Month: May 2015

Power Pitching: Getting the Personal Connection Edge

By Patricia Fripp and David R. Palmer, Sales Consultants

Dozens of factors figure into your audience’s minds, whenever and whatever you’re teaching, communicating or selling. You create a competitive edge when you establish a personal connection. You must connect emotionally and intellectually with both individuals and members of an audience, so they like you and trust you… more than any other training they have received or sales person’s message they have heard. They’re just like you; if you don’t trust the messenger, you don’t trust the message.

How Do You Get the Personal Connection Edge? Do the Following:

  • Focus: It’s all about them! If your presentation does not respond to their concerns and you grind on with a prepared presentation that is not focused on their concerns, or you are too technical for the individual or audience, they will decide that you don’t care about them or their problems. Once they get back to work, they won’t make your training applicable to their jobs, or invest in your solution to their problem. Rather, pick up on their concerns, and address them.
  • Be confident & sincere: If you appear nervous or unsure, you may seem devious or incompetent.
  • Eye communication: Look your listeners right in the eyes for a complete thought or sentence as you talk convincingly about your ideas and information. Your eyes darting about the room is not connection or communication. Smile.
  • Divide & conquer: Shake hands with everyone… and look them in the eyes as you do it… when they enter the room. Connect with them so you see them as individuals. You’ll both feel more comfortable and you’ll become more memorable to them. (People are usually shyer in groups of strangers than one-on-one contacts.)
  • Technology: Use technology (PowerPoint) to enhance your presentation, not drown it. It can help keep you on track, but it cannot establish trust.
  • Keep it simple & memorable: When your listener or audience debriefs after your presentation or sales conversation, you want them to remember what you said more than they learned in other training; or in a selling situation more than another sales presentation. Therefore, summarize your key talking points into snappy sound bites that are easy to write and remember. Make them interesting and repeatable. What are the three to five key points you want them to remember about the information and you?
  • Avoid jargon: Steer clear of overdoing technical language and industry jargon. Rehearse your presentation well in advance with your spouse across the dinner table or a team member at work. If there is anything they don’t understand, you are not focusing on their interests, or you are making it too complicated. Your goal is to be understood and sound conversational as you do it.
  • Tell great success stories: People learn to resist a sales presentation, or they go to a meeting with a closed mind, but no one can resist a good story. “Imagine four months from now you go to work and… “Paint your listeners a picture of less frustration, more reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Let the person you are communicating with “see” themselves in a different light. Use the Situation, Solution, Success formula. Take a lesson from Hollywood. Give your stories interesting characters and dialogue, plus a dramatic lesson that your prospects can relate to.
  • Rehearse: The first thirty seconds and the last thirty seconds of your presentation or sales conversation have the most impact. Invest your time to create something original and interesting at the beginning and at the end. Then, commit them to memory. Do not shortchange your rehearsals. Three to five rehearsals won’t do it. Thirty to fifty rehearsals put you ahead of other speakers or sales professionals and give you even more confidence. Know what you are going to say so well you can forget it!
  • Bottom line: Everything else being equal, you’re way ahead of any other speaker or sales professional when your audience of one or one thousand relates to you, likes you, and trusts you. Remember, they must first trust you before they can trust the message.

Plan Your Plan, Execute Your Plan – 5 P’s Your Way to Sales Success

By Todd Natenberg, Author, “I just got a job in sales. Now what?” and President of TBN Sales Solutions

“Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

But planning goes well beyond having everything you need to close a deal on a sales call. It goes beyond preparing for the unexpected. It’s more than role plays and expecting the unexpected.

Planning starts at the beginning of the day, the beginning of the month and the beginning of the year and it continues right through the end of each. But – in the world of sales- how do you formulate an effective plan? What are the critical components? What does it mean to have good “time management?”

Recognize tasks you do each week.

Have you ever had a day where you worked hard but had nothing to show for it? Have you ever had one of those days where you felt you did absolutely nothing, but somehow eight hours passed and it was time to go home? What do you really do every day? What do you really do every week? How much time do you really spend working? How much time do you spend working toward your goals?

