During my recent field trips with my sales super stars working with me at http://www.ourvivaha.com, I noted that very often some basics were missing from their preparations before a sales call.
And THAT set me thinking on doing this piece for my team as also for the benefit of all my brethren in sales …
So here goes….
As with any great art, success in sales is a matter of mastering the basics. Here are four simple questions that measure your grasp of the basics:
- QUESTION #1: Can I describe my ideal customer?
- QUESTION #2: Do I spend time with customers matching that profile?
- QUESTION #3: Can I articulate how I can meet that customer’s needs?
- QUESTION #4: Can I articulate value to the customer in 25 words or less?
If the answer to all four question is an emphatic “YES!” then you’re poised for success in sales.
However, if you have the slightest bit of doubt about any one of them, you need to spend time on the basics. Here’s how:
- If you’re unsure about QUESTION #1: Review the customers that have bought in the past, either from yourself or other reps. Look for the characteristics that identify a likely prospect. Write them down, so you can remember them. Then keep your eyes and ears open for customers that match that profile.
- If you’re unsure about QUESTION #2: Start tracking the time that you spend on various sales activities. Look for areas where you’re spinning your wheels or doing things that aren’t really connected to serving the customer. Then increase the amount of time you spend on really productive selling.
- If you’re unsure about QUESTION #3: Learn more about the customer’s business model and how your offering gets used in the customer’s environment. The best way to do this is to spend some time with a customer who is actually using your offering. Ask plenty of questions, because you’re sure to learn a lot.
- If you’re unsure about QUESTION #4: Write down your value proposition and then edit it down to something short and sweet. The most important thing here is that it must describe something of value to the customer — not just a description of your products and services.
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Have a great weekend and keep those comments and recommendations coming !!
Been traveling again and hence the delay in this post.
This one came about after I worked with my sales team stationed at Delhi…these awesome girls are doing a commendable job with our wedding services platform http://www.ourvivaha.com
I noted that there were a few fundamental mistakes that they were all committing during their sales calls; mistakes that were completely avoidable and if left unattended would hamper a perfectly good opportunity.
So i decided to write this simple -to-follow guideline for them and for everyone else who would care to analyze and then amend their process and improve the ROI on sales.
So here goes…
- Rule #1. Pace the conversation so that the customer is never overwhelmed. The average customer can listen to only three sentences before becoming overloaded. If you become an information fire hose, the customer will simply shut down and say “I’ll think it over” at the end of the presentation. (And then you’ll call back three days later and the customer won’t even remember your name.) Instead, use questioning and requests for feedback to pace the conversation. I am tempted to name my wonderful sales intern who has everything going for her…she is very pretty, good with numbers, analytic…BUT very aggressive when talking to her clients or prospects…and when I noticed that, I sat down with her, counseled her…she mellowed down, the the results are spectacular!!
- Rule #2. Listen intently to build trust and rapport. When the customer talks, listen. Really listen, don’t just sit there thinking about what you’re going to say next. The golden rule of selling is to sell to your customers the way you’d like to be sold to yourself. Listening carefully also allows you to better sense the customer’s true attitude and mood. Connecting with the customer in this fundamental way is the key element of turning a sales presentation into a sale. Here again without naming my sales star…young kids, eager to get cracking on the targets, just forget to LISTEN….and again counselling really helps…and once that is done ( enforced if need be ) , the results are delivered automatically !!Try it …it really works …
- Rule #3. Discover if the buying decision will be made soon. One of the biggest mistake that salespeople make is focusing on customers who aren’t really going to buy. The best way to get this information is to ask a question like: “if I show you exactly what you’re looking for at a reasonable price, what kind of time frame will it be for you to make a decision?” NOW …this one comes only after a long list of “trials and errors”…the trick is to shorten the learning process and to inculcate a certain judgment maturity in the process…
- Rule #4. Push inevitable objections off the table. If you’re reasonably certain that a particular objection is likely to surface, preempt it by admitting it before the customer surfaces it. Example: “Some people say that our product costs a little too much, but…” Admitting the “cons” to your offering as well as the “pros” also enhances your credibility and positions you in the role of an advisor rather than a salesperson. THIS one is often the most difficult to get done, because we as people are programmed to never admit that we were wrong….it takes serious courage of conviction and maturity to do this and once you have mastered it, I guarantee you that it really works and earns the long term respect of your clients who will value you for your brutal honesty even at the expense of losing that all important sale !!
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The steep price cut announced by BlackBerry today was foretold by my team at HULT Boston some 9 months back in our assessment ! As a loyal BlackBerry user for the past 8 years, it is sad to see a once iconic brand in its last throes, gasping for breath !!
This is was only inevitable since they chose to ignore loyal brand users, could not identify key opinion makers among the loyal consumers, and did not react at the required speed to competitors like Apple and Samsung.
May be , this is phase 1 of RIP BlackBerry….
