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.”

Higher Sales Performance: A Radical New Approach for Setting Sales Goals &

Every sales executive has heard how important it is to set sales goals. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with why you should set sales goals. But I am going to suggest a somewhat radical, new change to the way you currently set goals so you can achieve higher sales performance. And that radical change is this:

Beginning right now, stop setting “YES” goals that revolve around results and productivity and start setting “NO” GOALS instead.

Yes, you heard me right. I’m proposing that you immediately stop focusing on the number of sales you intend to make or dollars you intend to generate. You will achieve higher sales success when you operate with a failure quota. To do this effectively, you must setup a quota for the specific number of times you intend to get rejected or hear “NO.”

Yes, the change I’m suggesting is radically different from what you’re used to. However, the problem with your way and focusing on “YES” goals is what tends to happen when we reach them and achieve success. We actually slow down, become less motivated and reduce the number of calls or presentations we make. We shut down the activities that led to sales success!

How “YES” goals only lead to complacency

Take Bill for example. Bill has had a great Monday. He went on three sales calls and CLOSED them all, going three-for-three. Now, if Bill’s quota is to make three sales for the week, what do you think is going to happen to the number of calls he’s going to make over the next four days?

I bet you twenty bucks that Bill slows down and significantly reduces the number of calls he makes. In fact, Bill may end the week with exactly the number of sales he had already achieved on Monday afternoon… THREE! And in the blink of an eye a great day turned into just an average week.


Because Bill was operating with “YES” goals rather than “NO” Goals.

And the worst part of what Bill has done is he’s just ended what is commonly referred to as a “hot streak!” It’s amazing how sales executives hit a hot streak, have a string of successes and then immediately slow down their production to stay within their comfort zone.

When you’re hot, don’t stop! Keep going! Take advantage of your sales momentum!

Now, let’s look at what would have happened if BILL set “NO” Goals rather than “YES” goals. Let’s say that, traditionally, Bill makes three sales calls a day, four days a week, with the fifth day being spent in the office.

Monday he would have gone out on three calls. And when he closed all three sales he would have then said to himself: “Let’s see, my “NO” goal for the week is 12. Monday is gone and I haven’t gotten a single “NO” yet! Wow! I’m behind! I must step up the number of calls for the next four days if I’m going to hit my “No” goal of 12!”

This time Bill’s sales success will lead to an increased number of sales calls.

And what do you think would happen now?

Bill is going to obliterate his sales goal not only for the week, but also for the month, quarter and the year.

So, should you ditch your success quotas entirely?

If your fixation on your “YES” goals is fooling you into thinking that by merely having the goal you are somehow making progress toward them, then yes I’m suggesting that you get rid of your “YES” goals entirely. Shift your attention exclusively to behaviors necessary to achieving even higher sales performance. This includes setting “NO” goals! Because when you focus on going for “NO” you will achieve higher results. The YESSES will come. They always do!

Avoid the Complicated

Every sales presentation reaches a point of explaining how the proposition works. In even the most energetic of presentations, this element can drastically slow down any pitch. If the explanation is too long, too complicated or just plain boring, you may look across the desk from you and see your prospect’s eyes begin to glaze over. If you are pitching over the phone, this is often the point where you detect a noticeable change in the voice and tone of your prospect.

The important thing to remember in this stage of your presentation is that you should not be trying to explain how your product/service works. Instead, with this step, your objective should be to explain that your proposition is simple enough to work. This means that if you do have a long and complicated process, now is not the time to explain it.

Take the following example: Samuel has approached a work colleague about an opportunity to make money on the side. Having a prior relationship with his colleague, allowed Samuel to present his business opportunity as the answer to all of the problems they had discussed in the past. Though his colleague seems more than interested at the beginning of Samuel’s presentation, he visibly loses interest when Samuel starts to explain the complicated compensation plan.

The organization with which Samuel is involved compensates associates with a binary system. The system requires that recruitment occurs equally in two arms of the business. Samuel pulls out a complicated tree chart that attempts to explain how this process will work. When he does, he notices that his colleague begins to look at the door as though waiting for his chance to escape. Why did Samuel lose his prospect even though he was previously very interested?

There are two extremes that you should avoid when approaching the subject of how your product/service works. The first is confusion. When you have a long and complicated process, consider how much of it your prospects actually need to understand. In this example, Samuel actually started by trying to explain the most complicated facet of the organization, it’s compensation structure. Though it would certainly be one of the main considerations for any potential recruit, a detailed explanation of the chart could follow once Samuel’s prospect is more committed to the idea.

The second important factor to avoid is missing out pertinent details. As you seek to eliminate any confusing information from your presentation, be careful not to weed out any information that may actually help your prospects see how well-suited your products are for their needs. Should Samuel have any great success stories of people who made more money in this binary system than they would have in a less complicated compensation plan, he should certainly mention that. He just doesn’t need to go into the technical details behind it just yet.

When Samuel reworks his presentation to leave out complicated details but still include relevant information, he will dispense with the complicated payout chart. All technical language and data will disappear and be replaced by features and benefits. Better still, they will be described in terms that present a solution to problems his prospect faces.

Action step: go over your product/service explanation. Take out any technical information and group together complicated processes so that you can present them as simple steps.

Many times, presentations are rejected purely because prospects cannot see how the proposition will work. If you complicate your presentation with technical information and irrelevant explanations, you risk assuring your potential buyers that if they say “yes,” to your proposition, you will make their lives more difficult. Instead, focus on a simple explanation that will help you convince your prospects that your product/service will actually make their lives easy.

Changing Their Intentions

Even after a prospect has acknowledged the need for your product/service he or she will often still refuse to buy. This can leave many sales professionals wondering why they lost a sale even when their prospect needed to buy. A sales presentation that relies on the needs of the potential buyer as a tool for closing the deal is missing an important element. Your prospect must take a crucial step in between needing your product/service and actually buying it. To succeed in the selling game, you must understand that people do not buy based on their needs.

I’m going to let you in on a secret that could increase your commissions tenfold: people do not buy what they need, they buy what they want. If you need further proof of this statement, consider the following, people worry about their needs and spend money on their wants. Consider your own behaviors, how often have you known you need to take care of a project which requires your buying some product and put it off until the absolute last minute? Conversely, how often have you brought something because of how much you wanted it and then, after the purchase, come up with a bunch of reasons why you also needed it?

Take the following example: Rita owns a small IT firm and has created a relationship with a local business owner. He contracted her to set up the networking system in his office and home but stopped short of her other services. Since having had many conversations with him about the need for regular backups, Rita was surprised that he expressed no interest in upgrading her services to include setting up a regular information storage plan. Shelia had thought his need for a back up system would automatically result in him purchasing one.

Several weeks later, Shelia got a frantic phone call. Her client was experiencing computer problems thought that he may have lost everything he had filed on his computer. He wanted to know what she could do for him in terms of restoring the information and, more importantly, making sure this never happened to him again. Even though the problems he now faced were totally predictable, they meant nothing to her client until they actually happened to him. Rita was able to secure a contract to perform regular checks of the system as well as ensure that all information is adequately backed up.

