6. May 2013 04:52
Ryan, a software sales rep, had been having a
rough day. He’d been bombarded with questions from several customers and gotten
behind on work he needed to finish before the end of the day.
Then, he got a call from Wayne, a prospect who
introduced himself by saying: “I’ve heard great things about your engineering
software package. I saw a demo about a year ago, and was not in a position to
purchase it at the time. But since then, it’s become very apparent that I need
to integrate it into my system.”
“Wow,” Ryan thought. “This will be easy. It’s
about time something went right today.”
Then, Wayne said: “I need to know about the
cost, the tech support and how soon it can be installed.”
Ryan immediately went into his pitch. He
discussed tech support in detail, covered availability and other options, and
explained that the price was $12,000, with 30-day terms.
Wayne’s response was unexpected. He said that
$12,000 was quite a hefty price tag and he needed a couple of days to think
about all of this more carefully. He’d call Ryan back next week.
Ryan did a double take. “What just happened?”
he thought. “This sale was in the bag, a sure thing. He really needs it and now
he’s thinking it over? He said he needed the software right away.” And that was
the end of the call.
So, what happened? Ryan got lazy, plain and
simple. He thought Wayne was sold. All he had to do was give him the
information he needed, then write it up. He got fooled into assuming the sale
without doing the work. He never got Wayne to talk about why he was looking
now, with what seemed to be a real priority about buying the software. The
entire transaction was conducted at the intellectual level, without any real
understanding of the true need.
So, what happened? Ryan was lured into taking
shortcuts. He mistakenly thought the prospect’s enthusiasm was as sure as a
sale. No matter. You need the time to qualify the prospect and make sure he’s
real before giving out information or making your presentation.
In Ryan’s case, a couple of questions would
have made a world of difference. He might have said: “Before we discuss
pricing, help me understand why this software is so important. I want to make
sure the application is correct for you. Would you mind if I ask you a couple
Of course, you’re digging in to find out what
is really going on. It is so important to gather this information before you
discuss price so you can truly have an understanding of not only why they want
the software, but the consequence of not installing it.
Once you give away your information – whether
on the phone, in a presentation or in the form of a proposal – you have given
up any form of control and are literally at the mercy of the prospect.
Remember: It’s not about the sale; it’s about
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21. January 2013 08:52
Tim, a software sales rep, had been having a rough day. He’d
been bombarded with questions from several customers and had gotten behind on a
proposal that he needed to finish before the end of the day. Then he got a call
from Gene, a prospect who introduced himself by saying, "I’ve heard great
things about your accounting software package. I saw a demo about a year ago,
and was not in a position to purchase it at the time, but since then it’s
become very apparent that I need to integrate it immediately into my
"Wow," thought Tim. "This will be easy. It’s
about time something went right today."
Then Gene said, "I need to know about pricing and
availability. And tech support is important, too. Tell me how that works."
Tim went into his pitch. He discussed tech support in
detail, covered availability and other options, and explained that the price
was $8000 with 30-day terms.
Gene’s response was unexpected. He said that $8000 was quite
a hefty price tag and he needed a couple of days to consider the purchase more
carefully. He’d call Tim back next week.
Tim did a double take. "What just happened?" he
thought. "This sale was in the bag, a sure thing, and now he’s thinking it
over? He said he needed the software right away." And that was the end of
Diagnosis: Tim got lazy, plain and simple. He thought Gene
was sold. All he had to do was give Gene the info he needed, then write it up.
He got conned into doing a presentation without getting Gene to demonstrate why
he was so excited about buying the software. The entire transaction was
conducted at the intellectual level.
Prescription: Don’t be lured into taking shortcuts. Don’t
mistake the prospect’s enthusiasm for your product or service as a sure sale.
Take the time to qualify the prospect and make sure he’s real before you make
your presentation. In Tim’s case, a couple of quick questions would have made a
world of difference. He might have said, "Before we discuss pricing, help
me understand why this software is so important. I want to make sure the
application is correct for you. Mind if I ask you a couple of questions?"
Of course, you’re probing for pain and one of the most important things to find
out is the financial impact of not implementing a solution. Having discovered
the financial impact and, assuming it was significant, you will find that the
cost of the solution disappears as an objection.
