I am in Sales. I sell. I tend to scare people off because of this. People hear the word sales and their defenses get ready for battle. I understand this, so I prepare for it.
Selling a service can be challenging. I am saying to someone, “I can sell you this. It will work. Trust me, and give me money. I am selling magic beans. I mean they really are magic if you plant, water, and nurture them, but if you put them in a drawer expecting a beanstalk to grow in your bedroom, you will be highly disappointed.”
Over the years, I have been in several different capacities of sales, but no one ever taught me a process. Then I came to TrainerTainment and learned there was a process. My reaction was, “Wait. What? There is a method?” So, I dove in and began to learn. It takes practice. Sometimes, you won’t get the sale, but you will learn something every time. This week I want to share a few “magic beans” that will help make a difference in your sales process.
No, I am not talking about going out and looking for gold…well, maybe a little. In Mark Hunter’s book called High Profit Prospecting, he says 25% of a salesperson’s time should be spent prospecting, building a lead list, cold calling, visiting businesses, etc. A lot of salespeople don’t prospect. Some think they don’t have to. They have enough inbound business. Some don’t think they have time. Some say cold calling is dead. Whatever reason you have for not prospecting isn’t good enough. Start prospecting today!
At Bowl Expo this year I requested an Uber to drive me to dinner. When he arrived, I hopped in and started talking. He was telling me he just graduated from college and was going into an insurance sales position. We chatted on our short ride and before I got out of the car, he asked me, “What would be your number one tip for someone going into sales?” Without hesitation, I said, “Connect. Connect with them on a personal level first, especially since you are selling insurance. They need to like and trust you. You must be authentic with them and put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated? How will what you are selling help them? Ask yourself these questions before every customer encounter. People buy from people, especially people they like and trust.”
I attended the Outbound conference in Atlanta this year and one of the biggest things I learned was from Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting. He said we need to shut up and listen. We are salespeople. We talk a lot and usually, we are good at talking, but many of us are not good at listening. You know what your product is, right? You know how people will benefit from your product, so you should tell them, and they will completely see what you are talking about and instantly want to buy 100 of them! No. Stop that. That will not work. Jeb Blount calls this “Pitch Slapping.” It makes me laugh every time I hear it, but that is what so many untrained salespeople do. Don’t “Pitch Slap.” After connecting with the client, ask some questions, and then after each one, shut up and listen! Let them tell you what they need, then sell them that. If you listen, they will tell you how your product will help them.
Now that you know what the client needs, repeat what you heard. Beth Standlee, the owner of TrainerTainment and our fearless leader, has coached me in this many times. She will start with, “Thank you for sharing with me. What I heard was… I understand that…. and you feel like…. etc.” Repeating what your client said is so beneficial for you and your client. You have heard them and confirmed what they need. Now ask, “Is that correct? Is there anything else?” This is huge in the qualification process. It will reduce the number of objections you may have in closing.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what the client needs, create a contract, agreement, or invoice, and present it. Do you ever email it and then sit back and wait? Maybe pray to the sales gods for it to come back signed, only for them to come back and ask questions or have objections. I did. I actually assumed they would have questions and waited for them, knowing I had the answers. I know. Seems silly, right? Schedule a specific time with the customer and review the agreement together. This meeting allows the client to get answers to any questions and gives you the opportunity to clear up any objections. You will also have another opportunity to explain the value and how what you are offering meets their needs. This tip alone will speed up your sales process enormously. It cuts down the response time and the customer will greatly appreciate it.
I don’t know one salesperson who hasn’t lost a sale because they didn’t follow up. I met a client at a trade show in 2017. They stopped by our booth and said I could call them after the show. I called. I emailed. I called again. I emailed again. I got a reply! I set a meeting and they stood me up. I emailed back, said I understood things come up, asked to reschedule. They did and we chatted. I found out what their needs were, repeated them, and set the time for a follow-up meeting. They stood me up again. I finally decided to send them a video where I briefly reviewed the proposal and said if they were at all intrigued, just call me. It had been about eight They called. I invited them to one of our conferences and long story longer; it paid off in a big way. Not only was this my biggest sale, but it has also been one I am most proud of. I consistently followed up. I was patient and, in the end, I know what I have sold this client meets their needs and will help their business grow! They sat in on a sales training session given by our amazing trainer, Janice Jokkel, and afterward came up to me and said, “That’s what you did to me. You reviewed the agreement, answered all our questions, and I signed it! It worked!” Not only do we train and coach this sales process, but we live it!
Ask For The Sale
I am not talking about waiting for the sale. Ask for it. Asking for the sale can be uncomfortable. It was for me at first. Then I realized people need to know what the next steps are. After you have reviewed the agreement, answered all the questions, and overcome all the objections, let them know the next steps. For example: “John, if there are no other questions regarding the agreement or what I have presented to you, here are the next steps. Please sign the agreement, return it with the method of payment, and we’ll get you started. How does that sound?” Most of the time they will say it sounds great and want to move forward. If the client needs to share with someone else or can’t do it right away, ask for a time you could expect it and let them know if you don’t hear from them by then, you will call them on a specific day at a specific time. Each time this has happened to me, I have received the agreement before the follow-up time. You want to sell your product. They need your product…. Ask them for the sale!
I am not inventing anything new. I am simply telling you what I have found that works. I have read a lot of sales books, attended conferences, and learned from the best. At the Outbound conference I attended, Mike Weinberg, author of one of my favorite sales books New Sales Simplified stated that none of what we were learning was new. It’s simply looking at it from another perspective.
I love to learn and intentional learning is one of our core values at TrainerTainment. We are always looking to learn new ideas, methods, and perspectives.
So back to those beans I mentioned early on… I just gave you a few. Will you plant them or stick them in the drawer and hope for the best? If you need help, call us.