What Works Best For Your Company?
Experience is a wonderful teacher, but only if you pay attention and draw the right lessons from your experience. It pays to document certain portions of your company’s sales process—and the most successful practices that you and your fellow salespeople have found for handling common challenges. Salespeople who do this maximize the use of their time, shorten sell cycles, make more sales, and cash bigger paychecks.
To learn from what works, document what works.
What parts of your sales process should you document?
First, identify the milestones in your sales cycle. What are the necessary steps that lead from your initial contact with a prospect to a completed sale? What commitment must you gain from the customer at each milestone that will lead to the next step? For example, does your sales cycle usually require an initial meeting with several decision makers followed by another meeting at which you present a formal proposal? Both of those meetings are milestones.
Write down your 10 strongest sales features—the features of your products or services that have the strongest appeal to most customers. Include a benefits statement for each feature. Remember that benefits usually have dollar signs attached.
Next, write down the expected customer needs associated with those 10 features and benefits. Customers will only buy if a benefit represents a solution to a perceived need. So what needs must you look for? Write some open-ended questions that help you draw out needs for which your 10 strongest features offer solutions.
Write the best questions that you can use to determine what your sales strategy must be for a particular client. Your sales strategy is determined by the competition you face, the buyer’s time frame, and the buying influences that will play a role in the sale. What are the best questions with which to draw out information about those factors?
Document a crisp (30-second) and powerful company story that you can tell in all first-call selling situations.
Ask your peers about each of these topics, and compare their approaches with yours. If somebody else has a great question for drawing out needs, for example, by all means write it down and use it. Create reminder lists for yourself, and review them before every sales call. Then you can stop making the same expensive mistakes.
In The Field:
“Our region has jumped to No. 1 in the country,” says Leif Rowles, regional manager for Sears Commercial Division. Rowles moved his region from the middle of the pack to the top in sales while boosting profits by a whopping 111 percent with Action Selling Sales Training. His people learned and practiced “The Process” until it became part of their culture.
“Now we have a common sales language we can use to strategize before and after sales calls. We are a stronger team and better able to coach one another,” Rowles says. Action Selling sales training programs define the most effective practices for conducting the entire sales process. Then it provides a template to document exactly what the best salespeople do to gain business.
When you have a system that clearly shows everyone what the Best Practices are, you can achieve great gains in performance and productivity. Rowles puts it simply: “Action Selling is the reason we are closing more customers.”
|Duane Sparks is chairman and founder of The Sales Board, a Minneapolis-based sales training company that has trained and certified more than 200,000 salespeople in the system and skills of Action Selling. He has personally facilitated more than 300 Action Selling training sessions.
In a 30-year career as a salesperson and sales manager, Duane has sold products ranging from office equipment to insurance. He was the top salesperson at every company he ever worked for. He developed Action Selling Sales Training while owner of one of the largest computer marketers in the United States. Even in the roaring computer business of the 1980’s, his company grew six times faster than the industry norm, differentiating itself not by the products offered but by the way it sold them. Duane founded The Sales Board in 1990 to teach the skills of Action Selling to others.
Contact The Sales Board for more sales information or sales training that’s been documented and research-proven to help you sell more! 1-800-232-3485
Now let’s not fall into the old style car salesman’s trap of believing that men are interested in what goes on under the bonnet and women are only interested in what colours you can get and whether it has a vanity mirror.
Believe me, and I speak as an ex mechanical engineer, I couldn’t give a toot what goes on under the bonnet. I’m much more interested in driving a car that matches the rest of my accessories. You
know-silver car - silver watch - silver hair. Mind you, I draw the line at one of those little four-wheel drive jobs with the yellow wheels and pink upholstery. I’ve seen a lot of men driving these fluffy little things and don’t tell me they all belong to the wife or girlfriend. “Four-wheel drive off roaders”-they probably couldn’t pull you out of bed.
Anyway we all have male and female customers and clients and they do need different handling. If you want to be successful at selling or negotiating with someone of the opposite sex then please be aware of the differences.
Firstly, be you male or female, you’ve got to look the part. Women will look you all over, men won’t. Women will notice whether you have shiny shoes and clean fingernails, men won’t notice if you have on one brown shoe and one black or if your fingernails are bitten up to the elbow.