Don’t take shortcuts! Don’t assume anything. Get the
prospect involved at an emotional, not an intellectual, level. Use the system,
qualify completely, and get the sale.
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10. August 2012 11:40
As a principal of your organization, you clearly understand the importance of sales in the organization. You are wearing too many hats to play sales manager, as well, but do you really know how they are doing? If they aren’t hitting their revenue goals, do you know why? Is it a viable reason? Do they have a battle plan to change that?You have two challenges when your sales force prepares for battle:Challenge No. 1Like any kind of warfare, you have a distinct advantage when you can tap good and reliable intelligence. Here’s the problem: Your salespeople don’t get enough accurate intelligence about their prospects. As a result, their pipelines are filled with flaky opportunities. And your sales managers don’t have enough guts to call them on it.Here’s the litmus test: When your salespeople submit their forecasts, do you or your managers “adjust” them down for realism? It’s typically easier for salespeople and their managers to discuss why they didn’t win business, instead of asking themselves the right questions before going to battle.Here are some of the right questions:1. Can we win and should we pursue this opportunity?2. If yes, how do you know? What is the reasoning? A guess? A hunch?3. Which strategy should we adopt to ensure that we win? Why?To begin, ask your salespeople: “How much does it cost to win a new account?” Calculate the actual costs associated with generating a lead, a contact, an appointment, a proposal and a sale. Now, add in the opportunity cost of missed business they could have won if they weren’t wasting time on business that won’t close quickly.If you’re like most selling organizations, the cost per pursuit is several hundred or thousands of dollars. Multiply that by the number of opportunities you chased and didn’t close in the last 12 months. Staggering, isn’t it?Before your salespeople charge off to fight the next battle, ask them: “If this was your money, would you spend it?”Challenge No. 2Your salespeople don’t do enough planning work before going to battle. Before going into battle again, make sure your salespeople can answer these questions (honestly):• What are you trying to sell and, most importantly, why? Sounds simple enough until you actually try to quantify it.• Is the project funded? What if there’s not enough? Who has discretionary use of the funds? Who can get more? Are we speaking to the right person here?• What is the sale worth to the organization? Does the ROI justify the investment of time, money and effort?• Have we sold this prospect anything in the past? Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?• How many contacts have you already had with this prospect? How many phone calls, face-to-face meetings, etc.? Do you have a clear next step?• Do you have an organizational chart? Do you have an inside coach?• What has been (or will be) your sales strategy?• Where are you in the selling process? Here is a checklist:1. Were you invited in, or did you beg for an appointment?2. What were the prospect’s reasons for seeing you?3. What were the challenges, problems and frustrations you identified in the interview?4. How important is it to the prospect to fix those problems?5. How committed is the prospect to fixing those problems? (Time, effort, money, willingness to fail.)6. What agreement have you and the prospect reached concerning the decisions that will be made each step of the way?Few salespeople understand the cost of pursuing sales and often fill their funnels with bad business. Fewer think through winning strategies before going into sales “battle.”Ask your salespeople these fundamental sales questions before committing resources to a battle you cannot win.Successful sales professionals qualify vigorously and religiously before committing time and energy, so their closing ratios are 90 percent or better.So, what are yours?Greta Schulz is a sales consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs. For more sales training tips and tools, or to ask her a question, go to www.schulzbusiness.com or email email@example.com.
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17. June 2012 13:40
Have you ever tried
to pick up a pencil? Have you ever tried
to take a drink of water? No you haven’t.
You just do it. Lack of commitment is the failure of most salespeople,
their clients. “I tried” is the lamest excuse I have ever
heard. I’d like to share an example that illustrates this point, using the
example of advertising.
There are approximately 120,000 salespeople selling some
form of advertising in America. Each of those sales people will make
“prospecting calls” to an average of three business owners per day. One
business owner out of 12 will say, “Well, maybe it does make sense for my
business. I’ll go ahead and buy a small schedule and ‘give it a try.’ And if it works, I’ll use your station/ paper
product/ (fill in the blank) on a regular basis.”
Sounds pretty good, right?