Until you know the problem, you can’t fix it. Until you know the formula for success, you can’t repeat it.

Here’s a suggestion: For one week, monitor the tasks you do, including how much time is spent on each item. Include everything from running appointments, to prospecting phone calls, to in person door knocks to checking voice mail and yes, even “socializing” around the office.

Expect Excellence!
Now that you know what you do, prioritize what is important. Determines those most critical criteria, and establish numeric goals for them. Label this “Expect Excellence.” For instance, your numeric goals may include how many appointments you want to run, or how many cold calls you may make. The key to the “Expect Excellence” is these are weekly goals, not long-term. Break down your expect excellence as much as possible: Networking calls, networking appointments, first appointments, second appointments, first telemarketing calls, follow-up phone calls, and in- person door knocks are recommended.

Create Your Must Work Week!

Based on your tasks and your goals, formulate a “must work week” schedule. Arrange your day (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. typically) and insert – prior to it happening- your work week. What days will you do office work? What days will you schedule appointments? What days will you “prospect?” Attach to those tasks on those days, numeric goals to coincide with your “Expect Excellence.”

Commit to Your Must Work Week

Treat this “must work week” as if it is your sacred Bible. Of course, things will change and flexibility will be required, but commit to sticking to it as much as possible. Question exactly what is a “customer emergency.”

Ask yourself this question when you ever consider altering your schedule, “If you were sitting across from a customer who was handing you a check for business, would you leave the meeting to answer a phone call, would you jump on e-mail, or would you check your voice mail?” If the answer is no, then it’s not an emergency.

Stay the path.

Time management: A plan to execute your plan to achieve your goals

Avoid Sales ‘Sins’ and Close More Deals

By Roy Chitwood, President, Max Sacks International

Closing more sales means making more money.

Increasing sales is not just a matter of raising quotas, adding new products, changing commissions, or redefining territories. Your staff needs to know how to close more of your prospects and how to penetrate your current accounts.

Easier said than done? Not really.

With effective sales training, selling becomes a procedure, and closing ceases to be a problem. By learning how to stay on a sequenced, logical path – even through a long sales cycle – the salesperson can take the presentation from initial contact to final closing in a manner that is comfortable and natural for both the seller and the buyer.

All customers, regardless of what they’re buying or the industry they’re in, have similar reasons for selecting one product/service over another. Understanding how to treat the motives for buying, and to control the decision-making process, is the core of every presentation.

It’s so easy to lose a sale. The salesperson can ramble on aimlessly, or the presentation is to the wrong person, or the buyer doesn’t have the need. There are dozens of mistakes (‘sins’) salespeople commit every day that cost you sales. These can be avoided and closing increased.

Here are some of the most typical sins:

  • Talking Too Much, Listening Too Little
    A typical salesperson walks into an office, gives the official two minute warm-up-asking about the fish on the wall or the family photo on the desk – then, like a high diver, leaps into a hot presentation about this feature and that feature, the options available, the price, and the savings. For the close, most do a belly-flop and end up with nothing but a big splash.

    Afterwards, it’s always the ex-prospects who are at fault for not understanding why they need the product or service.

    Knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them is the only way to find out if you’re making a presentation to the person with the real need, the authority and the money. If you’re not presenting to the right person you’re wasting your time.

    A salesperson needs to find out the facts and the feelings of the prospect before an effective presentation can be made.

  • Selling the Product, Not the Benefits
    When someone buys a drill bit, it’s not the drill bit the customer wants, it’s the hole. People buy to satisfy a need. No one is willing to pay for a product or service that just sits and does not perform.

    Yet salespeople sell as if they will. Presentations continually focus on the width, height, weight, power, speed, buttons, bulbs, or whatever of the product/service. It’s just like selling cars with no gas, pens with no ink, and computers with no software. The value just isn’t there.

    A customer buys a computer for efficiency and profit, not for its whistles and bells. Be they individuals or committees, they buy benefits – not features.

