Stick or Twist?

aid675276-v4-728px-Play-War-(Card-Game)-Step-11-Version-3Anyone 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.

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, closing, Continuous Development, Questioning Skills, What It Takes To Succeed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Ensure ‘Beginning With The End In Mind’ Works For You, Not Against You

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is: Begin with the end in mind. In other words, do things in a way that will give you the best opportunity of achieving your desired outcome. And whilst Covey was describing what separates high achievers from everyone else, all of us begin with the end in mind, we just don’t necessarily realise we’re doing it. To prove it I’ll give you an example from a sales observation I conducted.

fireplacesBefore going in to see an existing retail customer, I asked a fireplace seller what she expected to achieve from the call. She told me she was going in to introduce a new range her company had just launched, to see how the existing products they bought from her were going and to look at what other opportunities may exist. As a large showroom, she told me that this prospect was a good call; they carried a number of manufacturers’ products and so there was a good chance of winning some of that business. I asked her what chance of success she thought she had of coming out with an order from that call and she confidently said 90-95%. She gathered her things for the call and in we went.

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, Conducting Sales Visits, goal setting, Justifying Your Price, Negotiating, Stories From The Road, What It Takes To Succeed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Too Much Product Knowledge Can Cost You Sales

information overloadI 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.

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, closing, Continuous Development, Stories From The Road | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“If you you’re so interested in doing business with me, why do you insist on talking about yourself?”

There’s an adage in selling that says, “People are interested in people who are interested in them”. And so it is with prospects; it’s a basic of selling.

not interestedMany salespeople seem to forget this though and spend the first period of a sales conversation with a prospect talking about themselves, their company and their product/service. In some cases they mistakenly believe that is what salespeople should do; in others it is because they don’t feel it is right to ask for someone’s time and then to go and ask questions. The truth is that only poor salespeople go and do all of the talking, whereas by asking questions of the prospect they would be engaging in that basic of selling, as questions show that we’re interested.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a case of just asking any old question, as that could be deemed a waste of a prospect’s time. Rather it’s a case of doing some research, learning something about our prospect, identifying how we believe our product/ service can benefit them and then verifying what we think is true whilst helping the prospect come to the same conclusion.

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, Building Rapport, Conducting Sales Visits, Justifying Your Price, Prospecting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congratulations On Spotting You Were Up Against Competition; What Took You So Long To Realise It Though?

odd one out imageThere’s a well touted statistic that says approximately 65% of salespeople don’t differentiate their product/service from their competitors. That’s quite astonishing really when we consider that today with information so freely available, pretty much anybody can compete with you on anything.

We have to expect competition, and therefore we should prepare to tackle it in every situation and the best way to deal with it is to differentiate ourselves away from the ‘also rans‘.

There are a number of ways to differentiate with low price being a favourite and easy choice for those who can exercise it. The same can apply to lead times where a vendor has quick deliveries or stocks to draw from. But what about those who have a higher priced offering or worse still higher priced and with a longer lead time? Well, if this is you take comfort in the fact that you can still effectively differentiate and create desire for your product/service so your prospects choose to do business with you over your lower priced and more readily available adversaries.

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, demonstrating value, Differentiating Yourself and Your Offer, presenting, Questioning Skills, Selling Parables, What It Takes To Succeed | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only 2 Questions You Need to Answer to be More Successful at Anything

the only 2 questions as at 19012018Whatever 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?”

Continue reading

Posted in Being A Salesperson, Continuous Development, goal setting, Motivation, What It Takes To Succeed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment