

Obviously you can’t just jump from one element to the next to uncover a customer’s needs, which is the ultimate goal in a customer focused dialogue approach. Doing this would not create a true dialogue. The six elements alone are simply the framework that gives you the potential for a true dialogue. To successfully move from one element to the next you will need to develop and know a series of skills, which when mastered will become the bridges that will carry you from one element to the next. These dialogue skills are presence, relating, questioning, listening, positioning and checking. As with the six elements there is no particular order in which they are used. The only way to become successful with this is through consistent practice and use.

Most Sales People start their careers using the Product Selling method but quickly learn that they will never survive if they remain there. They move to a quasi consultative style where they understand the importance of uncovering a customer’s needs. The problem is that once they uncover these needs they quickly jump to the product sell. This quick jump, which often occurs at the first glimpse of a need or before they fully understand the need, takes away the opportunity to position their idea, even when the product is right. This jump to product, also known as the solution then requires a great amount of persuasion. While many can be successful in this method you have to wonder how many more could be successful if they understood and used the elements and skills required in dialogue selling?

Sales Focus Inc. Pioneered the Sales Outsourcing Industry and has the most effective and proven process S.O.L.D.™ in the industry. Our process has been implemented in many Fortune 500 companies along with small and mid-sized organizations in all industries.

Building Intelligent Sales Solutions has been our only focus since we pioneered the Sales Outsourcing industry in 1998. Sales Focus Inc., (SFI) has generated well over $10B in revenue for our clients, utilizing our repeatable S.O.L.D.™ process, which allows you and us to build dedicated sales teams focused on growing small & large companies alike.

Intelligent Sales Solutions

Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.

As a business owner or corporate executive, you must ask yourself, how can I turn over my company’s sales to an outside firm? Sales is my lifeblood, it’s the company’s family jewels. I can’t possibly let someone else develop, manage and run with it, or can I?

Who will own the relationships with the clients? Will I lose control? What happens if something goes wrong?

Industry experts acknowledge that business process outsourcing has become a standard business practice. Outsourcing functions like logistics, administration, help desk/ IT, payroll etc. can save you as much as 20%. What if outsourcing or co-sourcing your sales functions could save you 30% in acquisition cost…AND INCREASE SALES REVENUE AND PROFIT MARGINS?

Total Solution Delivery

Are you tired of interviewing sales candidates due to turnover? Are you frustrated because forecasting and reality have nothing in common? Are you concerned that your salespeople are selling less, discounting like crazy, losing clients faster than they bring new ones on? By partnering with Sales Focus Inc. you can do what you do best and allow process driven company do what they do best.

Business Process Outsourcing is making up over half of all outsourcing dollars spent in the market. Sales Outsourcing makes up approximately 25% of the total outsourcing revenue with a 40% annual growth rate! More and more companies, both large and small are looking for outsourcing providers who can bring value by;

  • Reducing their “Cost of Sales”
  • Increasing the Speed to Market
  • Scalable Sales Teams Able to Grow or Shrink Instantly
  • Improving Productivity of Existing Sales
  • Reducing the Turnover Rate
  • Increasing Client Acquisition and Satisfaction
  • Shortening the Sales Cycle

In studying some of the most productive sales teams in various industries, a core of key principles, beliefs, skills, and practices becomes apparent with those of the top tier. The best sales teams exhibit an energy, cohesiveness, and structure of process that allows them to dominate. Here we will examine what choices and decisions you need to make in choosing your Sales Outsourcing provider so your company can focus on success.

1. What is Sales Outsourcing? And Co-Sourcing?

It is the development of a dedicated sales team, including sales plan development, recruiting, commission management, training, and management responsibilities to an outside organization. The outside organization has the responsibility to manage the sales team to meet corporate expectations and achieve results. Co-sourcing allows you to keep your team on your payroll and outsource the recruiting, training and management to Sales Focus.

2. What is causing an increase in demand for Sales Outsourcing?

“Sales Expertise” – Many organizations are launched by engineers, financial or operations type professionals. They are able to grow a business to a certain level based on their expertise, but in order to achieve their next level of growth they need to look outside of the organization to find sales & marketing guidance and direction.