    Prospects have hidden buying motives. There are reasons why they select one brand over another, why one product/service seems to fill the need better.

  • Never Asking for the Order
    As a prominent study proved, more often than not, customers don’t have to worry about a pressured close, because in 62 percent of the cases, the salesperson never asks for a sale.

    For most salespeople selling is an uncomfortable experience because they don’t know where to go in the presentations. They’re afraid – and rightfully so – that with each sentence or gesture they will destroy their chances of closing. So, like a voice-activated tape recorder, they just go on and on, recharging their own batteries, until the tape runs out. If the customer doesn’t volunteer to ‘buy’, then they just don’t ‘sell’.

    Should the prospect hesitate when asked for the order, alternate ways to bring the sale to a successful close are made available. In this situation, the salesperson must elicit additional information, respond to objections, and look for openings to successfully close the prospect.

    When prospects say “No.”, what they’re really saying is, “You haven’t convinced me to buy.”

  • Pushing for the Close
    Too often the salesperson tries to ‘sell’, rather than helping the customer ‘buy’. When the salesperson is ready to close, the order is asked for. When the first close is resisted, the trick closes begin.

    The customer has fears, uncertainties, and doubts about the decision to spend company or personal money, and when closed too soon, reacts negatively to being forced to make a decision. Pushing too hard means that the salesperson is forcing the prospect to build a defensive wall that won’t come down easily.

    Following the sequence of a well-given presentation means that asking for the order will come at the right time. After the needs are understood, the benefits described, and the fees discussed, it is appropriate to ask for the order.

  • Wasting Selling Time
    Selling is a problem for many salespeople because they don’t know how to spend their time profitably. Selling is prospecting, cold calling, and obtaining leads. It is traveling to meet strange people, having to write letters, make phone calls and hand out brochures. It is writing out the order form and servicing the client.

    Many salespeople look busy, but they’re not closing sales. They suffer from lack of organization, and instead of using their time to be in front of qualified potential customers, they’re spinning their wheels in unproductive work.

    There is only one way to insure that you get all the way to the close, and that’s by staying on an orderly, logical path.

    When salespeople know what has to be accomplished next in the sales process they waste less time and energy and close more sales. When they don’t know what information or reassurances the customer is really looking for, they tend to go off in all directions and have little success.

    During every sale, there is a defined, yet hidden agenda. If this is not adhered to closely, there will usually be no sale. This is why a salesperson should learn the process of selling.

  • Not Identifying Prospects from Suspects
    There are many people who will listen to a sales presentation. It may make them feel important or help them fill their time. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t help the salesperson get any nearer to the sale. In fact, it takes the salesperson further away from the sale because time has been wasted and the point-of-entry into a company has been mismanaged.

    Presenting to people who are not qualified is just that – presenting. It is not selling. And a company or a salesperson can’t make a profit by just presenting.

    Probably the greatest misuse of a salesperson’s time is presenting to someone who doesn’t have the need, the authority, or the money.

    Professional salespeople know the frustration of trying to sell where there is not a buyer. The salesperson must know how to properly qualify a prospect and determine if there is adequate reason to proceed with the sales presentation.

    Even if the initial contact is not with the decision-maker, the salesperson needs to take advantage of the opportunity to move up the decision-making ladder.

  • Making a Sale, Not a Customer
    For many salespeople, just getting a signature on the bottom line is the only objective. To accomplish this end, they use whatever means are available – assumptive closes, promises of extra incentives, threats of price increases, or whatever other tricks are in the bag.

    Salespeople like this sometimes walk out with signed purchase orders, but they don’t sign on customers. In fact, the customers may be so resentful of the pressure and tricks they may ‘rethink’ their commitments.

    Even if the order isn’t canceled, these purchasers will have no particular loyalty to your company, and will likely buy from your competitor the next chance they get.

A professional salesperson is someone who helps a customer satisfy a need. Everyone benefits from this.

The customer operates the business more effectively and profitably. The salesperson is rewarded. And, most importantly, your company can count on the loyalty of a new client – one that will return with repeat and increasing orders.