The JF Guest Author Spot
"You've got to hear 5 no's to hear 1 yes." is a common saying in the sales game. It's also held up as one of the most challenging aspects of sales. Some people just can't handle that kind of rejection day in and day out...
The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way!
The history of selling, which I'll save for another time, is such that prospects and sales people are trained to follow a certain dance. It's one in which the prospect is "leading" and the sales rep is "following". This puts the sales person at the mercy of the prospect's whims and leads to lots of disappointment and rejection.
So, how does a sales person take control of the dance and find success in a more fulfilling way? Well, it's not as hard as you think...
It's really about knowing what makes someone need and want to pay for your product or service and making sure the prospects you invest your time in fit the bill. There are entire books and sales methodologies built around this concept - "Solution Selling", "Find the Prospect's Pain", "Questioning Techniques" are all common phrases used within these methodologies.
More good news! You don't really need to spend a week in sales training to get good at it!
Here's a simple road map -
1. Write down 3 to 10 things you need to know about a prospect before you know if you're likely to do business with them. Imagine that you're talking with a life long friend and he says he knows someone who may need your product or service. In that comfortable setting, with no risk of offending anyone, what would you ask your friend about his friend to be sure it's a fit?
2. Spend a little time working on scripting out ways to ask these questions that will be appropriate for your prospects. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
3. Create a call sheet where you can record the answers to these questions for each prospect you talk with. A simple spreadsheet with each prospect listed on one row and the answers to your questions in columns will work. If you're using a contact manager or CRM, create fields in the system for these answers.
4. Now, test the questions by trying to answer them for all the prospects that are already into your sales pipeline. Try to fill in the blanks when you have further questions with these prospects. You'll find it's uncomfortable if you're asking the right questions because these questions are much easier to ask at the beginning of the relationship.
5. With every new prospect, take control up front using your questions. Take the role of the expert. When the prospect starts asking you the typical questions about your company and services, they're taking over and you're losing control. Stop them by saying something like "Our product/service is designed specifically for certain types of companies/customers/etc. Let me briefly ask you a few questions to see if we're likely to be a fit for you. If so, I'll be happy to answer any questions you have." If handled properly, the prospect will see that this is in his best interests as he won't be wasting his time if it's not a fit.
6. Now, the hard part - when you hear answers you don't want to hear, recognize that you have an opportunity to do yourself and the prospect a huge favor. You can save yourselves a lot of time by saying "based on what you've told me, I don't think that our offering is going to fit your needs." You may even want to point them to other solutions that do fit.
I know, this sounds totally counterintuitive. Just try it. You'll find that you establish tremendous creditability with the prospect and often, they'll try to convince you that they DO need your product! ...and that's what we're after!
Now you're in control.
Now price won't be such an issue.
Now you have more time to spend on the prospects that DO fit the bill!
If you're having trouble making this concept work for you, you may be talking to the wrong people. More to come on finding the right prospects...
Craig Klein is CEO and Founder of SalesNexus.com, a leading online contact management system for small business sales teams. Craig's a sales process guy. His passion is helping small businesses hire, train, measure and manage sales people through their sales process. Craig's blog, Sell, Sell, Sell! has become a valued resource for business owners and sales executives.
Here is a gig you really should not miss!! Presented by my good friend from NY,NY - the irrepressible Keith Rosen.
The Art of Enrollment - Turn More Conversations into Clients
Mark your Calendar! January 28. 2009
"People don't want to be sold. They want to be enrolled."
If you're a coach, trainer, consultant, or non-selling professional, this is one tele-workshop you can't afford to miss on the evolution of selling.
How effective are you at converting conversations into clients? Do you find yourself struggling to find more clients? What do you do to be unique and make an impact in the very first conversation you have with a prospect? Masterful coaches and speakers leave not only a lasting impression - they also create one.
It's no secret that most coaches, speakers and non-selling professionals don't like to sell. The income of most coaches reflects that. As such, they unknowingly use ineffective selling strategies rather than develop healthy, winning relationships with clients. Relying on price as a competitive differentiator dilutes your true value offering.
Coaching and training is not something you "pitch and sell." The next evolution in how you engage clients is through the Art of Enrollment. What has been initially perceived as an inherent ability in certain leaders, coaches and top achievers is now a documented, step by step process that allows anyone, especially non-selling professionals, to convert more prospects into clients. You can do so in a natural, conversational way that honors your personal strengths, talents, integrity, values and style of communicating.
Keith Rosen has taken his twenty years of coaching and million dollar enrollment process that catapulted his business to one of the most successful coaching practices in the country and is now sharing his system with you in his latest innovation, The Art of Enrollment; a proven process to build a highly profitable, rewarding and sustainable business.
Specifically designed for coaches, consultants and trainers to learn how to:
• Conduct an initial coaching conversation that will allow you to convert more people into high paying clients in less than 60 minutes.
• Ask better questions and stay away from the ones that actually sabotage your enrollment efforts.
• Build enough value where you can easily double - if not triple your current fees so that you can start making a healthy six - seven figure salary.
• Quickly defuse and eliminate any concerns that prevent people from hiring you.
• Avoid the toxic clients.
• Eliminate costly assumptions and toxic thinking that actually prevents you from building your practice.
Date: January 28. 2009
Duration: 90 Minutes
Time: 12pm EST
Location: Your Phone
Cost: Free! Please attend as our guest. Full details here
Sponsored by: The International Coach Federation
Over at Top 10 Sales Articles this week, there is a particularly fine selection of nominees, so do pop over and take a look.
Tomorrow: It's time for me to give away yet another FREE ebook: This week, the topic is "Handling Objections" - everything you will ever need to know about breaking down resistance and getting to "Yes, I'll Buy"
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