I once interviewed a lady for a job and I didn’t notice she had different shoes on. Turns out that, in her rush to get to the interview she slipped on two black but certainly different shoes. However my female colleague noticed right away and thought the whole thing quite amusing.
If you are a man negotiating with a woman, be very aware of what you say because women listen much better than men, they pick up on emotions. They will pick up much better on whether you really believe what you are saying. Also, make sure you keep talking, don’t stop just because the woman
starts examining the product or reading the literature.
Women can multi-track, they’ll be listening to you even although they’re taking the product apart or writing something in their diary.
A warning to a woman selling or negotiating with a man, he can’t multi-track. If the man
starts doing something else, stop speaking until he’s finished. If you don’t believe any of this then just consider a time when you’ve watched TV with your partner.
Men stare at the television giving their whole concentration to the programme while women read a book, paint their toenails and watch the programme. Men haven’t the foggiest idea how women can do this.
It can be difficult for a woman negotiating with a man because men don’t listen well. They listen like statues and it’s difficult to tell whether you’re getting through. They probably are listening; it’s just that they don’t show it. Women on the other hand tend to display their emotions so you have much more chance of understanding whether they are happy with what you’re saying or not.
Salesmen need to be careful when describing something to a woman. Men are more able to visualise something in three dimensions. Women are more likely to visualise in two dimensions. Far better to show a woman the actual product rather than a drawing or a plan.
Women when they see the product are more likely to be influenced by its colour and its smell. The reason for this is simply because women can distinguish colours better; they also have a better sense of smell and taste than a man. Just watch a woman in a supermarket buying wash up liquid. She’ll
very likely take the top off the bottle and sniff it. Men see no reason to do that at all; lemon, pine or fruity, what’s the difference when you’re only washing dishes? With their better sense of taste women are much better at tasting wine and food than men.
Can I also suggest that the male sales person compliment their lady customers? And just before the ladies start getting irate, I mean a genuine compliment. As I mentioned earlier, women will pick up on your emotions much quicker, so no false compliments guys and don’t patronise the ladies
or you’re dead. On the other hand, a woman can give all sorts of compliments to a man and he’ll just love it. It doesn’t matter whether you mean it or not ’cause he can’t tell the difference.
Selling and negotiating to men and women isn’t the same - ignore this at your peril.
|Discover how you can generate more business without having to cold call!Alan Fairweather is the author of “How to get More Sales without Selling” This book is packed with practical things
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This is the last of a four part series on selling ‘abilities’. In the first three articles I covered Reliability, Upgradeability and Compatibility. I now want to turn my attention to the subject of selling Expandability in the high tech sales arena.
Expandability is a term more associated with hardware as opposed to software. If there is a point of convergence for software and expandability it would be on the operating system itself.
For those of you who’ve gone out and purchased a computer, one of the prime determinants of whether or not to buy is how much capacity or memory does the computer have. This is usually followed up with a question on how much can you ‘expand’ the capacity later on down the road if needed.
When selling expandability for hardware products, we are usually referring to the physical limitations of the product itself. Sinc, in order to expand, the system must have available ‘slots’ for system cards. In the case of a computer, we usually want to swap out or add another processing board to increase either system speed or memory capacity. Read the rest of this entry »
What is it about selling that makes you afraid? Do you get nervous at the hint of having to sell? Is it the fear of rejection that scares you? Is it the fear of not being able to communicate effectively?
Define Your Fear. What is it about selling that makes you afraid? Next question, how did you develop this fear? What is it based on?
a) Many people fear sales because they’re afraid of being rejected as I mention.
b) Others simply fear being the center of attention; especially when giving a presentation in front a large group of people.
c) Some fear selling because they’re simply unprepared to answer tough questions or don’t have a deep understanding of the product or service they’re selling.
d) Could it be you don’t believe in the product or service your selling?
e) Other _______________________________________________
Why do your fear selling? Circle one before you proceed. Read the rest of this entry »
September 5th, 2008 in
| tags: Sales tips
My research has clearly shown that, when it comes to selling, the part we’re most comfortable with is talking about what we do - explaining our services and how we can help the client.
So what do you think happens in most sales encounters? That’s right… we tell ‘em what we do.