“Keeping a Focus” – Many large organizations have existing sales teams in place. If you put too large of a burden on your existing sales team with new products, new geographies or new targets, they will lose their focus! Using an alternative channel, such as a sales outsourcing organization allows a focused sales effort on a particular market segment or product. Dedicated sales teams focused strictly on the SMB marketplace. Keep your existing teams focused on the big deals.

“Tactical Revenue” – Sales Outsourcing solutions, which range from advisory services to outsourcing services, focus on developing Tactical Revenue Plans that will help companies achieve the next level of growth quickly.

“Cost of Sales” – If an organization looks at the true cost of building, supporting and managing a sales force they would be surprised. Many companies can’t tell you what the true “cost of sales” really is. Sales Outsourcing offers clients a “fixed” cost of sales solution. The average cost of sales outsourcing is much lower than developing your own sales team!

“Speed to Market” – Another factor is time to market, it’s much quicker for an outsourcing provider to have a well-trained and managed sales team out the door making and closing business than to organically grow a team. Outsourcing providers are constantly recruiting and have Sales processes in place and can produce results with “feet on the street” in 45 days or less.

3. How does a business know it’s time to look at sales outsourcing?

If your organization needs to roll out a new service or open a new territory, Sales Outsourcing solutions provides a much quicker solution and allows their existing sales team to maintain their focus.

Or, if you currently don’t have a sales force in place and decide it’s time to grow.

Or, if your company has experienced one or more of the following problem areas like Stagnate Growth, High Turnover Rates, High loss Ratio or Low Margins.

4. How large or small can a company be to implement Sales Outsourcing?

Most small and mid-sized companies require assistance in generating tactical revenue strategies. Large organization, Fortune 500 companies, also need the speed and flexibility of sales outsourcing where they can launch a sales force in a new territory in less than 45 days then have the ability to scale the project at a moments notice. Large organizations with existing sales teams need to keep their sales people focused and not introduced too many new products or change direction too quickly. Sales Focus is flexible to meet the demands of a changing economy. Feet on the street in less than 45 days across the US or global! Scalable, flexible and focused!

5. What differentiates Sales Outsourcing companies?

Sales Outsourcing is still a growing industry that is becoming more and more crowded with new competitors. They should have a proven and repeatable process. They should have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in growing companies. The Sales Outsourcing provider should have a clear understanding of vertical industries and the knowledge of differentiating between selling products and services.

If a technology services company needs to launch a sales team, the Sales outsourcing organization needs to have a strong understanding of technology and solution based selling techniques before they can effectively build and launch a sales force.

They must also possess strong sales organization development capabilities and have their sales processes well documented along with a solid launch process to get the team moving quickly.

Conclusion

In today’s aggressive environment, sales outsourcing assists companies in going to market quickly and effectively and provides them with an overall competitive advantage at a reduced cost of sale. A true win/win solution.

Sales Focus Inc. Pioneered the Sales Outsourcing Industry and has the most effective and proven process S.O.L.D.TM in the industry. Our process has been implemented in many Fortune 500 companies along with small and mid-sized organizations in all industries.

Building Intelligent Sales Solutions has been our only focus since we pioneered the Sales Outsourcing industry in 1998. Sales Focus Inc., (SFI) has generated well over $10B in revenue for our clients, utilizing our repeatable S.O.L.D.TM process, which allows you and us to build dedicated sales teams focused on growing small & large companies alike.

Intelligent Sales Solutions

Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.

Anyone who has ever been in sales will tell you that there will ultimately be days when they can’t close a deal. It’s when those bad days turn into bad weeks that things can start to get a little more serious. Before they know it, they aren’t able to hit their weekly quotas and they’ve officially found themselves in the middle of a sales slump.

A sales slump can be debilitating to the psyche of any salesperson, as they often feel like they are still saying and doing what they have done in the past. The truth is that over time they have begun to cut corners and streamline all the little things that they used to do within their sales process. Without realizing it, those small changes have now collectively added up to what could be considered a significant deviation from the basic sales process that had originally made them successful in the first place.

The challenge for the salesperson in a slump is to try and figure out exactly why they are not closing more business. For many salespeople, it can be extremely helpful to take a step back and review their current sales process. They need to look at everything from prospecting, pitching, communication techniques, to closing. It is only then that they can reasonably identify which techniques and/or best practices may have changed in their current approach.

Below is a list of some of the most common pitfalls in the sales process.

