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.

Ask How

“How did this problem occur?” is a powerful question. It helps you get more context around the problem. It may give you clues as to what the solution is. It demonstrates that you know what you are taking about (actually not talking about). Likewise, the question “how do you make decisions?” gives great insight into the steps the prospect has to take to make a decision. Many salespeople ignore the all-important “how” questions and therefore miss a great opportunity to get the best information they can get. The added value of the question is that asking how something happened gets you more information and keeps you from talking for a while. It is very important to know what the problem is but knowing how it affects the organization or the person you are talking to is much more important. So don’t forget to ask “how” questions, it will keep you out of a lot of trouble.

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 overwhelm the prospect

Be careful of how much information you give the prospect. If they become overwhelmed, they will stop listening and find a quick way to disengage from the conversation. You need the prospect to feel comfortable during your call. An over-energetic personality can unnerve the prospect. Too much information will confuse them. Having too much experience, education or background in the industry can intimidate the prospect. Being unnerved, confused or intimidated are not comfortable feelings for the prospect and they will try to get out from under that feeling. Since you are the cause of that feeling, they will politely end the meeting or stop listening or try to put you on the defensive with lots of demands or tough questions. So the lesson for today is watch how much information you give out and look for signs that the prospect is being overwhelmed. If you sense that they are, then just back off.

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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If you’re not sure ask

Ambiguity can kill a sale. The prospect doesn’t want to commit to something, so they say they are “leaning toward going forward” with the purchase. The salesperson “hears” that and assumes that the prospect will most likely buy in the next few days. She forecasts it as a sure thing in her pipeline. Management makes decisions assuming that the sale will come in. Then the prospect disappears or they “change their mind” and decide not to go forward. Everyone is upset. This could all be avoided if the salesperson had actually made sure of what the prospect’s decision was in the first place. “leaning toward doing something” is essentially meaningless. The salesperson should have recognized that “leaning” meant nothing and followed up with more questions like “what does leaning mean?”. Or “could you tell me why you wouldn’t do it?” Or, almost any other question to get the prospect to commit to an actual decision.
The culprit here is the willingness of the salesperson to accept the ambiguity. Under oath, the salesperson would have to admit that they could not be sure what the prospect meant. So, they should not have moved forward with the sales call. The lesson is if you are not 100% sure, ask more questions until you are sure.

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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It’s not about the need

Most salespeople (but not all) can get the prospect to tell them what they need. But few are skilled at uncovering why the prospect needs it. People don’t buy for need alone or want alone. We all have things we need and want but have never bought. Sometimes it’s a money thing, but most times we don’t buy because there is just not enough motivation to buy it. In other words, there is no “compelling reason to buy”. The compelling reason to buy is usually found by asking “why?” when the prospect tells us what they need. However, most salespeople are so excited to find someone who needs what they have, that they immediately launch into a presentation of the product or service. The better ones even go so far as to talk about money and the decision process. What both fail to do is to uncover why the prospect needs the product. The answer to the “why” question will most often lead to the compelling reason. For example, I may need a new car. If I “need” it because it has 50,000 miles on it and I am getting tired of it, that is one thing. If I “need” it because it has 175,000 miles on it and my mechanic has told me it my break down at any time, I will be more motivated to buy a new car. The first example is a reason to buy and the second is a compelling reason to buy. That is why the answer to the “why” question is more important than the answer to the ‘what” question.

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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Be Pessimistic

Be optimistic about the outcome of the sales process but you should be pessimistic about every step along the way. Optimistic people are generally happier and more successful. But being overly optimistic can get you into trouble. Successful salespeople are pessimistic enough to anticipate problems that might occur in the sales cycle as they move the prospect through the sales steps from prospecting to closing. An appropriate amount of pessimism allows them to see problems that might occur and ask the right questions or take the right steps to move the prospect around any obstacles to the sale that might occur. When the salesperson is overly optimistic, they think everything is A-OK and run the risk of being blindsided by events or obstacles that they should have seen coming. So be a little pessimistic, not about the outcome, but about the things that could go wrong with the sale.