This post follows the one that I just posted some minutes back…https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/how-to-screw-up-a-referral-sale/
Because in this post I am talking about asking your clients for referrals at the right time !!
But in this post I am also touching on aspects of a successful sales strategy that the intelligent sharp sales rep can deploy to maximize his outcome from his referrer..
Here’s how I believe that a successful sales rep could win by selling using WOM
Nothing sells better or faster than word-of-mouth. Sales generated through referrals are larger than those resulting from other lead-generation activities. Why? Simple. By making the referral, the “referrer” is eliminating uncertainties like “can this rep be trusted?” and “is this rep worth my time?” The sales process builds momentum more quickly, resulting in an easier, faster close.
There are three rules to developing sales opportunities through word of mouth:
- Rule #1. Ask for a Referral at the Right Time. Reps typically ask new customers for referrals when the first sale is closed, as in: “do you know of anyone else who needs our product?” That’s dumb. Why should an existing customer – who has already stuck his or her neck out by buy from you – stick it out further by risking their own business contacts? The time to a referral from a customer is AFTER your product has produced a measurable benefit for that customer’s firm.
- Rule #2. Ask Your Source to Take Action. If all you get is some contact information, you’re just setting up a cold call. Instead, ask your current (happy) customer to call or e-mail the contact. That way the current customer is essentially “endorsing” you, which will jump start your sales process. IMPORTANT: Ask your current customer to give you a heads-up when they’ve sent the email or made the call. Without this confirmation, you won’t know the best time to call the contact, which is within a day (preferably less than an hour) after the referral has taken place.
- Rule #3. Keep Your Source in the Loop. Your existing customer is likely to have ongoing commuication with the prospect, and can help you move the sale forward simply by remaining involved as a interested spectator. So follow up! Contact the referrer within a day after the promise to send the email. Express gratitude and (if necessary) gently remind the customer of his or her commitment. After you meet with the new contact, send another e-mail with a thank-you and a status report. (E.g. “You were right; Fred’s firm does have a need.”) Finally, if the referral actually results in a sale, be sure to send another thank-you.
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Referrals as we all in Sales know is a great way to get a foot in the door and eliminate the first 3 -4 steps of a prospective sale.
BUT as young sales reps we have certainly done our fair bit of screwing up a referral sale and this piece is an attempt to help the newbies in their sale careers!!
I have identified 4 instances of how we can potentially screw up a referral sale and used these descriptions to teach young budding sales stars to be mindful of this intricate process..
- You provided a detailed quote without a quid pro quo. If you’re going to do any significant work for a client, you must be “paid” by some concession to you that leads towards closing the deal. You should have demanded to present to personally to the CEO — or something else that might have given you an inside track.
- You didn’t differentiate your firm or your offering. While you may consider yourself to be a “boutique” firm, you obviously didn’t convince the prospect of that, because you ended up in a discussion of price. If you actually were a boutique firm, you’d be charging the highest price, and the customer would be happy to pay it.
- You bid on a deal without local resources. Since web development tends to be something of a commodity product, one of the few differentiators available to a provider is the quality of the sales rep. You needed a warm, personable body working the customer personally, in order to stand a chance of competing.
- You didn’t take the hint that you lost the deal. If the prospect is consistently blowing you off, they aren’t going to buy. Period. You’re just fooling yourself if you think that you’re still going to get the deal. Any resources that you expend pursuing this deal further is wasted. It’s over; deal with it.
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This one had to come up one way or the other !!
Budgets are tight…contract negotiations are tighter still !!
My sales stars are sweating when their prospects retort at quotations saying ” you are pricing yourself out of the market!!”
So in order to address this very real problem, I decided to write about this..hope this helps scores of you out there facing the same dilemma and resistance from your buyer as my sales team is.
“it costs too much.” in todays times, you all would have heard it all too often !
This universal but ubiquitous objection is the bane of many a sale pro’s existence, so we are now going to destroy its power over you, forever. There are twelve classic “comebacks” that will not just neutralize the objection, but keep the sale cycle, going. Here they are:
Prospect: “It costs too much.”
Sales Pro: “No problem. Just out of curiosity…
- …when you say it costs too much, what do you mean?”
- …what has been your past experience with solutions like ours?”
- …how do you know that it costs too much?”
- …what do you know about us or our industry?”
- …what has been your past experience with companies like ours?”
- …what are some of your priorities around _________?”
- …what if our solutions weren’t really expensive at all?”
- …what if it turned out that we didn’t really cost as much as you thought?”
- …what if really could solve the problem of __________?”
- …what if we really could generate a measurable business value?”
- …what if we could help you create a competitive advantage?”
- …what if we could show you how our solution would actually save money?
Create you sales playbook with my blogs and empower yourself and your sales teams…would like to hear your stories if these ideas made a difference to your top line contributions and your bonus !!
You may also like to read this blog of mine https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/how-to-read-a-customers-mind/
and read all my blog only on https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com