This is all very well and good, but you cannot wait until some third party, or unforeseen circumstances move your prospects from needing what you are selling to wanting it. In your sales presentations, you must seek to convert people’s needs to wants by changing the urgency and usefulness that they attribute to what you are selling.

Action step: Ensure that when you speak about your product/service, your presentation always speaks to people’s wants and not their needs.

There are two easy ways to distinguish between wants and needs. Needs are fact based issues that have future consequences whereas wants are emotionally based and bring with them present appeal. Position yourself, your product and your service as a want and you wield great influence over your prospects’ decisions.

How to Use Sales Psychology to Create More Lifetime Clients Now

My Customer is Ticking Me Off!

That was the recent comment I heard from a seasoned sales professional. He then described the customer's controlling nature including how he would often interrupt, and want answers in Cliffs Notes version.

The sales person had a style mismatch. He was choosing to be upset by the customer's actions.

After letting him unload, I asked him how he's adapting to the customer.

"Adapt?" he asked, puzzled.

I said, "You could just live in your hurt feelings, like you've been doing. Or you could choose to pay closer attention to your customer and work with him the way he wants to be worked with. Specifically, allow this customer to have control over the sales call, give him the information he needs in the timing he needs it, and allow him to cut you off."

Ultimately when you allow your customer to win, you'll end up winning too. Your customers don't necessarily want to be your friends. They want to be your customers because they need your products and services, don't they?"

How to Make Sales, Not War

War metaphors such as "It was a hard fought battle" or "We had to punch the proposal through their defenses" are often used to describe the sales process. However, a more elegant and effective sales close approach is to give the customer what he or she wants in the way they want it with a nice ribbon around the package.

When the customer perceives you as the expert who really understands what he or she needs and when you give it to them in the way they recognize as serving their needs, you automatically turn an adversary into an ally. This will turn your customers into lifetime customers.

The Ultimate Secret to Turning Customers Into Lifetime Customers

Many companies struggle when differentiating their products or services. When you know how to adapt your personal selling style to align with that of the customer, you become the point of differentiation.

This requires you to be very aware of your approach to selling and the customer's approach to buying.

For example, high-steadiness behavior types hate change. When a sales person shows up, he or she represents change, and that alone is enough to cause the customer to freeze. High-conscientious types often want detailed facts and figures, delivered with precision.

We're most successful when our approach is identical to the customers. So you may find it beneficial to adapt your approach to theirs, even if it's not your natural style.

Salespeople who have learned the secret to adapting profoundly increase their sales because they possess the ability to sell to different kinds of people.

How to Identify Your Style and the Style of Your Customers

I gave the person I was coaching the following explanation so he could identify his style and the styles of his customers:

"D" Behavior – Demanding, directing and domineering. Individuals with this behavior style are usually ambitious, bold and impatient. They can also be argumentative and stubborn.

"I" Behavior – Interacting, inspiring, and influencing. Individuals with this behavior style are often expressive, charming, optimistic, cheerful and enthusiastic.

"S" Behavior – Supporting, stabilizing and steadying. These individuals are usually loyal, calm, patient, cooperative and humble.

"C" Behavior – Conscientious, cautious and correcting. These individuals are often diplomatic, meticulous, private, incisive and exact.

How to Put This Knowledge Into Action During Two Key Stages of the Sales Process

Opening the call:

- Customer behavior type D: Be clear, specific, brief, and to the point.

- Customer behavior type I: Be friendly. Listen for both facts and feelings. Make time for relating and socializing.

- Customer behavior type S: Be genuinely sincere. Create a non-threatening environment for them.

- Customer behavior type C: Ask lots of questions and be patient while they answer in minute detail.

Obtaining commitment:

- Customer behavior type D – Briefly highlight their key options and ask for the order assertively.

- Customer behavior type I – Inspire them to action. Keep the close relaxed and friendly.

- Customer behavior type S – Detail how they can take practical action and confirm without pushing or rushing them.

- Customer behavior type C – Create a scheduled approach to implementing action with step-by-step timetables. Point out guarantees.

You can double or even triple your sales by getting a grasp on your customer's behavioral style. It will make a difference in your sales figures and will turn one-time customers into lifetime customers.

How to Persuade Others

The power to persuade should never be underestimated. It can help you in your personal and professional life. When you learn how to bring people around to your way of thinking you learn how to influence their actions. Mastering the art of persuasion and influence can have a tremendous effect on your work life, your family life and your social.

Whether you are in a business situation, selling products or services to a prospect, a family situation bargaining with your kids to go to bed on time or in a social situation, seeking to bring your friends to your way of thinking, the basic elements of persuasion are the same. You must approach your subject with a well planned presentation designed to convince them of your logic.

Take the following example: in an effort to get publicity for her new restaurant, Ginger attempts to get a local reporter with a popular column to attend her grand opening. She starts by telling him about her new menu and the avant-garde dishes she learned from her time in Europe. She goes on to talk about the décor and the interesting background of the designer she hired and as a last ditch attempt to get more enthusiasm from the other end of the line, she talks about the crowd she anticipates.

Ginger’s three approaches fail. When she planned her presentation, much thought and effort went into what she would say about her restaurant but little went into what the columnist would actually find interesting.

There is a simple set of steps I tend to take when trying to persuade someone. I have found, like a scientific experiment they can be repeated over and over with similar results. First, Ginger needs to check her own demeanor. When you walk into an impossible situation you should believe without a doubt that what you want is possible. Your voice, stance and approach should project this belief.

Second be sure to inject gratitude. Don’t just wait until you have what you want, show gratitude before you get it. You change the relationship between you and the person you are trying to persuade when he or she sees you as someone who appreciates their efforts. Third, be respectful of the other person’s time. Asking if he is on deadline would have shown the reporter that Ginger understood his position.

Ginger began her conversation talking about herself, her restaurant, her menu and her hopes for the event. These were not issues the reporter cared about. In order to get this reporter interested in her proposition, Ginger should seek to present it in a way that matters to him. Reporters write stories, not menu critiques, how could he present this to his readers in a way that they would want to read about? Was he a reporter at a local or national magazine? This would affect the possible angles the story could take. He has no reason to be interested in a straight restaurant critique any more than his readers would. With an approach more tailored to hit the objectives of her target, Ginger could have had a more successful pitch.

Persuasion powers can do wonders for your sales career, it can even do wonders for your personal life. To acquire and achieve great things both professionally and personally, you must learn how to ask for them in the right way. When you unlock the key to powerful persuasion, you unlock the key to influencing others. This is the greatest of interpersonal skills.

How 2 give your salesforce 10 definite do’s

By Polly Anderson of Salespunch

I,m told that parts of Southern Europe are littered with T.I.R.E.D.s (Thirty-Something Independent Radical Educated Drop-outs)- people who have walked away from big jobs because they just -weren,t happy...

