Monday, July 19, 2010

Master these 6 skills to get more Sales

My biggest challenge with new sales training clients is to migrate them from the "we do this and we do that and we've been around forever.." style to one of "this is how we can help you achieve your business goals, mr. customer". This is why I particularly appreciate these 6 tips that will help small business and large business grow their sales.

1. Learn the Power of Silence . You probably have a list of strategic questions to ask along with clarifying questions that you will use as the need arises. After you've asked a question, be silent and let the other party speak. On far too many occasions, I have heard sales people answer their own questions. I have heard sales reps drag out their questions in order to fill a silent gap. I have heard other members of the sales team jump in with their versions of the answer to show off their prowess and knowledge. In any conceivable scenario involving two people communicating with each other, the same rule of thumb applies--the person that is asking the questions is directing the conversation. If you are doing all of the talking, then your prospect or client is directing the conversation. Learn to be silent and listen.

2. Use Vocal Control to Direct the Conversation . Back in the '90s, I picked up a series of educational sales tapes by Zig Ziglar. On one of those tapes, Ziglar ran through an exercise that highlighted the importance of vocal intonation. By taking a single statement, like "I did not say he stole the money," and applying emphasis on the different words, he showed how we could give this one simple statement seven meanings. A question like, "What do you do here" can also have several meanings with the appropriate verbal markings. Asking, "What do you do here?" can be taken as a generic question referring to your contact's company. On the other hand, asking, "What do you do here?" places the focus on the individual you are speaking with. Moreover, asking, "What do you do here ?" references the current location over everything else. Again, by verbally marking certain words in your questions and statements, you can better structure your consultations to carry more impact and meaning.

3. Ask for Clarification . If you are unsure of a statement or a question that your prospect has put on the table, do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions. As human beings trying to communicate with one another, we sometimes forget that everyone has different experiences, which gives everyone a unique and different perspective. If we communicate using vague instructions and concepts while assuming that everyone is familiar with what's in our heads, we can count on a certain level of misunderstanding to take place. If a client or prospect says that they have problems with employee engagement, ask them for examples and scenarios that clarify what employee engagement means to them. Then, once you have concrete examples of what they mean, recap to the best of your understanding to check if both of you are on the same page. If yes, then you can move forward with the sales process. If not, go back and gather more examples. The last thing you want to do is to expend resources solving something that your prospect does not consider a problem because you misunderstood what they were saying.

4. Maintain Mental Awareness . If you have asked a question and your client is speaking about their challenges or their environment, you have an opportunity to focus and understand their statements and combine ideas to design a solution. You can also focus on the fact that your numbers are down and how much you really need to make this sale. Or, you can even drift off to how much you are looking forward to your "date night" and you can't wait for 5:30 to arrive. Even after you have mastered the skill of asking questions and you are adept with letting your prospect talk, you need to maintain mental awareness and stay focused on what your prospect is saying. We talk a lot about the dwindling attention span of our prospects and how little time we have to get their attention. Attention deficit is not something that only our prospects suffer from. Sales people suffer from the same challenge. To listen effectively, we need to exercise our will to keep our attention focused on what our prospects are saying. Don't stray and think about your shopping list or date night. Stay focused on the conversation and take notes on the discussion at hand. Not only will you create a viable solution, but your prospects will appreciate the attention.

5. Take Your Ego Out of the Picture . Sometimes it is hard to take the emphasis off of us. We want to appear knowledgeable and we want to make a good impression. We want to position our presence in our client's minds as the top dog with all of the answers, or at least more answers than our competitors. At this point, the sale becomes all about us and how we can look good, sound good and feel good. When this happens, our perception is clouded and our goals become murky. The reason we are there at the client site becomes "we want to look good." Remember that the best way to make a lasting impression with a client or prospect is to pay attention to them and show them some appreciation. Put your ego on the sideline until after the sale is complete.

6. Leverage All of Your Informational Resources . Now more than ever, you always need to do your research before you show up at your prospect's door. However, their website is not going to tell you everything. Your greatest source of information is your network of contacts inside and outside of the company. Become a skilled investigator, adept at asking questions to gather relevant information and assemble that information to create a credible picture of their environment. Social networking sites like LinkedIn will let you see which of your contacts are networked with a possible prospect company. Get as much information from as many sources at your disposal to gain a more complete picture of your prospect's situation and create a solution that will turn them into raving fans.

When you are conducting your consultation, remember that it's all about them, the prospect. Enhance your skills in listening and awareness and put the focus of this newfound power on your prospect or client. As long as you keep your attention focused on them and not on what you are doing, you'll have an excellent chance to collect exquisite information on your prospect. Enough to move the sales process forward to the next stage.

Good Selling! As always you can always email Triple Win Sales for help!

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