I was asked recently by a prospect “How do I become successful in sales?”And believe it or not I get asked this question a lot. Many times I’ll ask them what they think they should do to be successful and many times I get a very long and complex answer to this question. To be successful in sales it boils down to focusing on these four things:
1. Do the Behavior Most sales people find themselves doing avoidant behavior. We all know as sales people what behavior’s we should be doing and that is picking up the phone or going door to door and asking strangers for money to buy our product. If we are consistently making our dials and doing revenue generating behaviors we will be successful.
2. Be a product of the product People buy from us because they see in us (as salespeople) what they want to see in themselves. The only way we can articulate this is to believe in our product or service. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling then how can you expect people to pay you lots of money?
3. Control your personal finances A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind so, if your personal finances are a cluttered mess how do you think you’ll show up to your appointments? Desperate? Frantic? Once you have your personal finances under control your beliefs will change. You then can start thinking that “You’re independently wealthy and you don’t need the business.”
4. Have fun This is the most important one. If you can’t have fun doing what you’re doing then you may want to re-evaluate being in sales. If you’re not being authentic with your clients or prospects how would you expect them to buy from you? The more you let people see who you are as a human being the easier that you’ll connect with them and the longer you’ll connect with them.
To summarize as salespeople we tend to overcomplicate things and get too creative. Maybe it’s time for us to take baby steps and start doing the behaviors that we’ve been avoiding, believing in and committing to our products unconditionally, focus on ourselves first and get our personal things in order and have a blast calling strangers and asking them for money. What’s the worst thing they can do? Say no? Some will, some won’t, oh well, who’s next.
Last week, I attended a Revenue North Growth Summit session by Brooke Green, who touched on the evolving role of a salesperson and the need for salespeople to become experts and trusted advisors. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, that buyers of B2B solutions are opting to talk to a salesperson much later in the buying process. They don’t want the salesperson to be the one educating them about the problem they are solving and are turning to the endless and open repository of information (Internet, I’m looking at you) to educate themselves about your product and service before ever picking up a phone.
As our interactions with prospects often happen through a technological media (email, video conference, etc) it’s important that sales people have access to real time feedback on how their prospects interact with the content they are putting in front of them. You just called 20 prospects and sent them information, but you don’t know who opened the collateral or where they spent their time. How should you prioritize you follow up? By simply taking a guess. No way. That is wildly inefficient.
All things happen with balance. While technology gives the buyer leverage, progressive organizations have tools in place to measure the engagement of a prospect with the content salespeople deliver — allowing the salesperson to better prioritize their time and activity.
I was recently talking to a prospect about their proposal process – he told me that they spend a lot of time preparing for presentations and writing proposals, yes, but that isn’t their biggest issue. Their biggest issue is that they aren’t closing on the presentation or proposals given.
They are suffering from PPS. Heard of it? Premature Presentation Syndrome. You’re probably wondering, what that even means. What’s happening is that his salespeople are consistently jumping the gun. They hear one pain point and jump into a presentation or proposal generation mode, only to focus on that one pain point.
As salespeople, we need to make sure that we’re getting to the real root of the problem. Then, we need to make sure we’re only presenting to that. When we don’t get to the root of the problem, then we’re suffering from PPS.
So, how do we avoid it? Here are some questions to ask to put a stop to Premature Presentation Syndrome in your selling cycle:
What are your prospects true pains? What is their compelling reason to buy?
What’s their budget?
How do they make decisions to buy things like your product or service?
Once you’ve captured these three essential pieces of information in an initial meeting, you’re going to have a better chance of closing the deal. I wish that following those steps would serve as a cure all, but it’s not. There’s no magic pill to swallow, but there are processes and tools that can help. Start by asking the right questions, truly listening to your prospects’ answers, and creating a repeatable process out of it. That’s my take, at least, and if anyone has other tips, I’m all ears. I’m sure a lot of other salespeople are, too. What’s your strategy to selling?
Sales deals are rarely achieved over one meeting or based on the very first proposal sent out. Your prospect is bound to have some concerns regarding the desired outcome. It could be related to anything: from the methodology being used; to the timeframe or the pricing. This is where you step in, have a discussion with the client and negotiate to figure out a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
ESTABLISH THE NEED TO TALK
Your prospect has probably expressed their concerns about certain sections of your proposal. Or, they may recommend that certain parts of your solution be amended altogether. As much as giving in to the prospect’s demands would save you some headaches, you need to look at your best interests too. Contact your prospect and request a second meeting, or ask if you can have a chat over the phone. You need to be open and let your prospect know that by having a discussion, you can find a solution that is possibly better than the one outlined.
ESTABLISH THE ISSUES
Now that you have agreed to a discussion, establish what the pressing issues are.
-What needs to be discussed?
-What do you need to take a decision about?
-What do you need to agree upon?
-Who is going to be involved in making these changes?
Once you have your framework of issues at hand, you can do your research and gather the necessary information and tools required.
LOOK FOR A SOLUTION
Now that you know what needs to be done, you can set about doing it. You may need to rework your proposal entirely, or get into greater details about the solution, or offer alternative methodologies that suits the prospect. The constant back and forth of the negotiation process can get tiresome- and sometimes, if you do not look closely enough, you may find that your prospect has added new terms and conditions which you overlooked, but signed anyway. This is a worst-case scenario. You can avoid potential mishaps such as this by using a sales tool like TinderBox. TinderBox allows you to create and share business documents online. Once you have incorporated the necessary changes to your proposal, you can lock it in and prevent anyone else from changing it. Our software also allows you to maintain redline changes and version history to make things easier. Click here to see how you can use TinderBox.
Meeting your targets can be a stressful experience for many sales executives. Especially if you have several leads in your pipeline and none of them seem to be converting at the rate you would like. This can lead to chaos and confusion about how you should prioritize during the sales process. This is where good time management skills can help.
As a salesperson, your primary job is to bring in more leads and generate more sales. You should be out there connecting with customers and prospects, looking for new ways to push your product and reach out to the market. Do not get caught up in administrative work- many salespeople forget that a machinery is already in place to shuffle papers and manage internal communications. Do not be afraid to delegate. If you need marketing materials for a particular prospect, let your marketing administrator know.
LET GO OF WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL
There are certain aspects of doing business that you cannot control…the economy, for example. If a prospect company is facing layoffs and budget cuts, they may not be able to make new purchases or upgrade to a newer version of the product you are offering. Or, the department you serve may be shutting down for good, and you have no clients to service. Instead of wasting time trying to make one last sale, move on to the next possible client.
SET WEEKLY GOALS
You probably already have a daily routine mapped out- woven between your confirmed appointment and in-house meetings. You probably have fixed time slots in your day for answering emails, phone calls and so on. Incorporate a weekly goals list into your plans. Create a list of tasks that you must get done each week- whether it is following up, re-drafting or snagging a new lead. Analyzing your goals on a weekly basis also helps you evaluate what went right and what went wrong so you can make the necessary adjustments in the future.