Salespeople should be as far removed from T.I.R.E.D.s as it is possible to be. Creating wealth is a big job - and this most misunderstood role is about creating wealth for your business... or it should be...

Have you got the right people? Are you getting the best from them? Here are 10 sign-posts to help you decide.

1. Do be clear about why you are in this profession

Lots of companies template the role. Fewer template the human being who is likely to succeed in the role. A good starting point is to be clear about the attributes you really need. We advocate the construction of a template which we call K.A.S.H. . It breaks down the profile of the type of person you require under the columns of ,Desirable, Essential, and ,Unacceptable -within four broad categories:

. Knowledge
. Attitudes
. Skills
. Habits

In considering the ,Attitude, category - your salesperson should be passionate about his / her role.
,Age wrinkles the face, but a lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul....

You must have enthusiasm. In a personal sense, this is one of the most central attributes. All successful salespeople possess enthusiasm. They will meet plenty of apathy and inertia along the way- but apathy and inertia can,t live for long with real, unadulterated enthusiasm.

Your customers will very often base much of their opinion of your company upon what they have seen and heard from your salesperson. If your salespeople are not enthusiastic how on earth can they expect their customers to be enthusiastic?
You also require energy of your salespeople-and you need people who can be bold. Both of these qualities are essential if your salesperson is to really penetrate your customer,s organisation -getting to new contacts to influence decision-making - and gaining referrals to new opportunities.

T.I.R.E.D.s lack enthusiasm and are neither bold nor energetic....
In the UK in 2003 the number of employees went up by 9,000. The number of self-employed people rose by 282,000. I bet these people aren,t T.I.R.E.D s either...!!

2. Do look and act as if you mean it...

First impressions are SO very important. At Salespunch we believe that the first impression is one of the great missed opportunities in selling.

Research has shown that it can take up to 15 subsequent meetings to correct a bad first impression. Harvard studies have shown that 93% of our first time impact on others is non-verbal. Given such compelling evidence, it is hard to understand why so many foul up their early meetings with customers and do not give it a second thought. The basic ,stepping stones, are not complicated:

. Check the name of the person who presents themselves (to ensure that you,ve got the right contact) and introduce yourself - your name alone will suffice at the moment because you are just about to...
. Swap business cards early (the spelling of your contact,s name and job title are then right under your nose)
. Clarify the time available (shows respect for the customer,s time and yours)
. Be better and different from the herd by getting down to business promptly and politely avoiding the ,nonsense talk, which so many people lean on
. Have a carefully prepared ,thumbnail sketch, to briefly introduce your company in a relevant fashion.
. Clarify the objectives of the meeting succinctly
. Motivate your customer to answer your questions (give a reason why he should answer your questions - rather than a reason why you are going to ask them...)
. Be ready and prepared to make notes (i.e. have writing material in front of you ready to go-rather than fishing about in your briefcase for pen and paper wasting time and losing eye contact)

To strike a mercenary note: studies from London Metropolitan University show a direct link between earnings and what we wear. A badly dressed man will earn 15% less and a poorly dressed woman will reduce her earnings by 11%. In short, it is vitally important to look like you mean business. Books have been written on this subject and there isn,t the scope within this article to cover the necessary detail comprehensively but here are a few thoughts:

. Whether we like it or not, we are being assessed from the moment we walk through the door -and people usually -whiteness test- visitors within a few minutes
. I once worked with a very savvy lady who said that she ,couldn,t take a man seriously who wasn,t wearing leather-soled shoes...
. Business people carry briefcases. Market researchers in anoraks carry clip-boards and folders
. It,s hard to present a modern message in an old-fashioned outfit. Your appearance says a lot about you. A chalk-striped suit and braces might be right for a merchant bank but might not be right for a dot.com enterprise.
. Casual clothes often sub-consciously trigger casual behaviour
. Consider the words / phrases you use. Are they right for your customer? Are you using ,jargon, which is inappropriate / incomprehensible?
. Do you look and act like the kind of professional (and de facto representative of your company) your customer would trust and rely upon?

3. Do know your sales propositions back-to-front

,One of the most important things an organisation can do is to determine exactly what business it is in.-Peter Drucker

I recently went around a room of 15 people at a sales conference - and got 15 different descriptions of the business they believed they were in....!

Starting with a consistent (i.e. company-wide) view of what you deliver for your customers, consider specifically where you potentially ,zoom-in, and add value for the prospect you are currently focused on. This will be driven by your pre-call preparation.
Think through in some detail where and how the differentiated advantages of your products / services are likely to connect meaningfully for differing types of decision-influencing contact within the organisation. Then, critically, think through the acknowledged needs which you would ideally like to identify which will allow you to connect the differentiated advantages in a quantifiable fashion.

Moral of the story: know where and how your product / service adds its value -and be clear about the needs you must establish to highlight this value to the customer..

4. Do be aware of the customer,s position

Every ,why didn,t we win? / why did we lose it? survey we,ve ever seen says:-THEY DIDN,T UNDERSTAND OUR BUSINESS....

Over and over again we see that salespeople just do not take the time and trouble to find out about their prospect,s business. They rarely get beyond the headline facts about the people they are selling to. A genuine interest in the business of the person sitting the other side of the desk surely should be a pre-requisite...? In a technologically-empowered age there is so much at our fingertips. Knowledge is power... so... to position yourself most favourably to win, here are some hints:

. What does their business position look like? How has it grown? What are their future plans?
. Market position
. Overall size of business
. Profit levels
. Business unit structure
. What do they sell and what are their value propositions?
. Who are their competitors? Where are the competitors a threat?
. Where are the sources of influence within their industry / industries?

5. Do avoid assumptions

Given the right level of preparation, our ability to fit the right, mutually profitable solution in place depends on how well we can identify the problem. You will not identify the problem by telling your customer how wonderful you are -or by dumping a lot of data in his lap before you understand the full extent of his problems and issues... in fact you will not identify the problem, FULL STOP, by telling him anything....
But it,s tempting isn,t it...? There might be some early signs, or even some early comments / signals of interest from the customer -and because you,ve heard it all before, there is a real urge to segue straight into a technicolour description of what you can do for him... But you must not...

Remember the N.A.F.O.F. principle:


6. Do ask plenty of questions....

By a nose, making too many assumptions is the 2nd biggest make which we see salespeople making. The biggest mistake is ..... they pitch far too early...!!

In ,frothier, times gone by, salespeople have hit their targets by taking orders from people with decent budgets to spend. More recently we have noticed though that the budget-setters (as opposed to the budget-spenders) more regularly intercede and expect to see clear evidence that the products being presented to them represent a real return on investment for their business. Without this evidence the cheque is unlikely to be forthcoming.... and what,s more it is not likely that the ,frothier, times are ever coming back... The ROI will continually need to be demonstrated. What this means to you is:

. You must appreciate in a deep and wide sense where and how your product / service potentially achieves business value for your customer (see section 3 on sales propositions above)
. You must be very well equipped to drill into the quantifiable needs and wants (needs are logically based; wants are emotionally based) of your customer to make the connection with your sales propositions.. Thus - you need to be accomplished at asking incisive and thought-provoking questions...

