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Danny Wood Enterprises, L.L.C. | Rutherford, NJ | 201-842-0055

Qualifying

Salespeople describe on a regular basis how they spend 5 - 20 hours a week preparing proposals for business they are hoping to get. However, most of the time their efforts are unsuccessful.

Why are we compelled to provide proposals when our gut tells us we are wasting our time? Let's explore some of the reasons we feel inclined to provide proposals.

The salesperson who claims to “like” prospecting hasn’t ever done it. How can anyone “like” a process that produces such an arena for rejection? When salespeople say they like prospecting, what they might mean is this: “I don’t mind paying the price of prospecting to reach my objectives.”

When we give buyers permission to get into our head, we can’t do our job as sales professionals effectively. If we allow ourselves to become emotionally involved in a discussion with a buyer, we give that buyer control over us. If a buyer tries to manipulate us, and succeeds, that’s not on the buyer. It’s on us!

Your job is to set yourself apart from the competition. If you’re selling in the traditional way, by emphasizing features and benefits, the only thing setting you apart is the company name on your business card – and maybe your winning smile. Let’s face it though, you need more than that!

Many salespeople use the presentation phase for educating the buyer about what we do and what we offer. Does that really make sense strategically?

The LinkedIn® Levers tool is a focused, user-friendly checklist to help you to get the most out of your connections on LinkedIn. Put it to work every day!

Buyers don’t necessarily tell salespeople the whole truth about their reason to purchase. They either haven’t established trust with the seller, they don’t know what their real issue is, or the issue is just the symptom and not the real problem. Slow down the meeting and ask questions that will uncover the root of their problem.

Have you ever been on a sales call and get the sense that the other person has checked out of the discussion? We’ve all been there. Don’t fail into the prospect’s trap and help them end the meeting! Now is the time to follow the Sandler Rule, “If you feel it, say it.” Here’s how to uncover their issues.

The best presentation that you’ll ever give is actually the one that the prospect never sees.

It is only natural that you would look forward to delivering that killer presentation you’ve been working on. You’ve spent hours on it. You’ve picked the perfect music for key slides. You’ve chosen magnificent pictures, included a couple of cool animations, and you have great transitions popping in and out. It looks awesome. But there is one big problem.

Mike Montague interviews Brian Jackson on How to Succeed at Your 30 Second Commercial. Brian is an award-winning Sandler Trainer in San Diego, CA.

 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve done a thorough job of uncovering the prospect’s problems, frustrations, issues, and concerns...you’ve put together a great presentation based on what you’ve learned...you’ve nailed every single point, and you felt certain the prospect was ready to buy from you...and then you “improvised” your way into a disaster? You introduced a brand-new topic, something you had never discussed with the prospect, and suddenly the opportunity was lost. What you thought was a slam-dunk turned out to be anything but.

 

Your box of candy is your knowledge, your expertise.

When first meeting a sales prospect, salespeople are often “too eager” and launch into presentation mode and stop asking questions that uncover the problems that need to be addressed and the goals that need to be achieved.

Too many salespeople are willing to perform free services for their customers without any discussion. It’s as though by performing these extra, services the salesperson hopes the customer will give him future consideration in return. Not a bad idea … if customer understands there is value and effort associated with the service.

Characteristics of top sales performers is the ability to avoid two common, self-imposed mental handicaps: reachback and afterburn. Reachback is what happens when an impending event begins to have a negative influence on our attitude and behavior. Afterburn is what happens when a past event has a lasting negative influence on our present behavior.

If you lose a sale or something goes wrong in your life, who is at fault? When you blame others, you give outside people and events control over your life. When you take personal responsibility, you put yourself in a position to fix the most important thing you can ever fix—yourself.

Discover transactional analysis, a human relations model of three ego states; Parent Child, and adult.

Too often, we box ourselves into situations when we fall into the trap of answering questions a prospect poses … and we quickly find that we have reached a premature, and usually unnecessary, dead-end in the conversation. The key to avoiding this outcome lies in recognizing that prospects rarely ask the "real" question up front. In order to understand the true intent behind the question, it is usually necessary to ask several questions. In general, it takes about three questions to uncover what’s really driving what we’re being asked.

