Virtually every salesperson you’ll ever meet will tell you one of the most important things a salesperson has to do is to strike up a relationship with the customer. They invariably list it as one of their top pieces of advice to anyone thinking about a job selling. ‘People buy from people’ they’ll say reciting the old saying as if it were in their credo. In too many cases though they’re referring to having a relationship with a single contact, virtually ignoring the need for having multiple contacts in a bigger sale and/or an important customer account. They invest all of their time and effort in that single contact, oblivious to the fact that the bigger the sale is the more people that will be involved in making a purchasing decision.
There are a number of issues that can be dangerous about this approach including:
– the contact may not have decision making authority, at least they won’t usually have sole responsibility (despite what they may tell you or their job title may imply)
– there may be ‘office politics’ where they work and they could be outvoted on a product/service/supplier choice by people who don’t like that person (irrelevant of what they are voting on – it just happens because they don’t want to see that individual get their way)
Posted in Being A Salesperson, Building Rapport, Conducting Sales Visits, Managing Key Accounts, What It Takes To Succeed
Tagged account management, contact, decision making, key account management, key accounts, key customers, professional salesperson, rapport, relationships, risk, winning key customers
Anyone who has a deck of cards has at some time or other played Twist (also known as 21). In the game you are dealt two cards, add their totals and decide to ‘stick’ with what you’ve got or to ‘twist’ and take additional cards. The aim to get as close to 21 as you can (picture cards worth 10 and aces worth 1 or 11). The winner is the player with 21 or the nearest figure below it. Go above it and your hand is ‘bust’ (void).
Sometimes in sales it can be like playing Twist when dealing with a prospect who won’t give any clues where you are, especially when you are selling against a competitor. Having gone through the sales process and made your offer, you are looking to gain commitment, or at least understand how you are considered amongst potential suppliers. Suddenly your prospect stops talking to you, doesn’t answer your calls and generally leaves you feeling unsure of what is happening and what to do next.
Posted in Being A Salesperson, closing, Continuous Development, Questioning Skills, What It Takes To Succeed
Tagged 21, closing, communication, competition, competitor, deal, decision, decision making, feedback, gamble, gambling, information, offer, prospect, selling against the competition, stick, twist
I was asked to help a salesperson who was struggling to meet his targets; I’ll call him Terry. In investigating him, I could see that his activity levels were good, the mix of new business prospecting and existing customer development time was good, he made a good number of presentations and plenty of offers. As such the usual causes of poor results weren’t evident. I asked about his product, competition and marketplace knowledge and was told again that these were all good.
“I’ll need to go out with him in that case” I said as I looked forward to learning more.
One thing I had noticed was that of the products he represented there was a skewing of results towards one product range, more than the other. His manager was clearly frustrated by this as they made a point of telling me that for them it was baffling as Terry’s knowledge was exceptional on the products he wasn’t selling and yet it was average for the team on the products where he wasn’t winning business. That gave me a clue of what to look at.
After a small number of sales visits I saw what I needed to.
Posted in Being A Salesperson, closing, Continuous Development, Stories From The Road
Tagged asking for business, closing, commitment, flow, getting commitment, know too much, knowledge, matching, needs, Product knowledge, prospects
Whatever you do, if you want to be more successful there are 2 important questions to ask yourself. They immediately help us focus our efforts and energy as well as encouraging us to keep on improving.
The 2 questions are:
1. “Is what I am doing achieving my objectives or helping me work towards them?”
Posted in Being A Salesperson, Continuous Development, goal setting, Motivation, What It Takes To Succeed
Tagged 2 questions, answer, answers, closed question, goals, improve, improvement, improving, objectives, open ended question, open question, questioning, questions, succeed, success, successful, successful people