Your questions should gradually explore where the needs and wants for your propositions are - in particular you need to know where the pressure, cost, pain etc is.
On each broad subject ensure that your earlier questions are quite broad and less obviously associated with the subject matter - then use more searching ,leading, questions when you have plenty of information obtained from the broader questions.
As a rule of thumb keep your questions -open- so that you optimise the likelihood of a fuller answer.

Group your broad subjects in a logical sequence - but be prepared to move them around according to the way the conversation shakes out.

As your questioning progresses take every opportunity to quantify the cost, pain, pressure etc. This of course will provide you with the hard -evidence- required when you are ready to present your solution later.

7. Do listen to the answers you get to your questions

Listening is a skill which most of us need to develop. Having asked the incisive questions, it makes a lot of sense to listen carefully to the answers...!!

. Are you active with your listening...?
. Are you watching and listening carefully...? (E.g ...that,s a little outside of my budget... as opposed to: .. that,s much too expensive for us... or the sharp tactical intake of breath when the price is presented: h --- o ---w much....?)
. Are you avoiding distractions?
. If you do not fully understand, do you politely challenge the speaker...?
. Do you make enough notes? (See below)

8. Do summarise en route

A meaningful summary will be difficult if you haven,t made good notes (unless you have a phenomenal memory...!!)

You almost cannot summarise too often. There is no better way of clearly demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in what the customer is saying and that you have been listening. Also, if your summary is a little off-target, your customer can re-interpret for you without any ,loss of face, on your part (...no.. that,s not quite what I meant...)

A full summary of your customer,s needs and wants is necessary BEFORE you present your solution. Furthermore, you should not move into the presentation until you have received firm affirmation that your summary has hit the target.

9. Do get to grips with how decisions are made

It makes sense to understand how the buying decision is made (the process). My view though is that it is vital to identify who the people making the decision are - and how the dynamics between them work. Three ,Magnetic North, themes are:

. Organisations do not buy - people do
. All men are equal, but some are more equal than others
. Do not confuse the process of evaluation with the process of making a decision.

The relevant players need to be categorised in relation to their influence and support for your proposal in this kind of fashion

This should then become the template for organising yourself to convert the ,Threats, and capitalise on the support of your ,Drivers, and ,Advocates.

10. Do ensure that your solution is on target and fits your customer,s needs & wants

I read recently that when Alistair Campbell rescued someone from a mugger he was greeted with: You,re Alistair Campbell aren,t you...? I f****ng hate you...

Moral of story: trying hard to meet the real needs & wants of the customer with your solution just isn,t good enough-your solution must meet the needs as the customer sees them.

Along the way, with good questioning, rooted in your sales propositions, it is possible to develop these needs & wants significantly. In the final strait though you must ensure that what you present corresponds with the position as the customer sees it.
Reach back into your summary and take one need & want at a time. Link it with the applicable advantage of your product / service (with a ,proof, if appropriate) and tie this in to the very specific, quantified, benefit which (if your questioning earlier in the dialogue was incisive) should ,ring the bell, loudly. You will need to repeat this cycle as many times as you have needs & wants in your summary.

You should ask ,gentle, commitment-related questions at the end of each cycle (how does that sound? ,Is that on-target...?) except at the final stage when a more finite commitment-related question is appropriate. (So when can we do some business together? ,Do I need a purchase order number?)


So there you have it. Ten do,s for success in selling:

. Do be clear about why you are in this wonderful profession in the first place...and from the manager,s perspective, be clear about the attributes you need. (You may wish to avoid T.I.R.E.D,s ....)
. Do look and act as if you mean business
. Do be exceptionally well immersed in your sales propositions
. Do take the time and trouble to really understand the depth of your customer,s business position
. Do avoid assumptions
. Do ask incisive questions which are driven by your sales propositions
. Do listen carefully
. Do recognise the power and relevance of the summary
. Do carefully quantify the influence of the players within the customer,s decision-making process
. Do ensure that you present your solution in a way which is bolted into the quantified needs & wants of your customer.

Influencing Buyer Decisions

One of the most influential factors in your sales success is your ability to develop relationships. People use emotion in every buying decision. This principle holds true even for sales reps selling business to business, after all, even in a corporate environment the final decisions will still be made by a person. In your quest to develop good relationships with your buyers you do not have to be ingratiating or otherwise insincere, it is simply essential that you pay attention to the way your prospects feel about you, adding a personal element to your approach rather than treating every situation like a cold business transaction.

The significance of relationships in selling can never be underestimated. Whether you are a network marketer selling to your friends or a corporate sales person selling to a buyer, it is important to note that nobody sells to a company. People sell to people and emotions automatically enter into these decisions. How the buyer feels about the seller is bound to have an affect on the sale. In all of your sales endeavors you should ensure that you are polite, kind and gracious, but there is more that you can do to build a relationship in which you have great influence.

Take the following example: Kelly purchases a small gift products company that has a relationship with a prominent chain store retailer in her niche market of inspirational gift items. Shortly after buying the company, Kelly gets a call from the head buyer at this chain store informing her that he would like to return the latest seasonal items that did not sell during the special season. Kelly is incensed by this request especially when she sees how much product he expects to return. She tells him no, since all seasonal product sales are final and refuses to accept the return.

The head buyer at this corporation is hoping mad. It seems in his relationship with the previous owners, they had an unofficial agreement that allowed him to return all seasonal items not sold. Based on that relationship, he regularly stocked up all 300 of his stores knowing that there was virtually no risk in it for him. Now that this new owner was not accepting his return, the bottom line would be greatly affected by the products that didn’t sell during the special season. Even worse, he personally would look less than competent to his manager who would want an explanation for the loss.

Without knowing it, Kelly has just severed a relationship with an important buyer. This man, whose decisions oversee the stocking of 300 stores, will no longer take her calls, buy her product or see her outside sales reps. By the time Kelly realizes the impact of her decision, she cannot even get a meeting in which to try to make amends.

Action step: When in a crisis with a good customer, always focus on the impact that the outcome will have on your relationship.

Had Kelly calculated the cost of the return versus the profit of monthly invoices for 300 stores, she might have taken a different approach to her client’s request. The impact of her decision has gone beyond a mere business situation and become personal because the buyer now has to give an explanation to his boss for this mess. In the blink of an eye, the entire chain store is no longer available to Kelly, her products or her outside sales reps.

Preserving the friendship, association or goodwill of the buyer is often more important than the product or service itself. No one sells to a company and in all situations you must consider the impact of your actions on the person you are dealing with. Remember, we are only human, and as such rely on emotions in every decision. If you want to wield great influence, increase your effectiveness, or just enjoy the function of your sales job, make great efforts to develop good relationships with your buyers.

