Sales Tips for the Optimal Salesperson

This page is dedicated to helping you become the best salesperson you can be. These one minute sales tips will help make you more effective and earn more money. Each Tip is a single actionable nugget designed to move you toward effortless high performance … In short to become the Optimal Salesperson.

Jump-start your Pipeline

When you are in a slump you need a jolt of energy to get you going. When your car battery dies, you jump start it to get it going. You hook up another battery and give your battery a short term jolt of new energy which causes your engine to start and run smoothly. That recharges your battery and you can operate your car normally. Mimic that with your sales activity. If you are in a slump, for a few days ramp up your sales activity. If you were talking to 3 people a day in the prior few weeks, do 6 a day for 3 days and see what happens. If you are like most people, good things will begin to happen and you can scale back to your normal activity. Look, it is simple math. In the short term the market won’t change and your sales skills won’t change so doubling your sales activity will double the results you get. So the moral of this story is to treat your sales career at least as well as you treat your car. If your car battery dies you don’t just let it sit there. You give it a fresh jolt of energy to get it going. You should do the same for your sales career.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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How to deal with prospect telling you they don’t know how much money they can spend

The prospect has at least some idea of what they can spend for your product or service … always. Here is an all too familiar scenario. You ask, “what is the budget for this product”. The prospect says, “I don’t know”. You write that down and continue on with the call feeling that you have asked the budget question and gotten no answer as per usual … you did your job. You report that to your sale manager. He shrugs and you go about writing a quote which you lose because your price was way too high. The problem is that your mindset is all wrong and so is your manager’s. You must believe that they know how much they can spend. They know, at least they know within a certain tolerance. And if they do not know how much they can spend, they know how much they can’t spend. If you have that mindset firmly implanted in your belief system, you will be able to continue the conversation and come out with at least some idea of the amount they are willing to spend to fix the problem you are discussing. With this empowering belief system in mind, you could always say, “well for this project it should be between $4,000 and $5,000. Will that be a problem do you think?” Or you could throw out a high number like, “George, I don see why for this project it should be more than $9,000”. I promise you will get a reaction and you can take the conversation from there. If you are a salesperson change your mindset and you will change the results you get. If you are a sales manager, change what you are willing to accept and you will help grow your sales team and your bottom line.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Understand the environment your prospect lives in

The prospect’s environment will affect how the prospect will react to an issue or a problem and hence be an important factor in understanding the pain and the compelling reason to buy. I had a car one time that was getting old. It still had useful life but maybe only about 2 to 3 more years. It was a VW bug. It broke down from time to time but nothing major. My wife drove it 10 miles to work every day. The issues with the car were not enough to make me do anything about buying a new car. Then one day the battery died while I was out running an errand. I bought a new car within a week. Why did I do that? The car still had useful life. To the casual observer nothing much had changed. A battery is not a major expense and a new one made the car more reliable. The answer is that my environment changed. About 6 weeks prior to the battery dying, we discovered that my wife was pregnant with our first (and as it turned out only) child. That changed how I reacted to a problem. Six weeks prior I would have viewed the dead battery as an isolated incident which Marie could have handled as well as I did. Now I viewed it as indicative of problems that could occur with Marie and a baby in the car and I could just see them stranded somewhere. Since my environment changed, how I reacted changed, and my motivation to buy changed. This will be true in every case. Understand your prospect’s environment and you will understand better how and why they will react (the pain) to the situation you are discussing.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Question to Ask “What do you attribute that to”

If you want insight into the thought process of the prospect, then ask them “What do you attribute that to”. Or you can ask “What, in your mind, caused that”. You would ask this question when they told you about a situation or problem they are facing. The normal course of action would be to say, “tell me more about that”. Or maybe to ask another question delving into the details of the problem. The value of asking “what caused that” is that it gives you an idea about what the prospect thinks the real problem is. It might also give you a clue as to how to solve the problem. But the real value is in giving you more information about how the prospect thinks and what the real pain is. You can always go back and get more details about the problem with follow up questions.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Your value is in the questions you ask

You, as a sales professional, bring value to your prospect by the questions you ask. Twenty years ago, it was the information you were able to provide but that is not true any longer. They can get most of that online or in the cloud. Some say it is the expertise that you bring. But the real value you bring is in the questions you are able to ask that make the prospect think. If you can draw on you knowledge and experience to ask questions that bring a different perspective or challenge the traditional thinking or shed a new light on the problem, then you demonstrate real value to the prospect. You become a resource to the prospect that they can go to when they are stuck or when they want to be sure they have “thought of everything”. If you can ask those kinds of questions, then you will have a conversation with the prospect that your competitors never have. That in itself will distinguish you from the competition more than any information you can impart. If you can draw on your knowledge to ask the good hard tough questions then you will have the conversation with the prospect that they need to have and that will demonstrate your value put you ahead of the competition.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Don’t Pounce

