Posts Tagged ‘sales’

SPIN Selling

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Inspired by Mistake No. 11 in The Termite Effect.

Mistake No. 11 in The Termite Effect  is “Your Business Does Not Have a Well-Defined Sales System”.  Many business owners and entrepreneurs are winging it when it comes to their sales process. As a matter of fact, calling their sales activity a process is quite a stretch.

One of my favorite books on sales is Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling whose analysis suggests a specific questioning sequence. Below is a synopsis:

S – Situational Questions

  • Background and data-gathering.
  • “How long have you had your present equipment?”

P – Problem Questions

  • Implied needs, explore difficulties and dissatisfaction in areas where your products or services can help.
  • “Are you concerned with the quality of output from your current equipment?”

I – Implication Questions

  • Build upon the implied need. Discover the seriousness and urgency of the need.
  • “How does the equipment impact your profitability?”

N – Need-Payoff Questions

  • Get the customer to explain to you the benefits that your solution could offer them.
  • “What would it mean to your business if we improved your equipment’s speed by 10%-15%?”

Rackham suggests developing and maintaining a problem solving mentality. If you can solve a problem for a prospect, you most likely have a sale. You identify their problems by asking great questions.  |


All Leads Are Not Created Equally – Part I

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by Mistake #9 from The Termite Effect:
Click here to watch the video post about Mistake #9.

I want you to think about the sales process as an equation:

The Sale = Credibility + Price + Personality + Product / Service 

Traditional sales training teaches you that your prospect is looking for any reason to say “No”. If you lack credibility you get a “No!” Price isn’t right? “No!” Don’t like your personality? “No!” Your product or service is not exactly what they are looking for? “No!” Because of the propensity to look for “No!”, you are trained to overcome objections in order to win the sale.

Let’s talk about how you can tip the scale of this equation in your favor. Rather than spending countless hours preparing and presenting sales proposals only to find out that you were swimming upstream the whole time because the prospect never had any intention of buying what you were selling, how about building a referral-based business? Instead of evaluating HOW you sell, evaluate at TO WHOM you are selling.

The first thing I want you to do is debrief your last ten sales calls. How did you get in the door? Were they pre-qualified? Were they a warm lead? A cold call? Were they a referral? How long had you been working for the sale? Did you conduct a formal sales presentation or a casual presentation?

Next, evaluate your success rate between the leads (cold calls, pre-qualified, warm leads) and the referrals. If you are struggling with the distinction, think of a referral as someone directed TO you. In other words, someone else suggested to the prospect that they NEED to talk to YOU.

Think about how selling to referrals impacts the equation above. With a referral, you already have 25% of the equation handled – credibility! With credibility covered, you will encounter an interesting phenomenon; all other parts of the equation will receive less scrutiny from the prospect. They become less price-focused due to your credibility. They will spend less time analyzing your personality looking for reasons to say “No”. Oddly enough, your solution (the actual product or service) also becomes less important. Don’t get me wrong, just because you receive a referral does NOT mean the sale is a slam dunk but you certainly are better positioned than under any other scenario.

Building a referral-based business is the Holy Grail of sales and well worth the required time, effort and energy. We will address how to build a referral-based business in Part II of this blog.  |

Are You a Good Listener?

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by Mistake No. 16 from The Termite Effect.

I recently conducted a workshop called The Lost Art of Networking – How to Become a Master Networker. One of the components that I spoke about is the need to be a good listener. Whenever the topic of listening comes up, I always think about one of my favorite quotes from the Bible, James 1:19 – “Be slow to speak, slow to anger and quick to listen.” That about says it all! God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and I believe we should use them in proportion.

Listening is not natural for many of us. It is a skill that must be practiced and developed.

In the business world, building trust with your employees, vendors, partners and customers is a necessity. I would argue that very few things build trust faster than listening. After all, the more you allow others to talk, the more likely they are to come to trust you.

Below are a few tips to improve your listening skills:

  • Listen with your eyes
  • Relax and be patient when listening to others
  • Seek to understand rather than to be understood
  • Ask great questions
  • Practice being an authentic listener

One final thought: during your next sales call, pay attention to what percent of the time you are talking versus listening. Ideally you should be listening 75%-80% of the time. How else will you determine what their problem is and if you have a solution?  |

Your Sales System

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Excerpt from Mistake No. 11 from The Termite Effect:

The late sales guru David Sandler once said, “If you don’t have a selling system of your own, when you are face-to-face with a prospect, you will unknowingly default to the prospect’s system.”

How would you describe your sales system? Do you have a system? Are you winging it?

Might I suggest that you put some rigor around your sales process? Below are a few ideas that might help you develop a more disciplined approach to sales.

  • Consider using sales scripts. I am not suggesting that you rigidly stick to a script during a sales call but the simple act of creating and reviewing a script will help you better articulate your value proposition. Consider it practice.
  • Use a contact management system. After you meet with or speak to a prospect or client, do you document what happened during the meeting? Do you schedule your next conversation with them? Many salespeople hate the thought of maintaining a database. If that describes you, delegate the maintenance to someone who loves getting into the details. It will be your responsibility to feed them the information on an ongoing basis but they can update the database and schedule follow up appointments on your behalf.
  • Make it a habit to follow up with prospects who do NOT buy from you. There is a lot to be learned!
  • For those of you who employ sales people, you have a responsibility to them: Do you provide ongoing training, support and motivation for your sales team? Do you make it a point to ride shotgun with each of them several times a year to critique their performance? Do you ask your sales people to debrief their calls? Do you conduct regularly scheduled sales meetings? If not, please seriously consider it!

Send me the details of your sales system.  |

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