Are You Having Sales Conversations From Your Head?

Are you having sales conversations from your head? If you are, chances are that you are struggling with selling your services. Get out of your head and speak from your heart and watch how much easier your sales flow.

Does this sound like you?

*You ask questions in a very business-like and formal manner that doesn't sound like the 'real' you.
*You ask very "safe" questions that only relate to your potential clients' business.
*You stay well clear of emotion and feelings with your questions.
*You really want to get the answer to your questions so you can move on and get the sale.

If you answered yes to all or some of the above, chances are you are struggling with selling your services. Why? You are having sales conversations from your head and you are only letting your logical, rational, 'safe' self participate in the conversation. And because you are speaking from your head your potential client will only speak from their head too.

If you speak from your head, you will get very business-like, rational answers to your questions. The answers you get will only touch the surface. You will not get the real answers; the answers which will make your potential client take action and buy from you. You will only get the real answers if they speak to you from their heart.

How do you get someone to speak to you from their heart? Well the first step is for you to speak from yours. If you speak from your heart (and you are sincere and authentic) then chances are your potential client will speak from theirs.

Speaking from your heart has numerous benefits for you. Speaking from your heart will take the rapport and trust in your relationship to a much deeper level and it will help you get 'real' answers to your questions. Your sales conversations will be so much easier and natural for you - and even fun. Also when you are speaking from your heart, you will be more attuned to your intuition and letting it guide you in the sales conversation.

So how do you speak from your heart?

Here are 4 tips to speaking from your heart.

Tip #1

Give yourself permission to be the natural, authentic you when having a sales conversation. Be consistent, like the person you are when you are with your friends. Speak your truth. Take off your mask and let the 'real' you come through.

Yes, it does involve taking a risk and opening yourself up in the conversation. However, if you want your potential client to open up to you, you need to take that risk first. Be the 'real' you and people will feel a lot more comfortable about being the 'real' them.

Tip #2

Be sincere, open and honest in all your communications. If you're honest and sincere, you'll get honesty in return. Plus the more open and honest you are, the more your potential client will trust you and the greater the rapport. When trust and rapport are present, you will feel a lot more relaxed and more inclined to be the 'real' you and you will naturally speak from your heart.

Tip #3

Get really clear about the value of your product and services and the difference they make to your clients' lives. A good way to do this is to ask your clients about their experience working with you. As you get clearer and clearer on the results you produce and on the value your deliver, your passion will grow. As your passion grows, you will start to naturally speak from your heart.

Tip #4

Forget about selling and simply have a sales conversation to see if you can help your potential client get what they want. Just come from a place of wanting to help them if you can. Want what is best for them whether it is your product and services or not.

Apply these tips and have conversations from your heart and notice the difference in the depth of your conversations. As you go deeper in your conversations, they start to become magical. Try it and see.

No, a Logical Analysis

As a sales professional it strikes me as strange that most sales training sessions give little or no attention to teaching methods to deal with rejection. While I have written much about the emotional reaction that often follows rejection, I also feel it is important to develop a logical reaction to the word no. In sales situations, when a rejection comes as a surprise or without explanation, it can, for lack of a better term, simply bug you. A rational, logic analysis of why that no came about can go a long way towards getting a yes in the future.

In my sales experiences, I have found that when people say no the reason almost always falls into one of three categories. I could always attribute the rejection to either thinking, positioning or just gut feelings. Whenever my analysis led me to believe the prospect declined because of a gut feeling, one of two things would prove true: either the prospect did not like or trust the sales person or the prospect did not like or trust the company.

Take the following example: Ann decides to approach a friend and neighbor with a network marketing opportunity. Her prospect has talked a great deal about needing extra income and has even mentioned being interested in the direct selling business model. However, when Ann uses the sales script she has been given by the company, she notices as abrupt lack of interest from her prospect.

When he refuses to join, Ann asks him why. “I just don’t believe that what you’re telling me is true,” he answers. Ann’s script begins by telling her prospects that the product compensation plan is very complicated so “I won’t bother to go into that now, let’s just talk about the recruitment compensation plan.” Another part of the script, which tries to explain how the company’s binary recruiting plan works has Ann saying “All you have to do is sign up two people and you will probably never have to work again.” The script ends with a pressure technique. “I would encourage you to sign up now, if you leave that door to think about it, you’ll never follow through.”

Her good friend has quite honestly told her that he does not trust the company she has presented to him. When she began lessening the importance of the sale of product, he worried that she might be in a scheme that relies on revenue from recruits rather than products or services. When she claimed that after bringing on two new people, he would be able to kick his feet up and relax, he was not impressed, after all, she had seven recruits and was still working her full time job. When she ended with a pressure tactic that encouraged him to abandon logic and reason, he recoiled, sure that she must realize that more thought would probably lead to a no. A script that assumes your prospect is not smart enough to see giant holes within its claims will have the negative effect of creating mistrust within your prospects.

With the intense competition sales professionals face in almost every industry, it can be very difficult to make a sale with a prospect who simply does not trust you or your company. While it is necessary to create positive energy and excitement about what can be accomplished in a true opportunity, exaggerated claims will only convince a few. Should your sales meetings leave your prospects with the feeling that they have been given unrealistic promises, it will be difficult to retain any interest. Commit to developing trust with your prospects, even while you create enthusiasm for your opportunity. In most cases, the approach will be duly noted and may increase your powers of persuasion and influence.

Excel Your Sales Career: How to Overcome Fear, Beat Your Competition and Ac

As a sale professional, what would you do in this situation?

Your new client just signed an agreement putting you way ahead of the previous year. Not only would it catapult you in your organization and the industry, your personal income was about to reach new heights. Then, the following week, the person who signed the contract is replaced and in walks a new decision maker.

His first order of business is to cancel all new contracts because of a strategic change in the company's direction. There is no real logic to this cancellation and it can absolutely change the game. On top of that, the new guy brought all of his old relationships including your largest competitor.

How would you react? How would you handle your fears?

1. After receiving the news you go home crushed by the days events. You spend considerable time pondering how it will affect your future. You consider the ramifications of finishing the quarter at the low end of the sales rankings. Your concern grows as you review your monthly bills. Alternative strategies aren't even a consideration. You do nothing but ponder the damage to your career that has just taken place. You feel hopeless.

2. You go home and after a few minutes alone in the mental fetal position, you question your entire identity, purpose, and career path. Although brief, self doubt rules the moment. A short time later you emerge out. You hunker down and develop your best strategy to win back the client using all of the tools available. Additionally, you identify where you are going to replace that revenue should you fail. You explore and create options. You become stronger because you know the fight is just getting good.

As you can see both options have aspects of fear. But only one option (choice 2) will help you overcome your fear and help you excel in sales. The other option (choice 1) will polarize you and your business

How Fear Can Polarize You and Your Business.