Predators pounce on their prey. They lie in and wait for the prey to come by, then pounce on them and have their way. Obviously, the prey tries to escape the clutches of the enemy. That is what it feels like to a prospect when you leap in with a solution at the first mention of a problem. Leaping in with a solution is what I call “pouncing”. Even if the prospect does not instinctively recoil, you will lose control of the conversation. Oh, you may think you have control because you will be talking. You will be explaining your solution and answering questions. But all further progress toward uncovering the prospects pain and compelling reason to buy will come to an abrupt halt. The prospect will have a solution (or at least an approach to consider) and you, the salesperson, have nothing and have lost control of the conversation. The better approach is to acknowledge the issue and ask for the prospect to elaborate and give you more detail. At the appropriate time you can propose a solution. By that time, you will have uncovered the compelling reason to buy and otherwise properly qualified the prospect.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Change the paradigm of the sales call

Salespeople spend a lot of time trying to qualify to do business with important prospects. The problem with that approach is that it gives all the power in the new relationship to the prospect. You or your company have years of experience delivering great results for your clients. You need to believe that you are qualified to do business with that prospect. The real question is “are they qualified to do business with you”. In other words, you must determine whether it is worth your time and effort to pursue this prospect. They are not worth the time and effort (and money) if they do not have a compelling reason to buy what you are selling. And even if they are going to buy, the next question is do they have enough money to buy from you. Then they must be willing and able to make a decision to purchase your solution. It is ideal if they are focused on you and if you have a great relationship with the prospect, but without the first three elements they do not qualify to earn any of your precious time and effort.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Don’t Ask Leading Questions

Asking a leading question can lead you, the questioner, right into a dead end. Any question whose intent is obvious to the prospect can bring the conversation to a place where the pressure is back on you. For example, if you ask, “are you happy with your current supplier?”. The prospect can see immediately that if they say “no” to that question, it gives you an advantage. So, they will always say “yes, we are happy”. You then have to take up another line of questioning. That line is at a dead end prompted by the way you asked the question. Prospects do not want to be led into a trap, so choose your questions carefully. In fact, in this case, you are better off making a statement. You could say “I assume you are happy with your current supplier”. Now the prospect can agree with you and you can move on to another topic or they can disagree with your statement (prospects generally like to disagree with salespeople, It is their instinct). In this case it feels safer to the prospect to admit they are not 100% happy and you can take the conversation from there.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Questions are Situational

Questions are the tools of the trade for salespeople. But top salespeople do not show up to sales calls with a preplanned list of questions ready to ask. The sales call should be a conversation in which the salesperson unobtrusively steers the conversation in a way that all of his or her questions get answered. All the while the prospect should feel like he was controlling the conversation. There are two problems if you come to the sales call with a preplanned list of questions. The first problem is that you will be more focused on your questions than what the prospect is saying, and you will miss important cues the prospect gives you. The second problem is that the questions inevitably will not fit the situation. You will look a lot like a person with a hammer looking for a nail to hit. What you should do instead is to prepare a list of the information you need to find out. Then, steer the conversation in that direction. The exact format of the question will form itself in your head at the appropriate time and will be more natural sounding to the prospect. Trust in your ability to find the right words if you get to the right place. Then, concentrate on getting the conversation to the right place.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Nothing is Obvious

When something seems obvious to you, you may feel self-conscious about asking the next logical question. For example, When the prospect says they want the new software operational by July 1st, it may seem obvious to you that they need to place the order by April 15th to allow for delivery, installation and training of the new users. It seems obvious because in your first meeting you had discussed lead time. So, you forecast it that way. But what was obvious to you may not have been obvious to the prospect because they were not thinking about delivery or they just forgot about the lead time. They were planning on ordering by June 1st due to some internal procedures. They thought that was plenty of time. By May 1st, your boss is getting antsy because the PO is not in yet. Sales meetings are held. Uncomfortable questions are asked. Pressure is applied to the salesperson to close the order. Trust in the salesperson’s and the sales manager’s forecasts has taken a hit. Delivery schedules are impacted. Overtime may have to be worked to meet the deadline. Profit margins suffer. This situation has just become way more messy than it had to be. All of this could have been avoided had the salesperson not thought that “it was obvious that the order has to be placed in April to meet the deadline”. This example is a trivial example but is played out hundreds of times in more serious situations. All the salesperson had to do was not make an assumption and ask when the order would be placed. Just remember to take nothing for granted and that nothing is obvious. Then ask a question. You life will be way less messy if you do.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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