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

SELLutions

The Take-Away

by GSchulz 27. March 2012 20:34
“I really can’t say that what you’ve shown me, Bob, does anything for me,” stated the prospect.

“In fact,” he went on, “your choice of colors is nowhere as extensive as your competitor’s, who was just in here this morning, by the way.”

Bob hated this type of prospect. And for some reason, the past five months had been filled with them. Gosh, thought Bob, this is going to be one of those meetings where he raises the hundred objections and I try to beat them down one after another.  There’s got to be a better way to make a living. “I didn’t know you were looking at anyone else,” responded Bob.

“Well, it’s what I should do. And I’ll tell you this now, right upfront, her prices are extremely favorable.  I doubt you could beat them.”

Here goes, thought Bob, start knocking them down. “Let’s talk about the colors; our colors are by far the…” Two hours later, Bob crawled out of the office with a signed purchase order. Totally exhausted, he got into his car, called the office and read them the order.

“Good work,” the sales manager responded, “but how come he’s ordering less than before?”

“The competition has got a proposal on the table,” responded Bob, “you wouldn’t believe what I had to do to get what we did.”  With a felling of dread he added, “I’m going back next week to see if I can knock them out.”

Bob was so afraid that he was going to lose the client that he was prepared to do just about anything to keep him. Bob had the guts to spend another two hours butting heads, but he did not have the guts to find out if he really needed to do this.

Taking a sale away, taking yourself out of the running, and then waiting for a response from the prospect/customer takes real guts. This is not a technique for those with weak knees. No one can fault Bob for his dedication to task. And most salespeople and sales managers would agree that in the above story, which happens every day, there was nothing else to do but “gut it out.” But there is something else.

Before Bob launched into meeting every objection, he could have done something very simple. He could have said, “You might not realize what you are telling me; I want to make sure that I have it right. The competition has more colors, the price is good, they were here this morning, I guess it’s over for me. When you gave the order to the salesperson this morning, was she excited?” And then wait for a response from the prospect, no matter how long it takes. In order for this technique to work, your really have to mean it and be prepared to “walk out the door” and not look back. If you cannot do this, this technique will blow up in your face. However, if you are truly prepared to walk away, this technique is incredibly powerful at eliminating objections. There are a multitude of words and gestures that you can use to “take it away” depending on what you are trying to accomplish and with whom.

Customers and prospects alike are famous for stating, in so many words, that the other guy can do better for less. In essence, you want to mirror back to them what they just told you and then state, not ask, “You did place the order.” Then do not speak until you get a response. Either the order has been placed or not. If is has, it probably really is over for you. If it hasn’t, then you deserve to know the reasons why. And when you find out why? You are now learning what you need to do to get the order or keep the order.

Prospects who gave given all the indications of being ready to buy, but who just resist closing, are especially susceptible to having it taken away. “Bill, you have given every indication that you are ready to buy. But for some reason you just aren’t sharing, you keep stopping short. I think I should leave.” Then wait for a response.

MORAL: Take it away ONLY if you are prepared to walk out the door. Once you take it away, wait for a response regardless of how long it takes.

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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Why Fishing and Sales are Similar

by GSchulz 30. March 2011 23:47

Being the fun-loving Floridian that I am, I absolutely love to fish! A couple weekends ago, my husband and I were out in the boat with a friend of his that happened to be a novice fisherman. Peter and I were determined to teach him the ropes.

After watching him fish for the first half of the day, I figured out what he was doing wrong. Every time he saw that he was getting a nibble, he immediately jerked the line to attempt to catch the fish. What he didn’t realize was that when he jerked the line, he was yanking the bait out of the fish’s mouth. Every real fisherman knows that when you see you’re getting a nibble, you have to let the line out a little bit in order to really allow the fish to get a hold of the bait. Then when the next nibble comes, let the line out even more to really let him grab on. Finally, when you get a really big bite, you can jerk the line, hook the fish, and reel him in.