- Fear can cause target fixation as we impose our will and try to force unnatural outcomes.
- Fear can cause us to refuse to develop alternative plans because we struggle with clouded thinking.
- Fear can cause us to replace logic with unsubstantiated emotion.
- Fear can make us hostages to our nagging thoughts that create an escalated feeling of doom and gloom.
- Fear usually keeps us conservative. As a result our business lives go void of any risk taking.

Even great sales professionals with tremendous track records have fear. The difference is that the best are fearful of not being the best, or not winning. They use fear to make them more competitive. The best sales people don't let fear rule them.

Struggling salespeople are fearful of losing. They are stuck in a comfort zone. They let fear interfere with their sales careers and their personal lives.

Now, which type of sales person do you want to be?

3 Simple Steps to Overcoming Your Fears & Excelling Your Sales Career

1. Name something that you were fearful of that you absolutely didn't get through. Can't name anything can you? We get through everything.

2. Develop a plan B and take action immediately. Have plan C ready to go in case you need it.

3. Recognize what your mind and body does when fear pays a visit. Invite it in, and then invite it to leave.

Excelling in sales is about going where no others will go. Don't try to tell me there's no fear attached to that. The key is to recognize and use your fear so that it becomes your friend. Healthy fear tells us we're on the edge of breakthrough achievement. We're in the right place doing the right thing. That's a little different than letting fear own us.

Go be great!

6 Sales Myths Busted

There are a lot of sales myths that not only diminish your chances of success, they also make selling more complicated and harder than necessary. Selling is, in fact, quite simple, provided you know, understand and apply some fundamentals. And you ignore sales myths.

Here are 6 Sales Myths:

Myth #1: Selling is a numbers game. The greater the quantity of prospects you're working on the higher your chances of success.
Truth: Selling is only a numbers game if you want to waste time and money going after sales that have no chance of success.

Selling is a qualified numbers game. The more qualified prospects you have, the more sales you'll make. It's not about the quantity of prospects but the quality. If prospects are qualified, they are already in the quality category. If you have a list of qualified prospects you're working on, chances are that a high percentage will turn into clients.

Myth #2: Learn closing techniques as you need them to close the sale.
Truth: Closing techniques are not necessary for closing sales.

Closing techniques are not necessary to close sales unless, of course, you are into high-pressure selling (and if you are, I hope you're not one of my readers, as my style is not for you). Don't waste your time learning closing techniques. Instead, spend your time learning how to have a sales conversation which naturally leads to your prospect wanting to do business with you. The only "closing" you have to do is suggest the next step.

Myth #3: There are natural born salespeople.
Truth: Selling is a science, a learnable skill and process that anyone can learn.

"Fast talkers" are often mistakenly thought of as natural born salespeople when, in fact, fast talking repels most people. Talking doesn't sell. Asking questions and listening does.

Those who are doing very well at selling are often thought to be successful because they are natural born salespeople. Their "naturalness" has, in fact, been hard earned. They have spent a lot of time and effort learning and applying sales skills.

Myth #4: If you improve your sales skills you will improve your sales results.
Truth: This is what I call a 'half' myth. To improve your sales results, focus on improving your sales skills and also work on your thoughts and beliefs.

Having sales skills is only part of the equation. No matter how good your sales skills are there will always be a ceiling on your sales results. The ceiling on your sales results is set by YOU because of your beliefs and thoughts (mindset). If you really want to lift the ceiling on your sales results learn the total equation of selling. Your sales skills plus your mindset determine your sales results.

Myth #5: Focus on getting the sale.
Truth: Focus on helping your prospect get what they want.

If your focus and intention is on selling, selling, selling, you will repel, repel, repel. People don't like to be sold, and if you are focusing on selling, chances are high that your prospect will be looking for ways to quickly end the conversation.

Instead have your focus and intention on having a conversation to understand if you can help your prospect get what they want. Do this and watch how they open up and listen to how you can help them. With your intent on helping people get what they want you will make more sales.

Myth #6: Focus on selling your solution.
Truth: Focus on selling the customer their end result.

People don't care about your products, your services or your solution as that is not what they're buying. What they are buying is an end result. Your product, services and solution are simply the enabler - the method/process used to get their end result. This is a subtle distinction that will make all the difference to your sales approach and results.

After reading these 6 Sales Myths and Truths, I request that you map out some action steps you can take now to apply or benefit from these truths. A few simple action steps based on these truths have the potential to dramatically improve your sales results. Try it and see.

Internet Impact on Customer's Buying Process

The internet has changed the face of retail selling. Customers are able to search for information and evaluate alternatives on-line. In store retail sales processes have, in many organisations failed to adapt to the increased power consumers have now.

All retail sales people at some time will be taught a sales process.

The sales process and the goal of each step will look something like:

Step One: Planning and Preparation. - Ensure you have all and understand the information to make a sale
Step Two: Opening the Sale. - Establish a person-person relationship and breakdown resistance
Step Three: Probing. - Determine what and why and establish trust
Step Four: Demonstration. - Establish the value of the merchandise and create desire
Step Five: Trial Close. - Cement the sale on the primary item and identify what else the customer needs to make a purchase
Step Six: Handling Objections. - To determine real reason for the customer not buying, identify ways to add more value and build trust
Step Seven: Closing the Sale. - Increase closing ratio and overall productivity
Step Eight: Follow-up. - Establish a relationship with customer - create positive 'word of mouth'
Creating an environment where sales people can learn and practise the sales process with immediate feedback on parts of the process they do well and parts which they do not do well has a positive impact on most sales teams.

However, to reach our potential sales, having a well practised sales process today is not enough.

The customer's buying process has changed. Or more accurately, the channels through which customers execute the elements of their buying process have changed.

Retail customers buying process follows this form:

Step One: Need recognition or problem awareness. For example, I'm renovating my kitchen and need to look at what is around in the way of ovens, stoves and cook-tops
Step Two: Information Search. For example, I'm not too sure what I really want. I'm not sure if I want an all in one stove, or a separate oven and cook-top
Step Three: Evaluation of alternatives. For example, Ilvie is a reputable brand name but how much will the one I want cost? What is included in that price? Who has the best price? Is there an extended warranty? Can I get a package?
Step Four: Make a purchase. For example, I can get the same unit at one of the competitors, and they will provide an extended warranty, what can you offer?
Step Five: Post purchase evaluation. For example, I'm happy with what I have, it was delivered and installed on time and works as I hoped. I'll go back to the same place and recommend them to others.
Before and after step four, customers require a lot of information. The more involved they are in the purchase, the more information they need.

Prior to the internet, the channel selling the goods controlled not only the physical distribution chain but also the information distribution chain. The information mediums including brochures, flyers, posters, advertisements and word of mouth were directly controlled or heavily influenced by the selling organisation.

Since the advent of the internet, goods made of packets of data can be delivered via the internet whilst physical goods must still be delivered by physical means under the control of the seller. However, the information component is not only delivered over the internet, but the control is no longer with the seller.