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 Sell

Presenting or pitching too soon in the sales call can turn off the prospect. If that happens they will stop hearing what you are saying though they will still appear to listen to your pitch. Your opportunity to build trust and rapport will be severely compromised. If you drop into sell mode before you really understand the depths of the problem, you run the risk of treating symptoms instead of the real problem. But, more importantly, you will trigger the prospect’s natural aversion to “being sold”. People like to buy. They don’t like to be sold too. That is why they stop hearing and why rapport is difficult to establish if you “sell” too soon. So, listen more. Understand the full scope of the problem. Sell consultatively and your sales call will go better and you will not trigger any automatic resistance from 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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Understand the Context

The context the problem exists in may change your perspective both on the true pain that the prospect is experiencing and on your approach to the solution. If my prospect is having issues with production and throughput in the factory, that is one level of problem. But consider the same problem in the context of the owner of the company getting ready to retire and it shines a different light on the problem and whether there might or might not be an incentive to address the problem. Or imagine that the company has just been bought by a much larger firm. Will they shut this plant down or invest in upgrading? Why did they buy the firm? Was it for the customer list or the manufacturing capacity? Each would have different implications on the approach to dealing with the throughput problem. So, you can see that knowing the problem and what you think is the pain is not enough. Unless you understand the context the problem exists in, you will never truly understand either what the compelling reason to buy is or what the approach to the solution should be.

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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Avoid Pipeline Bloat

Pipeline bloat occurs when your pipeline is full of deals that will never close. Sure, there are deals that will close … but not a very high percentage. This happens when you fail to completely qualify the prospect. Your gut tells you that the deal is good, but you never asked them for a time-frame. Or you think they have enough money to complete the deal, but you never actually asked. They have told you that the deal is being reviewed by management, but you don’t know how long that will take or whether management is on board with the purchase. There are many other scenarios, but the essential point is that in each of these cases the prospect is not properly qualified. We don’t know if there is a compelling reason to buy. Or we don’t know if there is any urgency to buy now. When pipelines are bloated your forecasts are inaccurate and unreliable, your closing rates are low, and you waste too much time chasing the deals that will never close. Qualifying harder is like taking an antacid for the pipeline. The bloat disappears.

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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Avoid Black Hole Syndrome

Are you waiting for a response for proposals you have sent? Does it feel like they are in a black hole? Most of the time the problem is that the salesperson does not know what will happen to the proposal after they submit it. This is especially true if the approval must come from someone you did not get a chance to meet and qualify. If you do not know the steps that your contact has to take to get approval, how long each step will take and what the concerns of the people involved in the final approval are, then your proposal has a great chance to end up in a “black hole” sometimes never to emerge into the light of day again. The solution to this problem is simple just ask you contact what steps she has to take and how long each step will take. Ask about the concerns (pain) of each of the decision makers you did not meet with. Get a commitment from your contact for when she thinks you should follow up. If you do these things you will accomplish two things. You will be able to give an accurate forecast when a decision will be made. And, more importantly, you will know when to follow up which will give you some peace of mind and keep you from being a pest to your 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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Expect to get an Answer

Often, you get what you expect to get. Getting an answer to your questions involves more than just asking it correctly. Communication involves more than just the words you say or the order in which you say them. Tonality and body language convey much more meaning than the words themselves. Your mother always told you it is not what you said but it how you said it that mattered most. To increase your odds of getting an answer to tough questions you ask, you must expect to get an answer to the question. If you ask with the expectation that they will answer, your tonality and body language will reinforce your words and the prospect will most likely answer. But if you ask a question with the belief that they will not want to give you an answer, or, even worse, that they shouldn’t answer, they most likely will not answer. So, convince yourself first that the prospect should answer and then ask the question. Asking without that belief is most often a waste of breath.

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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