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

SELLutions

It’s about the process

by GSchulz 20. March 2014 04:57

    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 questions?” 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 the process.   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 greta@schulzbusiness.com. Click here to share this post.

Thinking outside the (shoe) box to get in front of prospects.

by GSchulz 19. August 2013 05:12
In today’s world of sales, it can be tough to get in front of prospects. You call someone, only to get a gatekeeper that has all the power and won’t give you any. They either tell you the prospect – who is often sitting right there – isn’t in, or take your name and have him/her call you back, which rarely happens. This frustration continues until you finally give up and try another and another until you finally just say “uncle.”As I've said many times, networking and building relationships are the strongest ways to get referred to a new prospect. 

There are, of course, those cases that you've tried your connections with networking, spoken to associates to get referred in – and nothing. You try to reach the prospect on the phone and, with all of today’s technology, it sometimes feels near impossible to get through.To me, differentiating yourself is the key. If you do what every other salesperson does, you will be treated like every other salesperson. You need to be unique and different to pull away from the pack. But how?Every salesperson is trying to find new ways to diversify strategies. 

While researching new ways to engage prospects, I stumbled upon a great new way to do this that includes charity and ingenuity. It’s called Complete the Pair. Complete the Pair has teamed up with Soles4Souls in an effort to help donate shoes to needy people, as well as help you stand out among your competition.Here is how it works: When you place an order, one shoe is mailed to you the other to your sales prospect. Both shoes come with instructions on how to register its unique code online at www.completethepair.com. 

When the prospect registers their shoe, it shows whom the other shoe is registered to – that’s you – and allows you to get valuable face time. Once you two have met, you send the completed pair back to CTP headquarters in the prepaid shipping bag. From there, the bag is sent to Soles4Souls. Once it is at Soles4Souls, it will be sent to one of many countries where shoes are in high demand for those too poor to afford their own.I’m all about being different. Whatever other salespeople are doing, do something else. 

This is pretty cool and, I must say, well thought out. On top of it all, if you can help someone in need at the same time, it doesn't get any better then that.Complete the Pair is a fun and unique way to get valuable face-to-face interaction with a potential client while also giving back.

If you are interested in checking it out, visit www.completethepair.com.

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Why you should not take shortcuts with your sales prospects.

by GSchulz 1. July 2013 07:11
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 questions?”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 the process.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:greta@schulzbusiness.com.

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The truth? Most people don’t know what makes a good salesperson.

by GSchulz 31. May 2013 06:28
Grant is a longtime client and a friend. He owns a small products company. He asked me to assess and interview “a friend of a friend” who he is considering for a sales job. I sent the assessment to Steve, and he completed it quickly. When I looked at it, he scored high is all of the areas that would make him good for a service job, but for the type of sales Grant – and, frankly, most sales organizations – needs, he was not a fit.I spoke to Grant about this, and he said: “Can you talk to him anyway? I think you’ll really like him.”That is probably the thing I hear the most from directors and CEOs alike: “But he’s a really good guy; just talk to him.”If I had a dollar for every time I heard that and the candidate was not a fit, I would be living on the beach, enjoying a margarita.I called Steve and spoke to him for quite a while. Actually he spoke to me – frankly, at me – for quite a while. 

Yes, Steve was certainly a nice guy, friendly, outgoing. He had the gift of gab, which is quite the opposite of what I look for in a sales professional.What I thought was funny: He said he took an online career survey that said he would be good at sales. He also explained that, when he asked people who knew him best, they all said he was a natural salesperson. 

That’s another quip I hear all of the time.The truth about sales is that most people have no idea what makes a good salesperson. The common belief is if you have a good personality, are outgoing and likable, you would be good at sales. Honestly, that is far from the truth. Years ago and in certain situations, this may have worked. For example, when the economy was rockin’ and you were selling a product that everyone needed anyway and prices were fairly consistent and it was just a matter of who to get it from, maybe this would work.

Today, we need to be more skilled, more resourceful and much more consultative to persuade.Some things to look for when hiring;Preparation. Professional salespeople don’t just rely on a good personality to get the sale. They research the organization and develop good, thought-provoking questions to ask.Digging deeper. When professional salespeople get the answers to the questions they are asking, they don’t immediately flip into the selling mode. Top sales professionals take the answers to these questions and dig deeper for full understanding before they recommend anything.

Always know the next step. Professionals know that the sale is nothing without having a clear next step. Not just a follow-up call, but a true understanding of what the next step is, and when it will occur.Toughness. Ultimately top sales professionals are tough. Yes, they can be friendly and outgoing, but more importantly: Can they stand their ground when the prospect throws them a curveball? Throw them a curveball and find out. I recommend saying something like: “I’ve interviewed several people that have the same experience as you. 

Why should I hire you over them?”It’s important to put prospective hires in a situation similar to one they will be in when selling. Put a little pressure on them. Don’t sell them on working for your company; make them sell you and see how they do. That is their job.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 greta@schulzbusiness.com. Click here to share this post.

Is it Easier to Sell a Product or a Service?

by GSchulz 29. June 2012 08:30
Is it easier to sell a product or service? “It’s easier to sell a product because you have something you can actually show the prospect”. “Oh no, it’s much easier to sell a service because you can really sell them on the features and benefits!”.   

Guess what, you're both wrong! You are never selling a product or a service, you are only selling what the product or service can do for your prospect. The solution your customer perceives is the problem to the problem they are experiencing is the only one that matters. What your product or service does is irrelevant, until the prospect tells you what actually is relevant.   

We have a friend named Rich. Rich and I had a discussion one night at dinner on this very subject. Rich told me he could ‘never’ (and I love that word) sell a service because a product is so much easier. “Why is that?” I asked. “It’s just easier to compare when you have something in your hands. You can show your products ‘features and benefits’, (another of my favorite terms) and really compare apples to apples against your competitor” Rich stated proudly “Rich, how do you know what ‘apples’ they want in the first place? What if they want oranges? “Oh I ask them up front what their needs are and then I show the differences”. 

“So, I’m confused, why can’t you do that with a service?” “Well Greta I guess you can but it’s easier with a service”... “OK Rich, I got it” even though I didn't but at this point, my husband was kicking me under the table to leave it alone.   In sales you are a matchmaker of sorts. Your job is to uncover as much about the prospects issues as they see them and the effect these issues are having on them and their company. 

Additionally if nothing changes, what are the repercussions of that? Once you have a good understanding of what that is, you will recommend the proper solution, irrespective of the product or service. Often salespeople misunderstand the word “benefits” for solutions. Feature and benefits selling is typically is a pre-set dissertation of what the prospect should see as a benefit, not what they decide is a benefit. For example if you say “the feature of this copy-machine is the speed of the copies and the benefit is you can get them faster and have your copies ready earlier”. 

Well, if you don’t have an issue with time and you issue is something completely different like ease of use, who really cares about your “benefit”? If you are selling properly, it shouldn't matter whether it is a product or a service because what you are really selling is what the client is ultimately looking for, not how you get there. Anyone can “demo” a product or talk “features and benefits” but a real pro only gives solutions to the issues the prospect is talking about, no more and no less.  


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