Web 2.0 technology including blogs, wikis and social networks are increasingly giving independence to control information flow. Hundreds of product reviews are easily available on products from books to cars. People write about their experience without fear or favour.

Organisations can influence what is said by posting their own blogs but must take care not to sound like any other on-line brochure. Internet-savvy consumers pick a slick marketing blog at first glance.

Building or contributing openly to a wiki or blog about the products and services they sell is daunting to most organisations. However, one suspects that the first organisations to do it effectively will reap the benefits of trust building outside of the in-store sales process.

The increased use of Web 2.0 tools also forces in-store changes of emphasis in the sales process.

For example, preparation now needs to include a review of what is said on the web about the products they sell. Memorising prices, features, advantages and benefits is not enough.

Trial closes can take advantage of popular add-ons described on-line. Objection handling training must cater for the most regular complaints and unfulfilled expectations posted on-line.

The adage, information is power, is evident in the customer's purchasing behaviours. Web 2.0 technologies magnify that power. Retail sales organisations must build strategies and tactics into their sales process inclusive of the shift of power over information in the customer's buying process.

How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills & Get the Best Possible Deal by Play

History is full of examples where playing games prepared professionals for real life experiences. For example some research indicates that Xiangqui, a Chinese form of chess played in the 2nd Century BC, helped leaders learn the art of war. Today, new research indicates that multi-player on-line games prepare employees for teamwork and analytical thinking.

While that's not necessarily a reason to demonstrate leniency when you catch your workers playing games on-line during work hours, it may at least provide some side benefit to their work performance.

A little less high tech, though possibly even more complex, poker offers practice in some very valuable negotiating skills. Top-notch poker players "read" their opponents carefully. They observe subtle body language and other cues to pick up information that they will use to move closer to their ultimate goal: winning.

Master negotiators do the same.

Why Your Sales Team's Ability to Read Their Opponent's Actions is Critical to Getting the Best Deal They Can.

When a person does something that is unnatural for them, stress automatically emerges. As human beings we may give off a number of different signals that we're under stress. In poker these are called "tells." Having a winning hand and the opportunity to win a pot of money is often unnatural for an individual, and this causes stress. Weak hands cause a different kind of stress and require even more skill to bluff and see things through to a win.

There is a golden rule in poker that applies to negotiating as well: A strong opponent will try to act weak, while a weak opponent will try to act strong. Knowing this single basic tenet will give you and your people a significant edge over those who are not aware of it. Some observable behaviors that showcase the golden rule in negotiations are:

- Acting Uninterested in a Deal While Still In It usually means that the person is negotiating from strength.

- Hands Shaking or Trembling may be an indication that the person is excited about the deal and is often a signal that they are negotiating from strength.

- Rapid Breathing is almost always a giveaway that the person is excited about the deal.

- Sighing and Shrugging often demonstrates a person acting to cover a position of strength.

- Staring Down Other Players is usually done by someone who is trying to appear strong. This usually means the person is negotiating from a position of weakness.

- Holding One's Breath is often done by inexperienced negotiators when bluffing. Essentially they're waiting (holding their breath in anticipation) to see if the opponent will take the phony bait.

- Chatting Too Much. Some people playing poker will start to chatter and talk too much when they're nervous. They will do the same thing at the negotiating table. Most master negotiators don't have a lot of side conversations. They know that a slip of the tongue may give away their position. However, if they know that their opponent is weak, they may engage him or her hoping that the other person may give away their position. And, the weak party often does. So when the very shy quiet guy suddenly starts talking, it's time to start watching closely. He or she wouldn't be relaxed unless they were confident.

Play Poker and Increase Your Negotiation Skills Today for Better Sales Tomorrow

If your salespeople aren't getting enough negotiation experience to be able to read another person's "tells," or if they don't know what signals they, themselves, are giving off, perhaps it's time to break out that deck of cards.

If you do, I should add one additional point: If you're playing poker for fun, you'll often only have an ego investment in winning or losing. If you're playing with your own money, you'll have much more incentive to understand your opponent or how you may be giving away the store. So it's a good idea for the person you're working with to have some skin in the game and know they have something to lose so they will pay closer attention to the opposition. They will then genuinely demonstrate the behaviors that may give them away when negotiating.

Sales Psychology Expert Gregory Stebbins has helped 20,000+ sales professionals read their opponents actions and improve their negotiation skills so they can close more sales. In his book PeopleSavvy for Sales Professionals, he unveils for the first time his simple but groundbreaking plan to turning customers into lifetime customers. Get your free sneak preview at http://www.peoplesavvy.com/chapterone.htm

5 Secrets to Exercising Authority

5 Secrets to Exercising Authority
by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales

If you are a sales manager or business owner, then you probably know and understand that fine line between being a leader and exercising authority, and trying to fit in as part of the team and wanting people to like you. Managers struggle with this all the time, and many would be leaders lose their ability to successfully direct their teams because they are afraid of exercising this authority for fear of alienating other team members.

The problem is that most managers and other figures of authority -- Directors, V.P.’s, and Business Owners -- have never been taught how to properly exercise authority and command respect as leaders.

If you find yourself in this position, follow this proven, 5-step method for exercising authority. It will not only get results, but it will establish, or re-establish, your role as leader of your sales team or department.

#1) Make sure your instructions are clear. Having ambiguous goals, or methods of achieving them, automatically undermines your authority and dooms many projects from the beginning. Rule #1 -- be clear on the goal and the instructions on how to accomplish it. After you have delivered them, ask your team if they have any questions about what is required, so problems can be cleared up from the beginning.

#2) Encourage people to approach you if they run into problems. Establishing open communication and feedback early on is crucial to avoid big disappointments later. Helping team members resolve problems as they arise ensures quick resolution, continued progress, and good morale.

#3) Take action quickly when you learn of any real problems. Failing to act quickly once you learn of a problem, or putting it off for days or weeks, not only undermines your authority, but also kills morale and confidence. Problems tend to get bigger the longer they go unresolved, and your job as a leader is to solve problems not avoid them.

The Key To Building Value

The Key To Building Value
by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside

You hear it all the time -- if your price is higher than your competition you're told to “build value." You’re instructed to stress the quality, the warranty, the features, etc. But your prospects have heard all that before, haven’t they? Want a better way?

Let’s face it -- prospects will often buy from people they like, know or trust. Your enthusiasm for your product or service also is a big factor in getting your prospects to place an order with you as well. Knowing this, I've often used the following script to not only build value in my product or service, but also to build value in myself. Here's what to say:

If your prospects says, “I can get cheaper," or “Well the XYZ company has something similar or for less money," or anything like that, say:

“You know _________ I'm aware of all the other options for this (product or service) and quite frankly if I thought any of them were better for my clients, I’d be working for there and selling them.

“When I got into this industry I did my own research, and I looked for the best company that not only offered the best (product or service) but also delivered the best customer service and follow-up. I chose (your company) because they give my clients the best overall value and the best experience and that means they continue to do business with me and refer new business to me as well.