Problem #1 - Clients don’t really want to know what we do.
Not to start with anyway. Usually they first want to know that they can trust us and that we comprehend their situation. They also want to understand ‘how’ we can help them. This is different to knowing exactly ‘what’ we do. To achieve this we need to look at what they want to achieve, and what their concerns are.
Problem #2 - When we’re talking we’re not listening.
It’s a fact. People can think many times faster than they talk. This means that when you’re talking, your client can think about lots of other stuff (like their next appointment, or your unpolished shoes). So keep your client focused by getting them to do the talking.
Control the sales encounter with questions. By using a structured questioning sequence you can move from initial exploratory questions to high-impact outcome oriented questions. When done properly this creates a harmonious exchange between the seller and the client. It’s not a matter of interrogating the client, or forcing them to make a quick decision. Read the rest of this entry »
In this article, I’m revealing six powerful secret psychological tricks that you can use to increase the
effectiveness of your advertising and marketing. What if you don’t sell anything? Should you ignore this information?
You ARE selling something. Whether you are a Real Estate agent selling multi-million dollar homes, or a worker trying to sell your boss on the idea that you are a valuable employee, everybody is selling something. So it would be wise to learn these secret tricks and use them to achieve your own personal success.
The secret psychological tricks that I am going to reveal are not really secret. They have been used by shrewed salesman for millenium. Their existence was revealed back in 1984 by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence : The Psychology of Persuasion”.
You will recognize these tricks being used everywhere in advertising today. Now you will be able to put them to use to enhance your own personal success. Read the rest of this entry »
You, like all marketers have a million and one things to do today! At the top of your priorities is marketing… finding more customers and raking in greater profits. If you’re looking for a simple, proven model to create sales content without spending hours hunched over the computer, try the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can create an effective salesletter.
What captures a reader’s attention more than an exciting list of things that will benefit THEM? Think about the affects of starting right off with 6 of the most appealing benefits of your product or service.
A Multi Level Marketer might start a sales letter like this:
• Experience the freedom of …
• Being your own boss
• Financial independence
• Benefit 3 and so on …..
That gets their attention, and compels them to read on. Read the rest of this entry »
When sales are down, a salesperson must begin to take stock of why that is happening. Most sales people start by blaming the company’s policies. “If you’d only offer better specials,” or blame the economy, “If only customers had the money,” or they blame their boss, “If only I got a better schedule,” or they will blame whatever happens to come to mind that day. Never, do they take stock of their own selling techniques.
There are four basic reasons why salespeople don’t make a sale.
The customer doesn’t want/need your product or service. Therefore they lack the motivation to make the purchase.
Many sales people ignore the fact they don’t want/need the product and continue to attempt to make the sale.
In this case, the sales person doesn’t adequately qualify the buyer. Not everyone you come into contact with will have a need for what you are selling. But sales people are conditioned to try to make a sale no matter what.
Asking good questions and listening carefully to the answers will solve this problem quickly. That will free up the sales person to move on to greener pastures. Read the rest of this entry »
August 12th, 2008 in
| tags: Sales objections
In the last two articles I discussed sales strategies for positioning reliability and upgradeability. In this third in a four part series, I want to turn my attention now to selling compatibility.
Whether you’re selling software or hardware, one of the biggest obstacles you will face in the sales process is convincing the buyer that your product will not negatively affect their existing system.
Lets begin by first defining the term itself, compatibility. A product is considered compatible when first, it can be added or integrated into a system without negatively affecting performance, and second that it has the capability of enhancing the system itself. The latter is obviously why companies buy compatible products; to enhance its performance.
So how do you sell compatibility to a customer? What approaches are necessary to overcome some of the obvious objections regarding quality, interference or integration? Read the rest of this entry »
Keeping up with what words are in and out isn’t hard. Yet, with all the other more important things on our to-do list, it doesn’t get remembered easily.
1. Any archaic, stilted words, such as: hitherto, whereby, thereby, herein, therein, thereof, heretofore.
2. “Kindly advise.” As opposed to not kindly advising.
3. “Whereas.” Instead use “where” or “while.”
4. “Pursuant to.” This is too informal for 2004. The express expired in the 1980s. Read the rest of this entry »