22 Şubat 2008 Cuma

Continuation Phrases cough up Cash

Most Prospects we call on have already been called by many other Salespeople. Unfortunately they've also been asked the same basic Qualifying Questions many times before. If you appreciate that most people are creatures of habit, you’ll understand that most of these Prospect have developed Scripted Answers to these Scripted Questions.

Unfortunately these Answers aren't always the whole truth and nothing but the truth especially if you accept their first response. A great Tip to get these Prospects off of their Script (plus help us to become a better listener) is to start using Continuation Phrases. As soon as the Prospect is done answering each Question, immediately say:
"Go on" or
"Please continue" or
"And then what happened" or
"Tell me more"

This will get them off of their Script and requires that they explain, justify and/or enhance their initial response. The odds are that whatever they say next is usually much closer to the truth than their first answer or comment. This is also a great Technique to use with the “Whales”. These are people with extremely deep pockets that normally “Hold their Cards close to their Chest”. In other words they give you very short 1 or 2 word responses which makes it difficult to properly Qualify them The use of Continuation Phrases gets them to open up and become more talkative

The Ultimate in Qualifying

In Selling 101 we learned about Open and Closed End Questions. Although Open Questions are better than Closed, there is a better and more effective way to gather information and they are called Instructional Statements.

You see if we need to find out 5 to 10 things during Qualifying, a series of questions can end up sounding like a FBI interrogation with one right Question right after another. After all, Questions have a tendency to pry, prod, and probe and can be very irritating.

Instead, the Super Stars use Instructional Statements. They are actually direct Orders however they come across as much more conversational and much less confrontational. Start using;
"Tell me about . . ." or
"Bring me up to date on . . ." or
"Share with me how . . ."

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn to both you and your Prospect will start to enjoy the Qualifying process a whole lot more, plus you’ll start gathering more and better information in order to be able to fill their needs.

Sales Management Basics

When taking on a sales management position, there are three essential levels you must recognize are a part of being a manager. Working on polishing your skill in these separate levels will help you in becoming a well-rounded manager that can take on any job duty and handle them with ease. These principles of management are crucial if you would like to be viewed as a person of good integrity, work ethic and communicative with fellow workers. These three levels for being a high-quality manager are as follows: Technical Skill, Human Skill, and Conceptual Skill and the necessary functions of a manager are planning, organizing, directing and controlling.

Technical skill is the ability to process the technical side of a job or part of your work. Proficiency in the technical knowledge of your job and company is critical if your job requires you to be more "hands on" with your work. Many managers find themselves less educated on the technical side of the job than the rest of their employees and upon losing their managerial position they are forced to come to the reality that there are far more people educated in technical work than they are and slowly fall down the ladder. In order to not let this happen, you must stay up to date with the technical aspects of your job in order to assure your bosses and your company that you are the right person for the position.

Human skill is the power to communicate to your fellow co-workers. This is a skill that 99% of all companies look for in a manager because if you do not possess the ability to correspond with other employees then you will not work out in a manager position. You must be a "people person" in order to hold a job as a manager because on a daily basis you will be working with various other associates and you will need to know how to hold conversations and help your employees. Learning how to effectively communicate with people is a key principle of management that you will need in order to be successful in your position.

Conceptual skills involve the formulation of ideas and concepts. Managers that have great conceptual skills generally possess the power to create innovative ideas and deliver abstract theories. This form of management will give your company the edge it needs against its competitors if you can formulate groundbreaking concepts for your company that will push them ahead of the competition.

Managers also have duties no matter what their skill level is. These responsibilities include planning, organizing, directing and controlling. These functions are necessary when working as a manager in any level you are performing in. You might view your principles of management as the separate skill levels or the basic duties of a manager. Whichever you hold as the most important, you must also keep in account that a great manager will possess all of these skills and be a vital asset to their company.

Interpersonal Skills: How to Use Sales Psychology to Create Longer, Lasting

A participant in one of my recent seminars asked me, “Can I rearrange my client’s office during a sales presentation?”

The sales person had gone to an initial meeting where the chairs in the office were about eight feet from the customer’s desk. He wanted to know if it was OK to just pick up one of the chairs and move it next to the desk and start his presentation.

