By Jack Conard
Director of Sales Training, DMP
If you’re interested in sales, there are all kinds of blogs and posts about closing techniques, how to overcome objections and on and on. I read one just the other day, in which the author gave an objection and then asked readers to send him, as fast as they could, their ways to overcome the objection and close the sale.
Okay, I thought, I get it. That may be fun, but really, have you ever heard a “phrased close” and thought, “That’s it! That is the one! I have finally found the magic phrase that will close sales and make me rich?” Of course not. Because it doesn’t work that way!
There really is no silver bullet, voodoo or magic phrase that casts a spell over people and causes them to buy. But here’s the real magic: People buy just like you do! So, if you understand your own buying behavior, and you have a proven sales process, you’re on your way to being able to sell anything to anybody!
I don’t mean that in a bragging way. What I’m saying is that it’s not about personality or product or price. It’s about process.
If you use a sales process and understand how and why people buy, you can communicate your value proposition in the language people relate to and understand. You can effectively show them how an exchange of their money for your product is very good for them. But you must know and follow a sales process. Not sometimes, but all the time!
Think about it. People don’t like being talked down to or bullied. However, if there’s something they think they might want to buy, that’s when people need, and actually want, to be educated about it. That’s our job. In a professional and caring way, we’ve got to educate them about the value of our product and explain why it’s the best one on the market today.
This brings up an important point: If you don’t believe your product and service is the best, you shouldn’t be trying to sell it! Because you won’t be able to transfer enthusiasm and passion for your product to your customer. They need that emotion from you to feel good about their decisions.
Salespeople often ask me why someone didn’t buy. They say things like, “I did everything right. They liked me, and my price was very competitive, but they just wouldn’t say yes. Why didn’t they buy?” They want me to say they did everything right and validate that it was the customer’s fault, not theirs. But the truth is, they did not follow a process. They tried to “sell them” instead of “help them.” They didn’t understand what the prospect really wanted from them.
All this confusion isn’t surprising, considering that only 39 percent of people intend to get into selling. And of those people, only 30 percent had any kind of formal sales training. Just 17 percent of people have ever read a book about selling; instead, they’re spending 62 percent of their day on administrative tasks! And yet, 71 percent of salespeople say their number one priority is to close more business.
Think about this for a moment. Most salespeople never intended to be in sales. They did not get any formal sales training, and they are not investing in their own training. They spend most of their time on administrative tasks, and yet, they want to close more business. Does that sound like a group of people who might be a little confused about what they’re doing?
Statistics show that only about 20 percent of salespeople will invest in their careers whereas roughly 80 percent of salespeople won't. The 80 percenters don’t get the education or practice to become better at their chosen profession. They’ll spend more time planning their vacations than learning skills that will help them make more money. On the other hand, the 20 percenters will spend the time to better themselves. They'll learn the skills that will provide them with more income so they can afford the awesome vacations and a lot more.
So, this message is for the 20 percenters, who’d like to get better! If you're in that group and you choose to participate in a sales training class with me, here are the things you’ll learn how to master:
- Believe in yourself, your company and your product.
- Assume the sale before you start!
- Have and follow a sales process. No shortcuts!
- Discipline of the basics is worth more than anything you do.
- All people have motive for everything they do. Prospects are people.
- Ask the right questions, and you will find the prospect’s motive to buy.
- Present your product so the prospect perceives the value as greater than the cost.
- Closing is not mysterious or scary, it’s just helping the prospect make a decision.
- Objections are a request for more information, and you need a process for that too!
- People don’t give referrals to salespeople; they give them to professionals who ask the right way.
In my 40 years of selling, I have seen a lot of people struggle to do these things. We’ve had good intentions, but some of us were never taught the right way. When I figured this out back in the ‘90s, my close rate soared from about 20 percent to almost 90 percent! Not with a canned close and my personality, but with a proven sales process that I learned from my mentor.
The more I practiced the sales process, the more reliable my sales became. I was selling residential security systems that averaged more than $2,000 each. My competition tried to sell against me with $200 security systems but lost almost 90 percent of the time. I must admit, I felt pretty bad when I couldn’t convince a prospect that my $2,000 solution was better than the $200 solution they were thinking about buying. But, can you imagine how my competition felt when they couldn’t sell their $200 system over my $2,000 one?
Happy selling, my friends!