Don't make me come over there to twist your arm and drag you kicking and screaming, because what you are about to learn is going to make you more successful, put more money in your bank account, and generally make your life easier.
What am I talking about?
Ugh! Ack! (As one of my private clients is fond of saying.) Barf! Those are just some of the reactions folks have about selling. Especially the "spiritual," lawyer, doctor and other professional types of folk. But here is the real deal truth:
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNERS ARE THOSE WHO CAN SELL.
I was talking to my team the other day, and I identified the common denominator in all of my successful clients — they all could sell and sell well.
One of the reasons some people have such a negative reaction to selling is the false image they have in their minds of the fast-talking, sleazy salesperson in a plaid suit. The truth is that sales is one of the most noble professions on the planet. You are helping people get what they want and need. And remember this:
Nothing Happens Until Someone Sells Something
So over the next few days, I am going to give you a fast-start course in how to sell with integrity. So let's get at it!
Do You "Show Up and Throw Up?" –
Instead, "Ask the Question" and Get the Sale
What do we sell? Cars, insurance, security, carpet, advertising? Widgets, sprockets? If you answered with the type of product you have for sale, you’re wrong.
We sell CUSTOMERS! You must know what the customer wants, needs, is willing to buy, etc.
In pharmaceutical and financial services sales, the regulation surrounding what you can or can’t say to a customer is much stricter than in many other industries. This means that you must learn the proper way to promote and not be outside regulations…or you can be fired without further question. This can lead to “show up and throw up”…which can be devastating to your sales efforts if left unchecked.
Let's take the pharmaceutical sales professional. He (or she) can find himself rambling on to a polite doctor, willing to let them ramble about side effects, dosing, competition, price, etc. Oops, they forgot one thing: what does the customer want to know? Need to know? What does the customer care about?
I can be very smart. I can learn all there is to know about a product, its features, benefits, how it stacks up to the competition. I can be fluent in impressive “drug speak,” or “insurance language,” but if I don’t address my customer properly, I’m wasting everybody’s time. Period. I’ve accomplished almost nothing. If I “show up and throw up” data, facts, figures, etc., but have not found out what the client is looking for, I’ve lost the sale before it started more often than not. Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale? I have.
Ask the question. That is the focus of today. Questions. Probing. Identifying customer needs, wants, objections. You need to know them; they need to know you care about what they are actually looking for.
Here are 3 tips for “Asking The Question” and unlocking more sales…
– Probe – No one likes this word. It’s used in alien abduction movies, senate hearings on corruption or steroids in sports, and it was even a pretty cheesy and poorly made midsize car in the 90s (sorry if you ever owned one – more sorry if you really liked it). You’ve heard it in every sales training you’ve ever been through, or at least I have. It’s one of those words that has been used so often, it’s lost a bit of its power to motivate. It’s just “part of the sales process.” So the “probing” part of the sales process becomes as mundane and rehearsed as the rest, and we start to “show up and throw up” our questions, too.
In actuality, this can be a make or break moment in the sales call, and it comes early. You could spend a ton of time working with a potential client who’s already decided they’re not buying from you. Make sure you start early, take a real interest in what they care about, and LISTEN to the answers.
– Cushion and re-state objections – gain more understanding, and make sure you know exactly what they want. This one is simple. ALWAYS re-state objections, needs, wants, etc. There are a ton of ways to do this, but the most effective is to ask a question. Don’t be patronizing or act like you weren’t listening. Simply make sure you understand what their concerns really are. At this point and time in a sales call, usually when the presentation or sales pitch is in full swing, you need to make sure you aren’t assuming anything.
If there is an overt objection…e.g., “That’s too much," or “I don’t like that feature,” or “Your competitor does it differently.” Be understanding, cushion with an agreement, re-state the objection, make sure you’re clear…and then address it properly.
– Offer Solutions – respond appropriately – What does the customer want? How do you address the objection? You need to offer solutions. DO NOT make excuses. DO NOT talk down your competition. This is about THEM and what YOU have to offer them.
Don’t call their baby ugly. Maybe they’ve dealt with the competition in the past and liked it. Maybe their daughter-in-law works there. Maybe they’re put off by sales people who talk down competitors.
The point is, a solution is not found by bringing up a problem with something else. A solution is a real, tangible answer for an objection. Don’t brush past it, ignore it, or downplay its importance. If the customer has an objection…offer a real solution. Get help from a colleague or supervisor if you need to.
If you have some fence sitters…all of us do…make contact, and ASK THE QUESTION. Whether it’s a closing question or an uncovering objections question, ask it. Or maybe even a discovering needs question if you’ve not had the chance to do that.
In your new sales calls, take notes. Make it your mission to find out what the ultimate goal for each customer is. Sometimes it’s easy…but most of the time, customers are guarded. If you care enough to really try to help, they’ll see that.
Don’t just “show up and throw up” all of the jargon you’ve learned. SELL! Find out what they want, and close the deal.
I'd love to hear what you think about this post. I'll even answer a question you might have, so comment now!