How many of you watched Deborah Meaden retract her offer of investment this week on Dragon’s Den? What a truly great example of a Sales Person getting in the way of the buying process.
The thing is, this isn’t as uncommon as you might think. I coach and train lots of sales people, and often they are guilty of this, but they do not realise they do it.
Here are some examples.
Questioning – When asking questions, sales people often ask a string of questions all at once. “I wanted to ask you what plans you have for the business, any new products, new services, have you looked at different ways of marketing.?” Well, which question shall I answer first thinks the client! Let me tell you, the last one they heard. In essence the most important is the first question, but due to nerves and rushing things through, sales people just roll them out. The solution is quite simple, one question at a time.
Questioning (again) – Asking multiple-choice questions. “Are you buying national advertising or locally focused?” “Are you looking for a formal shoe or a casual shoe?” The client will basically choose from the options you have given them, and if you are telephone sales person the answer may well be the one that gets you off the phone quickest! The solution here is ask one question and do not give the answer within the question.
Process & Procedure – Clients do not need to know about the ins and outs of a sales persons employer or the processes and procedures that go into running it. So when a client asks for a better price or something else that they value then to say “I will need to check with my manager.” Or “That goes well beneath my bottom line and we work to a specific margin blah blah blah” does not go down well and simply gets in the way. The solution is to own what you sell, be sure of your authority when negotiating and keep to the relevant facts.
Negotiation – Remember that you cannot begin to negotiate until a client has agreed to buy from you first. Sales people often start bartering over price well before the client/customer has even decided to buy. This just cheapens what is on offer and makes the sales person look eager and pushy. Of course the danger is that when the client is ready to buy, they then have a price to start working with and will then try and push further for a better price. EEK! The Solution is to make sure the client is qualified and in a position to buy. Ask the right questions, make the correct recommendations, and establish what the client values.
Self Worth – Sales people who only think about their targets and commission inevitably comes across in the wrong light. Insight Selling teaches us to understand that clients need to resonate with products and services making them ‘want’ them. Then the Sales Person must differentiate themselves ensuring that in the client’s mind they are the only option and first choice. This avoids the “what is your best price?” objection as the comparison of other providers has been removed. Finally Sales People must substantiate their claims so that the client believes them. When the client ‘believes’, they convert and then they do not see any risk. The Solution? As a sales person think “If I can help my client make money or save money, they will in turn make me money without me even trying.”
Making Judgement – Whilst opinion and insight play a valuable role in selling, making a judgement can be risky. Sales People who express their own opinions as facts are tripping the light fantastic in creating risk and judgement responses from their clients. The solution here is listening to what is said, or observe what is happening then respond rather than react, the response will be based in consideration rather than judgement and therefore put the sales person in a better light with the client.
The next time you are faced with a client, ask yourself this question, “Do I want to sell them something today?” if the answer if no, go and find another job and soon! I mean it. If the answer is yes, then make plans to ensure you do not get in the way of the buying process, as this will stop you getting chewed up and spat out by a dragon. Thanks for reading.
This blog is part of the Sales Training I offer to businesses. if you would like to have more information on how I can help you to make more money through effective selling then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07979 537824.