The paperclips didn't need a sales pitch. Neither do your clients.

SELLutions

Selling Me A Car

by GSchulz 29. April 2012 17:27

I’m always trying to illustrate how professional sales really works -- helping your prospect self-realize that he or she needs (or in some cases, doesn’t need) your product or service. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen is one that happened to me when I decided to purchase a new Jeep.

Several years ago, I married a wonderful man who had two children. I also had a child of my own, so we were going to need a more “Brady-esque” car. After a lot of research, we decided that a Jeep Cherokee would do the trick. At that time, A Cherokee Laredo, the base model, would cost $299 a month to lease for three years with $1,000 down. A good deal for us by all accounts.

Since I know how car dealers work (or so I thought), I felt very strongly about staying emotionally detached and just purchasing the car for the price I wanted. I called the local Jeep dealership and asked for the sales manager. Richard (who I believe is still there) answered the phone. I explained to him that I wanted a Jeep Cherokee Laredo, dark green in color, and that I’d be willing to buy it today if he could match the price I wanted: $299 for a 36 month lease plus $1,000 down.

I was strong in my demand, making sure he knew I was in charge. Richard said he could match the price, but the only Cherokee Laredo he had on the lot was army green, not the dark green I wanted. Even though I was disappointed (the dark green is so much more “me”), I decided it was the route to go.

We arrived at the dealership, and I commanded my fiancée and the kids to stay in the car. “Wait here,” I said. “I’ll handle this.”

I walked into the showroom, where Richard greeted me. “You must be Greta,” he said with a sincere-looking smile.

“I am, “ I answered cautiously.

He smiled. “OK. Let’s go drive the car.”

I stopped him. “Oh no,” I exclaimed. “I want to talk money first!”

“Okay,” Richard replied. “But didn’t you say $299 for three years with $1,000 down? Since that’s what we agreed to, that’s what it is, right?”

With a half-smile on my face, I nodded proudly. “Right!”

As we walked through the lot to the army green (more of a pea green, actually) Jeep, Richard asked which car in the parking lot was mine. I pointed to the blue BMW where my fiancée and our kids waited. As we got into the Jeep, Richard made an interesting comment. “This car doesn’t have a leather interior,” he said. “It’s cloth, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure your kids don’t spill things at their age.”

“No, that’s OK,” I quickly replied.

As we pulled out of the dealership for the test drive, Richard played with the radio, then asked what kind of music I liked.

“Oh gosh, jazz. Top 40. Lot’s of different things.”

“Really?” he replied. “Do you have a lot of CDs?”

“Oh yes!” I proudly proclaimed. 

“Hmmm,” he mused. “You know this car doesn’t have a CD player, but I’m sure you’ve got cassettes.”

“Or I’ll just play the radio,” I said, not without reservation.

He smiled. “Of course you can,” he replied confidently.

As we pulled back into the dealership lot, Richard asked “So, what do you think?”

“Pretty nice,” I hesitantly replied. “It drives more like a truck, but hey, it’s not a BMW and you have to give up something, right?”

Silent, I walked into the showroom to go sign the papers.

“Hey Greta,” I heard Richard suddenly say. “That emerald green on that car down at the end of the lot…was that the color you originally asked me for?”

I felt sudden excitement. “Yes! But I thought you didn’t have one.”

“Not for a Laredo. But that’s a Grand Cherokee. It’s got all the bells and whistles, you know…CD player, leather seats and a smoother drive train. But that’s not the one you said you wanted.”

I couldn’t resist. “Ummmmm … how much more is it?”

Guess which one I drove away in (and only paid $70 more a month more for)? You got it!

And guess what I said to my fiancée when we were walking toward our new Grand Cherokee? “Honey, it’s more expensive, but I’m in sales. My car is like my office. I have to be comfortable.”

So what happened? Well, Richard did a really good job of finding out what was important to me. But he never told me those things were important. Instead, he asked the right questions that got me to self-realize that I wanted those things.