Setting Daily/Weekly Goals

This is usually the first thing seasoned salespeople stop doing. They no longer feel the need to set goals, because they always seem to find a way to hit their numbers anyway. Without clear goals and objectives you are flying blind and hoping for the best. A successful salesperson will plan out their work day to include tracking of cold calls made, DM reached, presentations given and deals closed. It’s too late to start tracking at the end of the month. “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan”

Building a Pipeline

They don’t make as many cold calls as they used to, because their past success has now made them comfortable and complacent in their daily efforts. Building a solid pipeline is a key component into getting back on track. Keeping track of how many cold calls it will take for you to reach your goals will help set realistic expectations. Take the time to review and update every prospects disposition.

They Choose To Fly Blind

They don’t spend much time strategizing over specific deals, because they’d rather just figure things out when they get there. Being prepared is essential in closing a deal. You can’t be an expert if you fly by the seat of your pants. Prepare prior to every meeting, know your clients and prospects, develop opened ended questions and have a focus for every meeting.

Your Sales Pitch

They start delivering a much more abbreviated sales presentation, because it’s faster than going through the entire pitch. Even the most experienced salespeople will sometimes stray from their original sales pitch. Getting back to the basics of creating a rapport with the potential customer, presenting your value proposition, clearly stating your objectives and conveying your level of expertise are keys to maintaining a successful sales pitch. Don’t tell people what to buy, show them a solution that fits their business. They will make the decision based on the value you present.

Solution Based Selling

They have become less interested in discovering their prospect’s problems, leaving them less able to tailor their pitch around that prospect’s direct needs. What are the issues and challenges that your prospective buyers are facing in their everyday business? Getting back to basics would include; acting like a consultant, being a good listener, reflectively responding using the potential buyers own words, acknowledging their pain issues and outlining your understanding before moving on. You can’t fix what you don’t know…… so take the time to get to know each potential buyer.

Overcoming Objections

They don’t spend as much time trying to identify the most common pushbacks, making them less effective at overcoming their concerns. The most successful salespeople will establish themselves as experts in the field. Buyers will more readily accept proactive solutions from someone who clearly understands their business. Buyers don’t buy features; they buy benefits and solutions, so the salesperson needs to be prepared to propose direct solutions to any issues raised.

Closing Techniques

They over communicate with their prospects, and actually talk right through their close. Over time, rejection can begin to cause some salespeople to develop a fear of asking for the sale. Others talk right through their close attempts. A salesperson will not be successful without closing a deal so they need to stick to what works. The basics of closing a deal will include; making good eye contact, present your solutions and benefits, ask the buyers for their business and the most important part of the close is to shut up and wait for an answer.
Once you make a close……..the next one who talks loses.

There is a reason we have 2 ears and 1 mouth – Listen twice as much and you will become must more effective!

The take away from this article is that slipping into an occasional sales slump can and will happen to the best of us. It’s how you react to those slumps that will determine the amount of time it will take for you to get yourself back on track and closing deals again.

This “Back to Basics” exercise is a very effective way to get you to develop a top of mind awareness of the various steps that go into a successful sales cycle. The goal is to get you back in the habit of utilizing some of the basic skills and best practices that you had used in the past. Don’t get caught in a slump when all you need to do is go “Back to the Basics.”

Sales Focus Inc. Pioneered the Sales Outsourcing Industry and has the most effective and proven process S.O.L.D.TM in the industry. Our process has been implemented in many Fortune 500 companies along with small and mid-sized organizations in all industries. Building Intelligent Sales Solutions has been our only focus since we pioneered the Sales Outsourcing industry in 1998. Sales Focus Inc., (SFI) has generated well over $10B in revenue for our clients, utilizing our repeatable S.O.L.D.TM process, which allows you and us to build dedicated sales teams focused on growing small & large companies alike.

Intelligent Sales Solutions

Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.

As a business owner or executive, you are under enormous pressure to maintain existing client relationships and to continually find new ones. Have you ever stopped to think about exactly why the road to success has become so much more challenging in recent years? How do you find the sales people who are effective in hunting for new clients? Most sales people are great at maintaining clients or farmers, but the hunters are harder to find. The need to hunt, the focus to find new opportunities is lost.

  • Do you have the feeling that your sales team could be performing at a much higher level of productivity?
  • Are there unjustifiable peaks and valleys in their performance?
  • Does the performance vary greatly between those that are your top producers to those that are least productive?