This is perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Let me
share a similar example with you to prove my point. Let’s say you are in Vegas
standing at the roulette table and you think, “I’m going to place a small bet
on black and if I win, I’ll start betting on black on a regular basis.” Sounds a little ridiculous, don’t you think?
There are thousands of business owners who will be making a decision
to “give it a try” today. Most of
them will experience poor results. Will they be disappointed? Yes. Surprised?
No. They will not be surprised because they have “given it a try” before, with very limited success.
Why would business owners do what they have done before and
expect different results? Because bad salespeople have taught them to do this.
Not every product or service works this way. But if you’ve ever heard the old
adage “over promise and under deliver,” it gives the same result.
“I’ll give it a try” or “let me test the waters” is the signature
of an uncommitted customer. I think we would be hard pressed to find these
customers experiencing a high degree of reward from their efforts…because there
is none. With risk comes reward. Show me a committed and focused client, and I
will show you success in the making.
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in
West Palm Beach, Florida. She is the best selling author of "To Sell is
Not to Sell". Greta does corporate training for fortune 1000 companies and
she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs. For more tips go to:
www.schulzbusiness.com click on Caffeine
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7. June 2012 12:39
An excited Corey recently came to me with this story about a
large client he’d been working on months and months. His manager warned him
that the relationship was strong between the client and the current vendor so
it was a long shot. Corey was persistent and kept going and going and going, a
bit like the energizer bunny when one day he came to me barely able to breath;
“Greta!,” he said. “I did it! I got ‘em! The big one I was working on!”
After congratulations and back slapping, I asked a few key questions. “Corey, wasn’t that the prospect working with
your largest competitor?”
“Yep!” he replied.
“They sure were and that’s the best part!”
I then asked how they were going to handle the situation
when the incumbent (who’d had the account since the first Bush was in office)
found out he’d taken it and then counter offered to keep the account.
“They’re so mad at him,” Corey answered. “The service has
gone down and they told me it was time for a change.”
Having received a promise that the initial order would
arrive within the week, Corey left the prospect’s office with a handshake and
then indulged in a rousing “YES” once he got to the privacy of the parking lot.
Three days later, there was a message on his voice mail.
“Corey,” spoke the voice of his “new client”. “Call me ASAP. We’ve got to talk.”
From the tone of his voice, Corey knew there was a
problem. He immediately called the
client and asked if there was something wrong.
The man told Corey he was sorry, but the incumbent vendor found out
about the potential loss of business and came back with a counter offer. Lots
of promises. Better service. And, of
course, a significantly lowered price.
Predictably, the incumbent kept the business. Corey tried to
call back to see if he could offer any other concessions, but the client was
too embarrassed to even return his calls.
So what happened? Typically, salespeople hate bad news. They don’t want a potentially unpleasant
conversation with a prospect, especially when it feels like things are going
well. They often put blinders on when
their guts tell them a situation could be on the horizon. And they’re rather quietly pray that it won’t
happen, rather than take steps to head it off at the pass. BIG MISTAKE!
You’ve got to deal with potential problems when you see
them coming. If something can go
wrong, or if you gut tells you it might, deal with it right then. In this case, Corey knew it was a
possibility. So what could he have done
that might have changed the outcome?
At the end of the process, when the client agreed to move
forward, Corey should have made this move:
“I’m glad we’re going to be working together. Between your needs and what we have to offer,
it seems to be a good match. But I’m
curious—when ‘ABC Competitor’ finds out you’re making a change and comes back
offering to beg, borrow and steal to retain your business, what will you do?”
By taking this step, you’ll have a much better chance of
saving the account. Bring it up when
you’re there rather than later when they’re too embarrassed to discuss it. If they’re switching for a legitimate reason,
this discussion helps solidify the decision.
If they say, “Well, I’d have to look at it,” then you’ve never really
sold it in the first place. This will also allow you to have a conversation
right there and then about that bringing up the reasons they were leaving their
existing vendor. After you leave it is much less effective to have this
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in Palm
Beach, Florida. She is the best-selling author of "To Sell is Not to
Sell". Greta does corporate training for fortune 1000 companies and she
has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs. For sales tips go to:
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