How would you have answered this question? Believe it or not, your answer could have huge implications on this meeting’s success.

Everything in a customer’s office tells you a story about him or her—from the way the space is arranged to the items that have been collected and displayed.

Archeologists can dig up ancient cities and create a pretty accurate description of the inhabitants’ lifestyle just from the arrangement of the ruins and pottery fragments. As sales professionals we must do the same thing with the artifacts surrounding our customers, so we can communicate better and develop longer lasting relationships with them.

Here’s how you can promote a desirable impression and create sales-winning relationships by understanding space and the hidden message in things.

How to Promote a Desirable Impression By Understanding Space

In 1966, when anthropologist Edward T. Hall described set measurable distances between people as they interact he defined four distances:

• Intimate distance – 6” to 18”, for embracing, touching or whispering

• Personal distance – 1.5 feet to 4 feet, for interactions among good friends

• Social Distance – 5 feet to 12 feet, for interactions among acquaintances

• Public Distance – more than 12 feet, for public speaking

How does this relate to your sales process?

Think about one of your customers. Divide her office into concentric circles, starting from where she sits. The distance between the circles is about the width of her desk. Anything close to the person—usually within arm’s reach—is the most important part of her office. This space generally contains her most precious, most valuable items. It is filled with clues that reveal to the trained sales professional a wealth of information about the customer and her needs and motivations.

As for the office the salesperson asked about rearranging, the chairs were set at the “social distance,” which the customer was communicating as appropriate for interactions among acquaintances (or in this case, sales people). For the sales person to pick up his chair and move into the next circle—personal distance—would have meant that he was declaring that the two of them were friends.

From the customer’s point of view this may or may not have been true. The customer could have reacted positively and allowed it. Or she could have reacted negatively and asked the sales person to leave. In any case, changing to another distance is likely to cause tension and would not promote a desirable impression.

A better strategy would be to ask permission to move the chair closer to the desk. Or, he could say that he had difficulty hearing the prospective customer clearly and then asked permission to move the chair.

How to Create Sales-Wining Relationships by Understanding the Hidden Message in "Things"

Analyzing your clients or prospects’ rooms will tell you their motivations and behavioral styles. By paying close attention and analyzing the hidden message in things, you will know how to best serve your customer.

If his desk is meticulous, it indicates a high degree of close tolerance, sometimes called analytical. Or his desk could be very messy indicating an engaging personal or social trait, sometimes called influencing. These are all clues to guide you in making a presentation that will have the greatest appeal and impact on your customer.

The books on the bookcase will tell you what is currently or has been important to him. Trophies, plaques and diplomas all tell you that he is motivated by recognition. While pictures of tropical isles indicate an idealistic approach to life and business. All of this information will guide you in presenting your case so the customer really “grasps” it.

Knowing how to analyze and use keys to the customer’s psyche is what separates the ordinary sales representatives from the sales professionals.

Here’s the point: By understanding sales psychology and enhancing your interpersonal skills you will make more sales. I guarantee it—and this is not just an idle claim. With more than 30 years of in-the-trenches sales experience and a Doctorate in Psychology, I’ve applied a wealth of knowledge, know how, and high impact techniques (like those described here) to help over 20,000 sales professionals improve their sales careers.

So, please take my advice. Take a moment to scope out your prospective customer’s office. It’s vital to developing longer lasting client relationships. The information about the person’s motivations and behavior is always available to you. Are you available to the information?

Sales Psychology Expert Gregory Stebbins has helped over 20,000 sales professionals become the point of differentiation while their competitors struggle with how to differentiate their product and service. In his book PeopleSavvy for Sales Professionals, he unveils for the first time his simple but groundbreaking plan to win your customers’ trust and business forever. Get your free sneak preview at http://www.peoplesavvy.com/book.htm

Trial Closes are not Traumatic & The old but true Feel, Felt, Found

Trial Closes are not Traumatic
Although "Closing the Sale" should be nothing more than a logical conclusion to an effective Presentation, some Salespeople make the mistake of trying to use too many "Closes". Unfortunately most Closing techniques ask for a decision which is a challenge for the majority of Prospects and/or Customers since most of them would rather procrastinate.