In studying some of the most productive sales teams in various industries, a core of key principles, beliefs, skills, and practices becomes apparent with those of the top tier. The best sales teams exhibit an energy, cohesiveness, and structure of process that allows them to dominate and continue to hunt.

Here we will examine the essential elements to building and maintaining a team of hunters, which will take your team to a higher level of success.

5 Steps to Successful Hunting

1. Develop and Implement a Sales Process

Successful selling demands, methodologies, productivity plans, time management skills, and sales processes. Are you analyzing the areas of opportunity for productivity enhancement on a regular basis? If not, you’re losing money and opportunity on a daily basis. Incorporate an automated sales force tool, but only after processes have been established and tested for effectiveness.

2. Develop Incentive Programs that Target Hunting

Too many organizations reward sales people for perpetuity of the account. This incentive plan will develop bad habits and allow for sales people to lose focus on building new clients. The objective of a comprehensive commission plan will incorporate a high incentive for new client acquisition and a balanced commission for account management. All plans should have an end date of a reduction of commissions based over time, unless you want your sales people to become account managers and stop the hunting process.

3. Accountability

Does your company hold your sales people accountable for success and failure, or only reward them for success. Managers need to hold their sales people to perform daily activities to achieve new client acquisition. Without holding people accountable the focus will be lost and activity level will dimension over time. As managers or executives we must all remember to “Inspect what you Expect”.

4. Train on Pipeline Management

The ability to develop and work a pipeline is lost on most sales agents, they forget to feed funnel. They forget to continue to hunt once the pipeline seems full. They stop the cold calling or focus only on the deals close to closure. The amount of time and energy needs to be distributed across the pipeline with significant focus on closing deals, but they must maintain the aggressive actions necessary to fill the pipeline with new opportunities.

5. Implement Consistent and Effective Training Programs

Training within a company is essential to develop effective sales executives; continuous training in every aspect of the selling process is an ongoing process that needs constant nurturing and attention. Every successful company has characteristics that set it apart. These competitive differentiations might be in the areas of service, technical support, lead-time, or breadth of capability, not just price or product benefits. The true hunters have the knowledge to be successful, they have the skill to find new prey and they have the work ethic to continuously work on new client acquisition.

Develop a Corporate Program for Commitment & Growth of New Clients. If you company is in maintenance mode and just trying to keep what you have, you run the risk of failure.

The biggest opportunity for increasing the effectiveness of most teams is creating new and dynamic forms of accountability. Some forms of team building, idea generation, planning, and continuous improvement for any sales team is essential for growth.

There are many alternative sales solutions in the market today. Companies have options available to them that weren’t available over the last two years. The common denominator

among successful companies is that they are process-driven and always FOCUSED TO SUCCEED!

The Sales Focus Solution is always about Hunting, New Client Acquisition, a focused approach to bringing your company new revenue. You can manage the existing clients; let us show you client acquisitions methods that have been successful for the past 16 years.

Sales Focus Inc. Pioneered the Sales Outsourcing Industry and has the most effective and proven process S.O.L.D.TM in the industry. Our process has been implemented in many Fortune 500 companies along with small and mid-sized organizations in all industries.

Building Intelligent Sales Solutions has been our only focus since we pioneered the Sales Outsourcing industry in 1998. Sales Focus Inc., (SFI) has generated well over $10B in revenue for our clients, utilizing our repeatable S.O.L.D.TM process, which allows you and us to build dedicated sales teams focused on growing small & large companies alike.

Intelligent Sales Solutions

Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.

Let's face it – many potential customers see your sales call as an interruption from the important things they feel they ought to be doing. A salesperson is often viewed as an intruder, a money-grabber, and sometimes even a beggar. The reason for these feelings is that customers are typically given no idea what you are about to do. It is the same as being in a dentist's chair and the dentist just begins digging and drilling, without first telling you what they are about to do and why they are doing it. Unless you can change that initial attitude and atmosphere right off the bat, you are potentially doomed before you even get started.

Before selling can begin, tension and fear of the unknown must be greatly reduced or eliminated. Potential customers must come to feel that you are a trustworthy and creditable person, that you have something important to say to them, and that they might ultimately benefit enough to justify the time they invest in listening to you. That's a big order, isn't it? But let's add one more dimension to make it even bigger. You have to accomplish all of those things in a matter of minutes – sometimes even in seconds.

