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Welcome to the second of the Secret to Sales blog series.
Last week I shared how to reframe your approach to sales to impress customers with your knowledge and expertise in order to make a sale. If you missed the first in the series – you can see it here. The next step is to make sales frequently.
You want to be the best? Being a good sales person is O.K. but if you want financial freedom, time freedom or whatever success means to you, then that means getting all the way to the top. To be the very best I don’t mean making a sale often, I mean nearly always.
Think you can’t sell, or it’s really not your forte? Think again. If you have tried to sell, failed a little or a lot, then you have the perfect experience, insights and knowledge to develop a sales strategy and process that will make you great at selling. Here’s how.
Build your strategy
To build your strategy you first need to answer these 3 fundamental questions:
This seems like a good time to pick up from last week. Back at the call centre, I had developed a nice approach, which had eased me in gracefully but I wasn’t winning the race or even close. There was a leaderboard and to my dismay, I wasn’t even featured. If you haven’t figured out already I am a little competitive (just a little). And, I was determined to be at the top, so I spoke to my manager to find out what was stopping me getting there.
My line manager explained, I was making lots of sales but I wasn’t converting enough calls to sales. If I wanted to make my way to the top of the leaderboard I needed to sell specific phones, on specific contracts to earn more money. In short, I needed to learn how to convert more inquiries into customers, by directing them to specific phones and specific contracts and learn to close each caller.
Now this example may seem like too much information as you don’t work in a call centre selling mobile phones, but please bear with, there is method to the madness. No matter what you are selling, the principles are the same.
So take this out of the call centre and put it in your world.
- You need to begin working out your strategy (3 points above) to direct your customer to what’s right for them and importantly good business for you.
- You naturally have products and services that make you more money? Obviously, this is what you need to focus on directing customers to purchase. Of course you know this… so here’s what you need to do.
- You need to work out from your past enquiries, who to propose what to, and when. You do this by discovering patterns.
To discover patterns you need to analyse your past sales both good and bad. The good news is, every defeat you’ve suffered up to now is like gold. Even if they only said a few words, analyse that. They most likely said more than you think. Here’s how you can find the information.
In the sales world this is called a review your current customers decision trees and the sales cycles. If I’ve lost you already with mumbo jumbo speak, don’t worry full break down coming up, which I think is actually quite fascinating.
- Decision tree = How a customer decides, the different paths they could go down depending on their need state and the situation at that time. (see sleep or eat hunger decision tree graphic).
- Sales cycles = The stages from an inquiry to a shiny new customer during the course of the day, week or month – based on your sale frequency.
The key to winning each and every prospect is by connecting their needs to your top product and guiding them the whole way down their decision tree. They should not be leaving you to find out more from someone else. Your duty is to find the right solution for them.
To uncover all the options in order to find a solution and make a sale every time can be time consuming, so how do you speed this up?
You need to analyse all your sales and losses. If you could/couldn’t get them to the finish line, why/why not? This is where you begin to find patterns.
Ask yourself a multitude of how, what and whys.
What motivated them to call you? / What was the pain point they wanted to overcome?
Why did your last prospect say no? / Why did they say yes?
Why didn’t you change their mind? / How did you change their mind?
What could you have done differently? / What did you say that interested them the most?
What will their next step be?
How can you stay on the journey with them?
Draw out some decision trees.
Do it for your latest sales
Do the same for the lost sales
Now try and make each decision tree shorter using what worked from other sales.
Can you create a new branch to it? i.e. introduce something new into the consideration set from your product/service range that matches that need?
Consider every objection you have ever had. Every “um” and “ah” from the client. At every step you need to be narrowing down the options to lead them to a dream solution. Make it so they’d be crazy to say anything other than yes!
Not got enough information to do the exercise? The very next prospect to call, connect with you, ask them as many questions as you dare!
Why are you looking for X?
What are your hesitations?
What is it specifically you need? Why is that?
Why is that not a good option? What do you like about your current X?
This is where you might actually start to enjoy sales. It starts to feel like a game of wit.
You need to develop an answer for everything. But don’t panic, the same objections and reasons that one customer has will come up again and again. So it’s not as hard as it sounds.
The more practice you get handling objections, the faster your brain will work to figure out the decision tree and keep them and you on track.
Develop your winning process
Once you have identified your insights, you have the foundation of your strategy, you can then create your version of my sales process and put it into action:
- Present like minded customers with products based on previous sales success.
- Bring target products you want to sell into the customers consideration set (The timing of this is key).
- Explain the reasons why they should buy it, based on why other customers who fit the same customer type (based on age, needs and requests) bought it.
- Direct and confirm the right solution quickly and efficiently – overcome any objections and provide a clear reason to buy now or return to you later.
I mention return to you later, because sometimes, just sometimes, there is an exception to being able to close the sale every time. Usually, this is when a customer hasn’t done any research and you’ve got them on the line when they have simply too many unknowns. This means, even with your wealth of knowledge, laser focused strategy and brilliant process they say, they need more time.
However, don’t be fooled with phony excuses for not buying there and then; find the real ones.
To date, I’ve only found two:
1). They need to see your product for themselves. Touch it feel it etc. (a 30 day money back guarantee usually overcomes this but not always).
2). They are spending someone else’s money. You are not talking to the decision maker.
Accept these exceptions and simply work hard to give them the very best experience with you, if an excuse is genuine, and you’ve done everything right, they will be back to buy from you.
So you now have the tools to build your strategy and develop your winning sales process. How do you feel? Confident or nervous? I’d love you all to reply that you are raring to go but I know there is one more piece to the puzzle. To have you out there smashing your sales targets and that is, practice.
Once again, I’m here to tell you, you’ve had more of this than you think. If you have worked with people in any capacity, and got people to agree with you on anything, then you can sell. If you have persuaded a group of people to come around to your way of thinking. Then you can sell. It’s all about confidence. Knowing you are right is one thing but really believing it, is the key to the big unlock.
Next week I’ll take you through exactly how to make this final shift with you mindset in the ultimate blog in this series.
See you next week!