A great way to start Closing more Sales with a lot less pressure is to use Trial Closes. The true definition of a Trial Close is that is only asks for an opinion instead of a decision. Examples might be;
"How does this sound so far?" or
"Is this the type of opportunity you've been looking for?" or
"Based on everything we've discussed, how does this feel?".

If your Prospect or Customer gives you a weak answer they are indicating that they need more information or might still have one or more questions or concerns. On the other hand if they give you a strong response, you've just completed the Sale.

The old but true Feel, Felt, Found
One of the all time classic selling skills is the "Feel, Felt, Found Formula". It's earned the title of a classic because it works more than it doesn’t work.

You can show people you have empathy for their situation by using the word "Feel". Then you demonstrate that you or others have been in the same situation by using the word "Felt". Finally, you offer them the solution by using the word "Found". The next time you hear an Objection try saying;
"I can certainly understand how you feel because I felt the very same way until I found that . . .".

Although no skill or technique works 100% of the time, this one should definitely be in your arsenal.

Performance Indicators for Coaching Retail Staff to Improve Performance

Most retail stores would agree that they can improve their sales performance. What I observe though, is that store mangers and sales managers often do not know how to get better performance from their staff.

To coach people to improve their performance, a standard is required against which they may be compared. The standards are usually ascribed by a performance indicator. An indicator may be in the form of an observable behaviour, or it may be a numeric or literal indicator.

Coaching retail sales people requires all three types. In my experience, a combination of the following performance indicators generates enough data to coach sales people.

Behavioural indicators may include:

Adherence to a Code of Conduct
Adherence to the organisation's business values as encapsulated in a documented code of conduct. The code of conduct should require adherence to policies and procedures and describe the appropriate interaction between sales people, customers and one another.

Behaviours which go against the code of conduct on the shop floor have a deleterious impact on customer perceptions and on staff morale. They should not be tolerated.

Personal Development
Personal Development is comprised of two indicators:
Attendance at Training Courses
- The percentage of training courses attended by a Sales Consultant of the training courses recommended for the same Sales Consultant over a certain period.
Progress Towards Coaching Targets
- The sales person’s progress in achieving their coaching targets (for numerical targets) and/or changed behaviour (for behavioural targets).

Store managers may also be coached against leadership indicators.

Leadership comprises four elements:
- Completion of coaching sessions with sales people
- Completion of customer service calls (follow-ups and telesales)
- Sales people's adherence to the code of conduct
- Sales people's attendance at training; the percentage of courses attended during a period of the courses recommended over the same period

Literal indicators may include:

Shop Presentation and Merchandising
Shop presentation and merchandising comprises two elements:
- The number of advertising hero lines represented amongst floor stock.
- Adherence to the store merchandising checklist.

Numeric indicators comprise two groups; the overall sales result and sales effectiveness.

Overall sales result

Sales Booked
The $ value of sales booked (i.e. accrued income), over a certain period of time.

The crudest indicator of a sales team or sales individual's results. It gives little information about how effective a sales person is. It is usually required, however, for headline comparison.

Expense Control
Meeting expense targets within budget for a given period.

This is an indicator for the store manager. It gives some information on how efficient the store is when it is expressed as a percentage of sales booked, as well as a straight number.

Gross Margin
Gross profit (sales revenue minus sales costs) divided by sales revenue.

Variations against a target value for product categories reveals information about the tendency to offer discounts to get the sale. If the sales booked number is very good, a low number here may be tolerated. If the sales booked number does not meet the target and this number is low, then some coaching of sales staff is warranted.

Sales effectiveness

Sales by Hours Worked
The $ value of sales booked over a period divided by the number of hours worked over the same period.

This indicator ascribes an individual’s ability to sell. Care needs to be taken to set different targets for individuals with varied levels of experience and ability. Do not set everyone the same target.

Items per Transaction
The number of line items sold over a period divided by the number of transactions occurring over the same period.

This indicator gives an indication of the sales person's ability to cross-sell.

Average Sale Value
The $ value of sales booked over a period divided by the number of transactions occurring over the same period.

This indicator gives an indication of the sales person's ability to up-sell.

Conversion rate
The number of transactions recorded in a period divided by the total number of customers who entered the store in the same period.

This indicator is the strongest indicator of sales ability. It requires a store traffic counting system. The simple ones are cheap and should be used. Properly set up, their accuracy is within the 2 to 3% range. The more sophisticated versions enable indicative conversion rates to be determined for an individual sales person.

When this indicator is combined with items per transaction, the average sale value and the gross margin indicator, any store manager should be able to coach a sales person on their effectiveness.

Warranty Sales
The number of extended warranty sales made over a period, divided by the number of transactions over the same period.

When the sales item is a physical good capable of carrying a warranty, this is a simple indicator of add-on sales effectiveness.

Retail selling appears at times to be an art rather than a behaviour or skill. It is not. It can be coached. To coach any behaviour or skill there must be an appropriate standard to reach and an indicator to measure progress towards the standard.

Utilising a combination of behavioural, numeric and literal indicators related to performance standards, sales people can be coached to improve their performance.

Facts Tell But They Rarely Sell

I recently attended a free seminar at the end of which I fully expected to be pitched. The presenter had a complicated set of slides that alternated between music, animation and other fun effects. As he switched from slide to slide, it became clear that the most interesting part of his presentation was, in fact, the music and the special effects. All of the information he presented on his product was flanked with statistics, bar charts and other data. All of the pertinent information was there but there was one problem. It bored me to tears. Amid the numbers, the statistics and the mission statement his presentation had lost character, personality and appeal. What he needed was more persuasive material.

Have you ever begun to read something with the earnest desire to finish it only to find yourself dropping off after a few paragraphs? Have you ever had a sales presentation going on right in front of you and still found yourself daydreaming? It is true that with all of the best intentions, we sometimes need a great deal to keep our minds focused on one thing for very long. If you are approaching someone with a proposition, if you desire a “yes” in response, your most basic of requirements should be to peak your prospect’s interest.

Traditional corporations teach their salespeople to bombard their prospects with facts, figures, charts and bar graphs until they are subdued into a “yes.” The problem with this theory is those facts and figures are often quite boring. Instead of presenting a number of bland bar charts and graphs, focus your presentation on something with which your prospects can relate. I refer to a quote from a friend and business partner…

“Facts tell, stories sell.”

Stories have more appeal than numbers. They take us to a place with which we are familiar and, if told well enough, can even conjure emotion. When you use an anecdote of a real life situation to exemplify your point, you are more likely to gain the interest of your prospects than if you were using bland numbers and boring charts. The formula is simple, tell a story and make the point, then support it with data and analysis. Repeat. For the next major piece of content, tell a story and make a point, then support with data.

Action step: Do the exercise below in order to cultivate a list of stories that you can use in different selling situations.

1. List the key products and services you sell;

2. Think carefully about all the stories, real case studies and situations that surround success and failure with each product or service. Make a list including cases where someone bought what you sell, used it, and produced results…anything that could persuade others to think favorably of you, your company and what you offer;

3. Choose the most persuasive story for each service or product Practice telling each story and make sure that you tell it very effectively. Stories should illustrate customer satisfaction, referrals you received, how people’s lives were changed, how Rover, the dog, lived four more years, how Nancy lost 150 pounds, how Pee Wee’s stamina and performance improved, and so on;
4. Keep this story list with you on an index card. Use it as a prompt during your next few selling presentations;
5. Day after day as you encounter different people and situations, add stories to your list where appropriate.

When you tell your stories, be as specific as you can. Include names, cities and dates in order to establish creditability. You can even use stories when answering objections, pointing to past clients who have faced similar concerns and overcome them with your product/service. Even past failures can serve a good use in your presentation. Explaining how your product/service fell short in one area in the past can lead into a discussion about how that deficiency has since been corrected and is now one of your company’s strongest points.

When you master the skill of selling with stories, you will find a more engaged audience and increase your chances of getting a “yes.”