Here are two very effective strategies to eliminate tension and establish trust.

You Have to Win the Inner Game

Potential customers can read you like a book. They can instantly sense your confidence level, your attitude about selling in general as well as the product you are selling, your feelings toward them, and your personal comfort level at being with them. It shows in your eyes, your gestures and movements, and even in your tone of voice. You simply can't consistently fake your way through the inner game of selling and be a winner in the outer game. "But I can't change the way I think and feel!" is a common protest. WRONG! You can change even your most basic attitudes and thoughts. It begins when you start replacing your negative, self-limiting thoughts with positive thoughts and beliefs.

If you want to experience a real change in the way potential customers see you, start feeding some of these positive thoughts into your mind.

    Selling is an honorable profession that is worthy of my best efforts.
  • I will enable my customer to discover what they are missing, so we can find out what they want and need, and then I will help them attain it.
  • I am a value generator for this customer and for all of my clients.
  • My prices are not too high. I will see to it that the customer gets what they pay for – and more.
  • I am a capable and confident salesperson, and the company I represent is a solid firm which seeks to deliver greater value than the competition.
  • I will not rely upon high pressure or persistence to make this sale, but will concentrate on making a good impression upon this customer.
  • When I finish this interview, the buyer and I will be totally clear on what the next step is to be.
  • It is perfectly okay for the customer to say, "No."

Not one of these statements is an artificial claim that you cannot back up with facts. If you have a problem believing any of them, let me urge you to work through them until you can honestly say them to yourself. When you truly start to see yourself in that light, you'll be happily surprised at how much more warmly your potential customers will receive you.

You Must Create Trust and Credibility

The natural condition that exists at the beginning of any selling situation is tension. We could talk for days about all of the factors that cause such tension, but you've probably experienced enough of it to know how real it is. The fact is tension will exist until you take action to reduce or eliminate it. So let's focus on what you can do about it.

Here are three techniques we have found to be very helpful in eliminating the tension and creating an atmosphere of trust and creditability.

FOCUS ON THE PRESENT

Eliminate any unnecessary tension inducers before calling on your potential customer. At the time of any sales call, the one with whom you are speaking is the only customer you have. So clear your mind of the last one or the one coming up, problems back at the office, a phone message you did not like, something going on in your personal life, and any other self-limiting thoughts. Get present and give that potential customer 100% of your attention. In addition – and this should go without saying – keep any judgments, emotions and criticisms under lock and key.

GET ON THE SAME PAGE

A quiet manner, a mild sense of humor and a warm smile can go a long way toward breaking down barriers between you and your potential customer. One of the best ways to make someone relax is to be as much like them as possible. Match and mirror their physiology and behaviors. A good example would be if they offer you a cup of coffee, simply ask if they are going to have one. If they say no, you say no; if they say yes, you say yes. Also match their tone and pace while speaking. One of the quickest ways to get a potential customer to totally tune you out is to talk either faster or slower than they do. By mirroring their behavior, you set the customer at ease and allow them to open up to the conversation.

BE A GOOD GUEST

Ask permission before you do anything. I remember a salesperson who walked into a potential customer’s office, moved things around on his desk, and then set up a computer for a presentation. The look on the customer’s face told me exactly how he felt. It was over! Before the meeting starts, establish the following: a) permission to ask a lot of questions, and b) permission to interrupt if you need clarification on something. In addition, be sure to give your potential customer a lot of praise and compliments. Even if they give you a compliment first, give it right back to them by saying something like, "Thank you but you made it easy for me to…" Finally, the most important thing to know is how much time they have allowed for the meeting. Whatever the amount, honor it. Not until they can trust you with something as minor as respecting their time request, can they trust you with bigger responsibilities.

Remember, tension is the natural state that exists in any selling situation. It won't just go away on its own. You have to take positive steps to create the kind of trust which eliminates or reduces the tension before you can ever begin selling.