And what did I do? I made an emotional decision and justified it intellectually to my family. Remember, people love to buy, but they absolutely hate to be sold. So help them buy and stop selling them. It even worked on me, and I saw it coming.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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Employee Motivation

by Admin 1. March 2012 18:11
I often get questions about motivating employees. My overall belief is, "you can’t motivate anyone to do anything, just give them an opportunity to motive themselves". That being said what do you do to give them an opportunity to motivate themselves?

As a business owner, you don't want employees who are only motivated to perform well so they can "win a prize". You want employees who are motivated to perform well every day, no matter what carrot you're dangling in front of them.

What you really need is a team of employees who are emotionally invested in your company. A feeling of ownership. To cultivate that, you need family support. No amount of job awards can out-influence the home front. You can offer praise and gifts left and right, but you won't see much improvement in your employees performance if she goes home to a partner who says, "How much longer are you going to work there if you’re not happy?"

Please don’t mis-understand, I'm not suggesting that your employees need to have a love affair at work. It's just that the men and women your employees go home to at night that have the power to motivate (or de-motivate) far better and faster than you could.

Here's the key to winning over an employee's family: Start from day one. The first thing your newly hired staff member will likely hear from a significant other when he gets home is, "How was your first day?" If he spent it mostly filling out a three-foot stack of forms, ordering his own business cards and eating lunch alone, he might rightfully answer: "Lousy." His better half will quickly get down on your company, too, and hardly encourage the top-notch performance you want to see.

There's a full-proof way to get employees, and their loved ones at home, excited about working for your company from day one. First, really make them feel welcome. We want to be liked and accepted. Start a new employee program at your company. Have all employees (depending on the size of your organization) make a point through out that first day to stop and say hello to the new employee and welcome them. I also really like the idea of a sign at the front door that says, “Welcome Jane Smith We are glad you are here”. Additionally a welcome cake at lunch for all to stop by and enjoy is a great idea as well.

So, what happens if your new recruit comes home with a great story about his amazing first day? His better half will realize the opportunity he has—she'll become the ultimate motivator, rather than detractor.

Keep in mind, there are many definitions of family. Your new employee may be single (or soon to be). It's your mission to find out who makes up his or her support system and give accordingly. Perhaps it's a gift card for a night out with pals or a matinee with mom.

When your employees hear daily words of encouragement from their closest confidantes like, "I can't believe how lucky you are to be working for that guy!" their motivation rises to levels you've never tapped before. It's worked for me in all of my companies. And even if you can't afford more than a home-baked cake or thank-you card, giving your new employees a best first day ever is the key to keeping them motivated for years to come.

There are so many statistics about how much better and more productive your employees are when they feel good about working for you. We spend lots of money to recruit, and hire a new team member. Lets not forget their value after they are hired.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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A Great Salesperson is Not Your Best Manager

by Admin 6. February 2012 16:43

The most common questions I think I get, hands down, are: “Greta, where do I find a good sales manager?” or “Who on our team do you think would be a good manager?” Most of the time, they take their best salesperson and promote him, or they take somebody who has been in the field or sold before and hire her. What happens? Well, I’ll tell you: More often than not, it’s unsuccessful. To illustrate why, I’m going to tell you a story about Evan.

I work with a very prominent, high-end Web design company, one of the largest in the country. It has a wonderful reputation, and its salespeople are skilled, though they needed to learn some process. So the company hired me about a year and a half ago.

The sales manager they had was absolutely fabulous at sales – one of the best I’ve seen. And when I taught them my sales process, most of them – and certainly him – took to the process like a duck to water. The sales manager, named Don, took this process and made it his own. He totally got it, he understood it and he started selling like nobody’s business.

Well that’s great, but how were the others doing? They weren’t really hitting their potential. Why? Because they weren’t really being managed. Now, don’t get me wrong. Don was one of the best salesmen I’ve ever seen, but management and sales are two completely different things. So the owner and I sat down and talked. I said: “You know, I think you are holding Don back by making him a sales manager. He could be not only your top salesperson, but he could make a heck of a lot more money, and I don’t think he enjoys what he’s doing.” He said: “Well, what do you think we should do?”