As I was explaining all of this to Peter’s friend, I couldn’t help but to see the similarities between fishing and sales. Think about it…in fishing, the first nibble isn’t the time to reel the fish in. In sales, the first time you speak with a prospect and he shows a little interest, you can’t expect you’re going to close the deal right then and there. Just like in fishing, you have to tease your prospect a tiny bit by “letting the line out” slowly. And when the prospect bites hard, you reel in the deal.

To better understand this concept, let’s look at an example. Sue with ABC Company is meeting with James of XYZ Company to discuss potential business. When Sue begins to recommend which of her products would be best for James, he retorts with a quick “you know, I think what you’re saying might be great, but I think the company that I’m with now has a product that better fits me.”

Instead of assuming that James is 100% happy with his current company and has no interest in making a change, Sue should let the proverbial line out a little bit and reply “You know, maybe you’re right. If they have a product that better suits you, maybe you should stay with them.”

“Well, I do like the complementary products you offer, but I’m just not sure,” James says.

“We do have some great complementary products, but do you really think that if you’re not happy with the primary product that we offer, you’d be happy with us in the long run? Maybe it would be better for you to just stick with the company you’re with.”

Finally, James replies, “No. You know what, I really admire your honesty and I feel like your company is the better fit for me. How do we get started?”

The moral of the story Sue didn’t immediately give her entire “we’re great, we’re wonderful, switch to us” spiel when James showed his first bit of interest. Instead, she continued to go negative and push James away, helping him self-realize that ABC Company was the better fit for him. People don’t believe what we tell them, they believe what we ask them. If Sue were to come straight out and tell James that her products and company were the better fit for him, do you think he’d believe her? No! Sue had to help James realize for himself that ABC Company was the better fit.

So the next time your prospect starts to go negative by saying they’re not sure your company is right for them, go MORE negative. GO FISH! Let your line out! Once you get a big enough bite, hook that prospect and reel in a client!

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Cold-Calling Legislation

by GSchulz 28. January 2011 22:57

The following legislation has been in place for some time. I felt the timing was right to reprint the article – Lately, people have asked me lots of questions about the new bill that passed on the subject of phone solicitations, which we affectionately call “cold calls.”

“So, Greta, don’t you think it’s unfair that they don’t allow people to do their job? Thousands of people are employed by these ‘marketing’ companies, and they’ll be out of work.”

First, let’s understand the legislation. It does not say that you cannot solicit on the telephone; it allows people to put their name on a national list so they will not be called. I have not seen the percentage of potential prospects that actually have made that request, but do you really think it will decrease your business?

Second, stop whining. Our country was built on entrepreneurs creating businesses based on opportunities. The telephone, and the wide usage of it, led to the brilliant idea of using it to solicit business. Times change, however, and so do ways of doing business.

Third – and most of all (some of you are not going to like this) – stop cold-calling. Okay, maybe in some cases, at least in the beginning, you need to do some cold-calling. But are you developing a system for referrals and networking? Are you asking for referrals as a part of your business plan, or is your plan haphazard?

Don’t you want to conduct business in the most effective, efficient, and pleasant way, which is through networking and referrals?

How many of us would rather do business with someone we were referred to? The meeting is more pleasant, more interactive, and, if someone referred a customer to you, someone probably has already sung your praises. (Which is so much better that your doing it, right?)

Here are some tips:

1. Create a system to generate more referrals. That means actually setting goals for how many referral meetings you will hold in a particular week or month. Then talk to as many clients, friends, colleagues, etc., until you meet your goal.

2. When you have those meetings, remember, they are not about you. The philosophy is “givers gain®*” – straight out of the Business Network International handbook. That means ask about the people attending, their businesses, and how you can help them. Help them grow their business, and they will help you grow yours.

3. Create a picture for them. I have a great example I heard from Wendy Widmann, an office-products sales consultant who said, “A good referral for me would be if you see on e of those big red office products trucks parked in front of an office building, give me a call.” I bet when you see one today, you’ll remember this article.

4. Make a top-10 list. When someone asks if they can help you, be very specific and help them picture your ideal customer. Show them your list – of the top 10 companies you would like to be introduced to. You never know whom they know.

So don’t worry about rules and changes. After all, change makes us better: It forces us to think in other ways. This is growth. Have at it.

*® is a registered trademark of Dr. Ivan Misner

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