"If there was a better product or company for you to be doing business with I’d be there. But there isn’t.

“Bottom line -- if you want the best overall value, results and experience with this (your product or service) then do what I do did – choose (your company) – You’ll always be glad you did.. Now, do you want to start with the X size order or would the Y size order be better?"

This technique builds value in the most important part of any sales transaction -- you and your belief in your product or service. Use it each time you get the price/competition objection and watch your sales and confidence growth.

How To Grab Interest In 5 Seconds

How To Grab Interest In 5 Seconds
by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales

I hear over and over again how important the first few seconds of a phone call are to make a connection and grab interest, and my question to you is -- are you still opening your calls with the standard, “How are you today?" If so, then you've just turned off about half of your prospects.

Think about it, what's your reaction to someone you don't know who calls you and asks, “How are you today?" If you're like most people, you're thinking, “I’ll be much better as soon as I can you off the phone!"

Want to know a better way? The Top 20% understand how important it is to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other people calling their prospects, and they are focused on engaging and creating interest with their prospects. Here's a technique they use that works really well:

When your prospect answers the phone, announce yourself and then ask, “Can you hear me OK?" This immediately catches your prospect off guard, forces them to focus, think, and respond in a positive manner, which is usually “Yes, I can."

An additional benefit is that your prospect is now also now paying closer attention to what you're about to say next. Quite an improvement over the other method/response, isn't it?

If your prospect happens to say, “Yes, why can you hear me?" (or some variation), just tell them that you're trying a new headset, or that there was a clicking on the line, or that it's very busy in the background there (or whatever else might actually be going on in your work environment), and you wanted to make sure you both had a clear connection. Then continue on with your presentation (which should begin with, “Briefly, the reason for the call…”).

This technique, which may sound simple, really works well and though it may take some time getting used to, you will end up loving the new reactions and results you get. I urge you to try it for a few days and see for yourself the difference it makes.

I agree with people who say you only have a few seconds to make a connection, and now you have proven way to do just that.

Want more FREE articles on how you can improve your sales and results in selling over the phone? Visit: http://www.MrInsideSales.com and click on my Inside Sales Blog for more FREE articles and tips.

The 5-Step Method of Handling Objections

The 5-Step Method of Handling Objections
by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales

I get so many requests asking me how to handle objections, that I thought I’d go ahead and give you the secret method that I reveal in my in-person trainings – the definite way you should handle and deal with all objections.

This is a Top 20% favorite and it works because you are not answering or dealing with objections, rather, you’re qualifying and isolating first, then, once you’ve found out if it’s a real objection or a smokescreen, you’re dealing with it in the most efficient way possible.

And you’re asking for the deal when done. It’s called the 5-Step Method of Handling Objections, and once you begin using it, you’ll be amazed by how successful it is. Here’s how it works:

The Five-Step Method

Step One: (Two Parts):

1. First, hear them out – completely. Don’t interrupt!

2. Put in a softening statement before you answer:

“I complete understand how you feel.”

“Some of my best clients felt that way also.”

“I completely understand how you feel, this is a big decision, and right now I’m sure it makes sense for you to think about this.”

Step Two: Question and Isolate the Objection B-4 Answering it.

As I’ve written about before, you can’t begin chasing and answering every objection they give you! First you must question and isolate the objection to make sure it’s the REAL objection.

Example: “The Price is Too High”

“I understand __________, and let me ask you a question: Assuming that the price on these hearing aids weren’t an issue (or fit within your budget, or if someone were suddenly going to buy them for you), but if price weren’t an issue here, is this the solution you feel is right for you today?” Or, “is this something you would go ahead and order today?”

Step Three: Answer the Objection (using a scripted response!)

No secret here that I’m recommending you use a scripted response once you understand what the objection is. Either use one of the scripts you already have, or write one. No matter what, though, USE A SCRIPT!

Step Four: Confirm Your Answer:

One of the biggest mistakes 80% of sales reps make when answering objections is they don’t confirm their answers – in other words, they just keep talking! And I mean talking past the close. The Top 20% understand the danger of talking past the close (like introducing new objections), and instead, after they have used their scripted response, they confirm their answer. Use any one of the following:

“Does that answer that for you?”
“Does that make sense?”
“Have I satisfied that for you?”

Step Five: Ask For the Deal!

This might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed by how many (like 80% or more) closers don’t ask for the deal. Scripts assure that you do! And after you do ask for the order,

Shut up and Listen!

That’s the whole technique. It may sound simple, like common sense, but 80 to 90% of your competition don’t do this – and so they struggle day and day with common objections. If you want to begin handling and easily overcoming objections, then begin using the 5-Step Method today and watch your sales begin to take off!

Don’t Qualify Leads, Disqualify Them!

Don’t Qualify Leads, Disqualify Them!
by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales

People ask me all the time what separates the Top 20% producers from the other 80%, and I tell them it starts in the qualification stage.

The bottom line is that 80% of your competition is trying to create a qualified lead from prospects who will never buy, while the Top 20% producers are more interested in finding the real buyers -- not in generating useless leads.

And the way they do that this is by disqualifying prospects rather than qualifying them.

The attitude shift here is what's so important. 80% of sales reps are desperate to “fill their pipelines," and will send out anybody with the pulse just so they have someone to pitch later on. Companies and sales managers train them in this way (a big waste of time and money), and then the sales reps spend their time chasing unqualified leads, getting rejected, practicing poor sales skills, and barely getting by.

It's sad, but that's how 80% of your competition spend their sales careers. This leads to poor morale, upset managers, and a lot of turn over.

The Top 20%, however, would never think of sending out unqualified leads and instead eliminate prospects who don't fit their strict criteria of a buyer. The Top 20% are of the mindset to disqualify rather than qualify and usually send out the fewest leads in the office, but they have the highest closing rates and they make the most amount of money.

For the Top 20%, part of disqualification means stopping and questioning the “red flags" they get, and asking the tough questions about budget, real interest, timelines, and decision processes. When they are done with the qualification call they can tell you why the prospect will buy, what it will take, and in many cases they've asked trial closes and can tell you when the prospect will buy.

If you're sitting at your desk right now, I know you know the difference between these two ways. And now you have a choice to make: either keep chasing unqualified leads, or step up to the plate and learn how to be a Top 20% producer.

You can start here -- I just released a new 58 page eBook called, “35 Techniques to Make You Closer of the Month.” In it you will learn how to disqualify prospects, find real buyers, and how to close them. And all for just $29.99 -- less than many of you spend at Starbucks each month! Visit my website for more information: http://www.MrInsideSales.com

So what you waiting for? Invest in yourself today!

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, has been a top 20% producer for over 20 years. He works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. To read more about Mike Brooks click here.

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, offers FREE Teleseminars, FREE Closing Scripts, and a FREE audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone. If you want to Close Business like a Top Closer, then learn how at: http://www.MrInsideSales.com