Making Sales that Change Lives
Fundamentally, making sales is about persuasion. It’s helping prospects to recognize that you can solve their problems more efficiently and effectively than anyone else, and that they can’t afford to ignore you. You assess their needs, overcome their objections, and negotiate the details, such as discounts and guarantees.
Throughout your discussion, you build in value so that by the end of the presentation they’re ready to sign with you. Theoretically, the close should be the easiest part; but here many salespeople blow it. They misread the signs their prospects give, minimize or skip over the most important parts that preceded it, and instead focus on the urgency of making the sale.
You have to ask yourself why they would go to all the trouble of preparing a presentation if all they intended to do was cut to the chase anyway. Why not simply ring them up and ask, “Do you want to buy?” One way or the other, it would save everyone a lot of time.
One reason that some salespeople fail to realize the importance of the steps in the sales process is that they see it as nothing more than a game. The goal is to win, and when they close the deal, they score. When there is no sale, the prospect gets the point instead.
Is it only a game?
What if making sales wasn’t a game? What if it was much more than that?
You see it’s one thing to treat it like a game knowing that it isn’t and quite another to believe that it is. That’s because your beliefs drive your behaviour. In other words, you will behave differently if you believe one is true rather than the other.
If you treat this process like a game while knowing that it isn’t, then you’ll use it as a means to keep score with yourself, for example. You won’t look upon the failure to make sales as wins for your prospects because you’re not competing against them. You’re competing with yourself.
If, however, you believe that it’s a game, a numbers game for example, then you’ll be more likely to leave people out of the equation. Instead of striving to meet the needs of prospects, you’ll instead be looking for ways to make your numbers; and when that happens, it will be easier to cut corners, and to minimize, or even bypass the important preliminary steps in the sales process.
And here’s another thing.Your prospects will discover in no time at all whether you care about them or not. If they get the least impression that you see them as simply one of your “numbers”, then you’re dead in the water.
The “best” sales pitches are creative. What that means is that you’re not following a script or even a format necessarily. Rather, you are listening and learning. If you’re doing all the talking, or waiting for prospects to pause for breath so that you can leap in to deal with their objections or to pick up where you left off, then you’re doing neither. (Chances are good, in fact, that you’re also finishing the sentences of your prospects.)
Some companies do try to “dictate” what their salespeople say, but none of that overrides your personality. You have to be true to yourself; you also can’t hide who you really are. What that means is that if you attempt to be someone you’re not, then not only will you not be trusted, but doubts will be cast upon your product and the company you represent, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Prospects may not be able to put their finger on the problem. They’ll only know that they should be looking elsewhere.
This brings up another interesting point: Competition.
When you think of competition, you probably imagine that it consists of sales people who represent another company or who are even within your own.
Think about it. When you attend a meeting with a prospect, you hope to discover common ground so that you can provide a solution that will get the results your prospects want. But the fact that you’re in front of that person at all times means that the deal is probably yours to lose. Why? Because time is so precious; your prospects don’t have the time to shop around. Hardly anyone does.
If you’ve been given the time to talk to a prospect, then you can be reasonably sure that that person is hoping that you have a solution that he or she can use. If you leave the meeting without a deal, then it’s either because you couldn’t deliver what you promised or, more likely, you were unable to convince the prospect that you could.
And what that means is that you are your own worst competitor.
Change your beliefs
No matter how you slice it, you’re most likely to lose deals because one way or another you sabotage your own efforts. To you, it’s simply a game.
If you want to make more sales, then you’ll need to change your beliefs – those that are deep in your heart. You won’t be able to pretend that it’s true. It will have to be true.
Start by thinking about all the ways that your solution can improve the lives of those you seek to help. Ignore the money.
Zig Ziglar once said that, “If you help enough other people get what they want, then you can get what you want.”
It has to start with others.
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