Are You Getting in the Way of the Sale?

In my training, you will oftentimes hear me repeat key phrases that can help salespeople save time.  One such phrase is “the difference between making a sale, and not making a sale, is not a large gap”.  Said another way, the small things that you do as an effective salesperson will all add up at the end, potentially winning you more business.  Here are five issues that many salespeople have, that end up costing them lots of sales, and money.

You don’t manage your “sales time” effectively

In business and in life, we all have the same amount of time each day.  However, our choices of what we do with that time dictate our actions and our actions dictate how successful we are. The average salesperson, across all industries, is in front of a prospect or customer only 17% of their time.  You may agree, that is not enough.  Some of the small things to consider are time management, asking better qualifying and disqualifying questions, knowing why you get the one’s you get, and why you don’t get the one’s you don’t get, as well as learning how to close more business by opening more meaningful conversations early.  We should all be asking ourselves, “for what reasons are they willing to speak with me?”

Have a solid plan and purpose before every meeting, an expected result, and some questions that will help your sale.  Have a predetermined amount of time for meetings worked out with prospects and customers and stick to it.  Determine in each meeting if they are qualified to spend more time with.  Learn some key phrases to get out of unneeded, long conversations.  Do a better job qualifying and disqualifying.  As an example, “I can send out some information on our company.  Can you be a bit more specific on what you’d like for me to send?”  The answer to this question could save you lots of time.  Hint:  listen closely.  If they are able to get specific, you may have a more qualified prospect.  No detail; maybe not!

You resort to a phone conversation when you know it’s in your best interest to be in front of your prospect or customer

In communication, studies show that the spoken word is only 7% of how we communicate.  38% is the way we say the words, and 55% is non-verbal.  Over five times more important when communicating, is the way we say the words.  If you are on the telephone, you lose this advantage as it becomes 18% words, and 82% the way we say the words.  Without the value of reading non-verbal communication from others, we cannot translate what they are really saying.  It is so important, that I have a rule concerning it:  unless you absolutely cannot get in front of your prospect, you must be “eyeball to eyeball” at the table when having any sales conversation that involves money.

You aren’t getting enough new business because you struggle to ask for referrals consistently

Want to double your sales?  Double how often you ask for referrals.  Need more customers?  Talk to more people you know.  If presented in the right light, using the right questions, you will grow your business from referrals.  Most people don’t ask their good customers often, it at all, for others that they know that could be helped.  The reasons are plentiful, including the fear of offending, appearing needy, don’t know how, don’t want to bother them, are worried about what might come up, risk of embarrassment, and a myriad of other reasons.

The reality is, if you are helping people that think you walk on water, most of them will have no problem referring you to others that they think you can help, if asked.  However, know this:  some people will never feel comfortable with the process, no matter what you have done for them or their business.  It doesn’t mean they are bad people.  Simply put, they are not comfortable with the process.  If you find this out, forget about asking them in the future.  But, don’t allow this to cause you to stop asking everyone else.  Experts believe that the majority of people are willing to offer help, but they won’t help unless you ask!

Now, there is definitely a way to ask properly, and a way not to ask.  Stay around for future articles to get some of the language.  However, in the meantime, simply ask more often.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Change your mind about asking referrals today and just do it!

You are making sales situations more complex than they need to be

If you follow a path, a process for selling, you will always know where you are in the sale, know where to go and when to cut bait and go home.  If I were to ask you, out of the last 10 prospects you met with, looking back now, how many should you have spent less time with or none at all, what would you be telling me?  If you have an issue meeting with prospects that don’t go anywhere, even only occasionally, put more into your process to disqualify people or companies.  Never do anything without discussing the possible acceptable outcomes with your prospect and if you are not going to get the business, lose early.

You talk too much

If you are doing most of the talking on a sales call, you are likely losing control of the meeting.  I am amazed at how much people can talk, in business and in social settings.  If we want to have deeper relationships with people, and close more business, we will need to turn off the chatter, listen better and learn to ask good, open-ended questions.  Begin asking questions that show that you care.  People do not care what you know, until they know that you care.  Become a better listener.  Ask questions that get to the real issues, and determine what it is costing them to have those issues.  Use questions that qualify and disqualify.  Product knowledge, given at the wrong time, is worthless.

If you’ve ever been “sold” by a typical salesperson, you know what I am talking about.  We don’t want the salesperson to sell us on all of the features and benefits of the products.  We don’t want to know how long they’ve been in business, all of the different uses the products has or even that they are the largest, most experienced company that does what they do!  All we want to know is, can you help me with the issues that I am having?

2016 has been an outstanding sales year for most organizations.  Experts say that many of the right signs are in place for another good year in 2017.  Why not maximize the potential, start and finish with a bang and be the very best we can be in the process?  Sharpen your sales awareness, work smarter and quit getting in the way of the sale!