Sales Representatives can sell a multitude of products or services. Whether they are selling Main Frame Computers, Office Equipment, Energy or Promotional Advertising Placement for Print, one central theme is consistent; “Remain positive, it provides dividends on a number of levels and it heightens productivity at the “activity level”.  Most importantly, “success” is built upon failure and sales representatives must remember that “no” will ultimately lead to “yes”. Simply put, as sales professionals, we must consistently strive to own that concept and “harness” that belief in everything we do and in every way we interact with colleagues and our respective teams. Moreover, it is during challenging times, particularly when we are pressed to obtain goal, that we must hold ourselves accountable for the maintenance of this principle. However, remaining positive is not a substitute for productive action planning nor, should it be used as an excuse for not holding ourselves accountable for what we are expected to achieve.
One of the biggest challenges that salespeople face is the continual rejection or feeling of frustration. It’s important to have thick skin but it’s even more important to change your way of thinking to keep from getting down on yourself. A natural reaction is to take the rejection personally or to feel you’re not approaching things correctly. With either mind-set, it’s easy to lose confidence. Confidence is attractive but the opposite is true with a lack of confidence, which can set off an ugly chain reaction. When your confidence is shaken, you’re more likely to alienate than attract. Unfortunately, this alienation can lead to an even lower confidence level. The end result is often discontent and lowered productivity.
So, how can you change your perspective? First, stop taking it personally. One of the best things you can do is embrace losses and negative reactions since each one means you’re that much closer to a win. How is that possible? Well, metrics matter. And if you track how many calls it takes to get an Inside Lead or Sale, and how many it takes to close a deal, you’ll see that every success is built on a pile of failures. If you’re closing 40 percent of your jobs, that percentage will likely hold if your approach, message and client needs remain consistent. With an understanding of the numbers, you can start to celebrate the things that would once frustrate you. The idea of cheering when someone is rude may seem preposterous but remember that every “no” means you are that much closer to a “yes.” So, get excited about the losses!
Another tactic is to put you in the shoes of the other person. I cringe when I feel I’m being “sold” on a telephone call or by an Outside Sales Representative. It’s a normal reaction. Understand how a prospect may be viewing the act of taking your call or pitch. Respect their time. Be empathetic and be direct. Also, don’t take it to heart if the prospect seems annoyed with your timing. It’s likely you did catch him/her at a bad time but if you can get them engaged in the call, then you can break through any barrier that might have been put up.
Be conscientious and focus on improving your craft but also focus on celebrating small victories. Small victories might be a nice conversation that helps build a relationship. Or perhaps, the call results in a “next meeting” because the prospect is interested in your services or products. Maybe the client asks you to pull pricing together on a project the firm is working on. Even a returned voicemail can be a small victory. Whatever it is, these victories often become big wins. After all, you don’t generally land a huge deal from one phone conversation or one touch!
Success in business development requires persistence and thoughtful follow-through. It’s hard to do either if you’re negative about the process. If you’re having one of those days where you feel like you’re taking a beating, take a break from the phone and focus on some planning. If you need to clear your head, do so, but come back knowing it’s a game and a personal challenge. Your goal is to collect as many small victories as you can. If you keep track and learn to laugh at the losses, you can supercharge your productivity.
Don’t get me wrong, no one enjoys losing. Focus on the victories and recognize any losses as necessary steps to achieving wins. From there, your business development and sales duties will become fun and exciting. Your mental state is everything. Your words and body language impact how you perform as much as any actions you take. If you talk about how horrible your day was, you’re likely to have another bad one and it likely won’t improve any time soon. If you talk about being overwhelmed or having your head under water, it’s unlikely you’re going to get yourself out from underneath it. The words you choose to describe your situation greatly impact your results. In sales, this can make or break you. You probably know people in sales who never seem to be impacted by the predictable negativity of some of their experiences. In addition, they often quickly dismiss such experiences, correctly identify them as being part and parcel to the nature of sells, and jump right back into the saddle after a negative experience. This type of Sales Representative tends to be, and generally are, very productive. Others might equate it to being lucky with the accounts they have or label them as overly optimistic. Perhaps! But more than anything, they don’t let themselves fall into negativity.
Amazed at the difference
I challenge you to change your way of thinking for a week and see what a difference it makes. Focus on positive language and on celebrating small victories. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes if you can hang up from negative and positive phone calls and/or prospecting experiences with an enthusiastic, “YES!” Losses and discouraging cold calls have to happen but that just means you’re closer to your next small victory and each small victory gets you closer to that big win. Keep this mind-set and you’ll never lose.
Contact Sales Focus to discover how a positive environment can make a difference in your sales performance.
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