Now, before I talk to you about Evan, I want to tell you a little bit about how the organization works. They have salespeople who will go out, cultivate the business, gather it, get it to a point where they have some technical conversation ready to happen, and then they have what they call “business consultants” come in to talk more on the technical side. That being said, their salespeople and their business consultants were both involved in my training and both learned the process.

But Evan, who was a business consultant, learned the process inside and out. Why? In my opinion, it’s because he’s a real process-oriented guy. Most salespeople believe whatever they want to believe, but Evan believes one plus one equals two.

So, when I suggested to the owner, Jeff, that he should make Evan the sales director, he almost fell over. He looked at me like I had three heads, and told me that Evan had never been in sales before. I said that’s precisely it. What I meant was that most of us think incorrectly about what we need in a sales manager.

A sales manager does not need to be the best salesperson because, unless you can teach someone through osmosis how to sell, that particular skill is not transferrable unless it is taught and accounted for. Even if they could articulate it, it really doesn’t make any difference because it can’t be repeatable and made accountable for unless it has steps to follow. Here is why Evan is a good sales leader:

  • Strong coaching. He could coach because he didn’t have his ego all tied up in “when I was a salesperson, this is what I would do.” He was a coach because he understood that coaching through a particular process allows for repeatable, accountable success and a clear understanding of what went wrong if a sale isn’t made.
  • It takes leadership. A leader is somebody who doesn’t tell someone what to do, but asks questions and gets them to realize what they should do. Evan was very skilled at this because the most intelligent people are the ones who ask, not tell. When someone self-discovers an answer to a question, it becomes theirs. When it is theirs, they learn.
  • Keeping people accountable. This is the one that most sales managers miss on. Because they will allow a salesperson to say everything looks good when nothing is happening. So, the proper way to manage a sales group is by keeping them accountable by the activities they do. Coach them through each step of the sales process to get closer to the next step in the process, which is closer to the close.

After pondering this for a month or two, Geoff decided to make Evan a sales director for about 90 days to see how it went on both sides. It’s almost a year later, and it had to be the best decision they ever made. In one year, they went from $3.5 million in revenue to more than $5 million. I think I can take some credit for that, but Evan can take much more of the credit for keeping them accountable, coaching and leading them to success.

So, how are you going to find your next sales manager?

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It's Not Net Sit, It's Not Net Eat, It's NetWORK

by Admin 21. October 2011 18:14

Question of the Day
I enjoy reading your column as a marketer and small business owner I appreciate all of your good advice.  Have you ever addressed the issue of getting buyers, or your potential decision makers, to answer your phone calls or emails? One of the most frustrating parts of my business is connecting with a potential customer and then they never return calls or emails. Any suggestions? At what point do you stop trying to connect? Example, several weeks ago I was at a networking event and a woman gave me her card and said to call her to set up a meeting, we spoke at length and she was very interested in my services. I called she suggested we get together the first of April and gave me a list of questions I needed to be ready to answer. First week of April I contacted her she said call her April 8th, on April 8th she said call her the 15th...etc, until a week ago when her assistant said she will call you back, of course no call. I am sure I am not the only one who experiences this. Your thoughts?

-Joan

Well first of all Joan congratulations on networking. That is of course your best opportunity for you to find opportunities. When you speak to someone at a networking function you always want to ask about them first. The questions I recommend asking to everyone you meet are;

“What do you do?"

“How long have you been doing it?"

“What do you like about it?"

And “What is a good referral for you?"

The reason these questions are good is because networking is not just about you it is about learning about the other person. You are not trying to sell, you are trying to learn to see if you can help them and potentially build a “strategic alliance”(a strategic alliance is someone you build a relationship with to try to help refer business to each other).