Determine a prospect’s budget using a questioning technique called “bracketing.” By suggesting a dollar range such as between $30,000 and $45,000, you can identify what amount the prospect is willing to pay for your product or service. With a range in mind, you can continue strategic questioning to uncover the real number and what the solution is worth to the prospect.

Salespeople describe on a regular basis how they spend 5 - 20 hours a week preparing proposals for business they are hoping to get. However, most of the time their efforts are unsuccessful.

Why are we compelled to provide proposals when our gut tells us we are wasting our time? Let's explore some of the reasons we feel inclined to provide proposals.

The “stripping line” is a sales technique taken from experienced anglers. They understand that they’ll have a better chance of hooking the fish if they don’t yank the line at the first nibble. Instead, they strip some line from the reel and create slack. The fish then pulls the bait deeper in the water and, feeling more secure, swallows it—and the hook. You can use this technique to get clarity on what’s really happening in the buyer’s world. Here’s how.

Troy Elmore, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with the competition and selling a crowded marketplace. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 21 Minutes

How many times have you thought a sale was closed only to have the prospect call you, or leave you a voicemail, text, or email message, cancelling or delaying the order? All that hard work … and at the eleventh hour the prospect backs out of the deal. Another commission killed by buyer’s remorse!

Guess what? That doesn’t have to happen. There is a proven process for eliminating buyer’s remorse. It’s called the Post-Sell Step.

Many salespeople believe that they should respond to all proposal requests that come across their desks where the scope of the work falls within the capabilities of their companies. It’s easy to see the allure. Working on an opportunity that “fell out of the sky” is far more desirable than “beating the bushes” to turn up an opportunity.

Desirable, yes. But, is it smart?

The technique of answering a question with a question, or reversing, is particularly effective in the early phases of a discussion with a prospective buyer. Keep yourself out of conversational boxes and gain a much clearer understanding of the emotional intent behind prospect’s questions.

Excellent salespeople recognize that stellar results are only achieved by implementing their well-honed skills within the framework of well-designed systems. They continually strive to improve and perfect the strategies and processes they employ. For them, nothing is left to chance. They have elevated the tasks of initiating relationships, supporting relationships, asking questions, analyzing customers’ and prospects’ requirements, and crafting and presenting best-fit solutions to an art form. And they are all about process improvement.

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid wasting time with questionable opportunities is to be more selective about which ones you allow to enter the pipeline in the first place. A more stringent “pre-pipeline” screening step may be worth considering. What are the criteria for entering that active phase of your pipeline?

Salespeople often feel they must present complex solutions & proposals believing the perceived valued is greater or to justify to cost. Not necessarily so. Simple, well-organized, and concise solutions are easier for the prospect to connect with.

For some salespeople, the vagueness of their initial prospect meetings carries through to their eventual presentations. They fail to establish clear connecting links between the elements of their proposed offer and the specific aspects of the prospect’s requirements. Instead, their presentations focus too narrowly on their product or service, their company’s capabilities, and in some cases, on themselves.

If prospects don’t learn anything new by meeting with you, are you contributing any real value to the meeting? No. And, if you’re not contributing any real value to the meeting, will prospects have compelling reasons to do business with you? Again, the answer is “No.”

When you first meet with a new prospect, how do you position your product or service? How do you characterize its various features, functions, and advantages? What motivates people to buy? The prevalent theory is that people buy to either gain pleasure…or avoid pain.

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory. And the theory is partially true. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. The question is, “How many will be customers and how long will it take for them to materialize from the other end of the pipe?”

At Sandler Training, we believe in not solely talking about features and benefits during your sales call, but rather focusing on the prospect’s needs. However, there is a time for presenting, once you have qualified the opportunity. Once a prospect is fully qualified in Pain, Budget, and Decision, then it is time for you to make the presentation, and you want to make that presentation as persuasive as possible.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2016 than you did in 2015, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

Creating an effective sales pipeline can be a massive headache for sales leaders because reps have been known to stuff the pipeline with opportunities that have zero chance of closing. In a previous life, I took over a product specialist role selling a web-based media monitoring and crisis communications program. My first six weeks in that role was spent culling a $3 million pipeline down to $160,000 of real, qualified opportunities

Does this sound familiar to you? Prospect A says, "This looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one." Prospect B comments, "Your price is higher than we expected." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to cut the price to close the deal." Prospect C reveals, "We were hoping for a shorter delivery time." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale."e

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