There are times when someone will say, “Hey you sell web design, our company really needs a new web site, why don’t you call." Then you call the next day and leave message upon message and nothing happens. People are willing to say lots of things to be “nice." In a networking environment, people often think of themselves being in a somewhat social atmosphere so people say what they might socially with not a lot of meaning.

I recommend when someone does approach you about your product or service, always pull-back a bit. What I mean by that is if someone says they need a new web site, say to them, “wow you guys are a very well known company, I can’t imagine you need help with your web site?”. You will either hear something like, “well, you never know…” which means there is really no need they are just being nice or they might say, “ no we really have been looking into updating ours. We really don’t know what we need but we talked about making some real changes”. I would ask a few more questions to pre-qualify that this is real and say, “ Well if you want to sit and talk a little about what your needs are, I would be more then willing to learn more about what you need to see if I can help. What do you think?”.

It is important to pre-qualify any opportunity to see if it really is one. Pulling back with a few “take-away” questions with assure one way or the other if it is a true prospect or not.

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When the Prospect Fights You on Price, What To Do?

by Admin 3. June 2011 19:46

I like your proposal, but your price is too high.”

“I can get other companies to do the job at a lower cost.”

“What can you do about your rates?”

 

“I’ll do the deal, but you’ve got to knock 2 points off…take it or leave it.”

 

Here’s a true story I heard from a banking rep named Jennifer.  Jennifer once finished a presentation for a prospect after he had qualified on need and budget.  He had all the decision makers in the room, and they agreed to make a decision at the end of her presentation. 

 

The presentation itself was textbook.  Jennifer had everyone involved, and she addressed each of his or her requirements.  Her presentation points covered all of the prospect’s issues in their priority, and only addressed issues relevant to the sale.

 

At the end, one of the decision makers made this simple statement:

 

“Jennifer,” he said. “This is great and we love the job you did for us.  We’d love to begin, but we want you to give us a discount.  What can you do for us about your price?”

 

Jennifer remembered the following command of sales: never defend or justify.  So she did something most salespeople in her position never do – she not only obeyed the command, but gave it a twist.

 

“I can raise it,” she replied.

 

The prospect laughed.  “Jennifer,” he said.  “I know you’ve got more leeway on your interest rate.”

 

Calmly, Jennifer asked “I suppose this is over then?”

 

“What do you mean?” the surprised prospect wanted to know.

 

“Simple,” a nonplussed Jennifer answered.  “My price is too high. So this is over.”  She held out her hand to thank him for his time.

 

“No, wait,” the prospect rebutted. “Your rates are high, but your ideas are better than any we’ve ever seen.”

 

“I appreciate that,” Jennifer responded.  “But you aren’t going to buy it, so I wanted to thank you for the opportunity.”

 

The prospect shook his head.  “Jennifer, telling people they aren’t going to buy is no way to make it in sales.”

 

Jennifer smiled pleasantly.  “Thank you for the advice.”

 

“Don’t be to hasty to leave,” the prospect then said.  “Actually, Jennifer, we’re going to do this.”

 

And the sale was made—high rates and all.

 

Sales process at work. Stick to it!

 

The lesson is this: when used at the right time, telling a prospect that “it’s over” can make a sale happen because forces the prospect to make a decision.  Why?  Think back to when you were a child.  You parents told you couldn’t have something you really wanted, and it made you want it even more.  Not that prospects are children and you’re parental, but the basic human tendency is still there, so the concept applies.

 

This sales technique works when it’s time to close and the prospect gives you an objection.  But before you stick out your hand and say good-bye, remember that two conditions must exist for it to work.

 

1)      He must have stated how your solution will solve his problem.

2)      The prospect has told you he has a budget big enough to buy your solution.

 

If you do use this tactic, act the part with conviction.  When you make the statement, convey to the prospect that you believe the sale is never going to happen.  

 

And when the prospect tells you that it’s really not over, offer your help. 

 

“Oh, I got the wrong impression.  What would you like me to do now?”

 

Then wait (forever if necessary!) for a response. How do you do this? Our on-line sales training will help.

 

 

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