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.

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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Corona Virus – Be Human

Every marketing email I get these days has some statement like “I hope you are doing well and staying safe during the corona virus pandemic”. This is immediately followed up with some sales pitch or other. I am fairly sure their well wishes were less than sincere. There are obvious issues with expressing concern in an email because there is no tonality which would contain most of the empathy you are trying to convey. But these emails illustrate the point I want to make here. In these times of crisis, when people have many personal concerns about their safety and their family and their job, etc. you need to express your humanity more. Don’t just call someone and launch into your “business as usual” sales persona. Connect with your prospect on a human level by asking about how they are weathering the crisis. AND MEAN IT. You have to be authentic. If they relate some major issues they are going through, that is probably not the best time to try to get them to make a decision or too try to push your agenda. You are better off saying something like “sounds like that project is on hold for a while” and agree to check back in a few weeks when things settle down. Stay in touch but make sure to connect on a human level. This is not a sales technique it is just the right thing to do and you have to be sincere.

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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Corona Virus One tactic to use in this environment

With many businesses shut down you may be hearing prospects tell you they can’t do anything until the shut down is over. When you hear that the best thing to do is to acknowledge that you understand and that it makes perfect sense … because it does. This is not an objection … its the reality of the times. But don’t stop there. Follow that up with the follow question “So Mary, let’s say the pandemic is over and you are back to work, what would be the next step”. This will move the discussion past the problem and let you start dealing with the issues that will come up in two months when they are back to work. The discussion can proceed to changes in the budget for the project, changes to the priority or the decision process, etc. You should end the conversation with a commitment form them when it is ok for you to follow up. This will put you at the head of the line (compared to your competitors) when things loosen up and will keep your pipeline updated and your forecasts accurate in the meantime. Always remember, however, to be respectful of the situation the prospect is in both professionally and personally.

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 confuse with interaction/engagement with bonding/connections

There is a difference between interacting with a prospect and engaging with a prospect. When you interact, you are essentially at a superficial level with whomever you are interacting with. It is an exchange of information, but no true bond is created. On a sales call this would involve getting the basic information you would need to provide a quote or proposal. You ask a question; they give an answer. It can be cordial or even friendly. But there is not true deep understanding. The skilled salesperson, however, goes further and creates a bond with the prospect. This occurs when the salesperson asks good hard and tough questions that demonstrate that he or she understands the prospects problem and its consequences at a deep level. The prospect comes to understand that the salesperson “gets” where the prospect is coming from. Likewise, the salesperson senses that the prospect knows the salesperson has gotten to the heart of the matter. In short, both parties see (know intuitively) that the other “gets it or has a deep appreciation for the other. When this happens, engagement has been achieved. There is now a bond between the prospect and salesperson. It does not have to do with friendliness. It is about the mutual understanding that is important. That not happen in a superficial interaction not matter how friendly it is.

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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Differentiate by your sale process

Salespeople worry about differentiating their product or service from that of the competition. Meanwhile, they use the same Me-centered sales process they all use. They superficially discover the need and then start talking about the things they think will differentiate their product. However, the best way to differentiate yourself is to focus on the prospect and really drill down into not only what they say they need, but why they need it. In other words, what pain do they have and what is the real issue they are trying to solve or that they worry about. The fact is that you tell more about what you know by the questions you ask than by the statements you make. So, ask questions your competition does not ask, dig deeper, challenge the prospects assumptions (gently) and they will see you as someone who is different than all the rest. Isn’t that what differentiation is all about?

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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Good relationship is only 1 step in sales process

A good relationship with the prospect is very helpful to getting the sale. However, a good relationship by itself will not win the day. A good relationship is a good start, but it is only one step in an effective sales process. We also need to know whether the prospect has a compelling reason to buy what we are selling. In addition, we need to be able to solve the prospect’s pain better than our competition can. Assuming we have that competitive advantage, the prospect has to have the money to spend on our product and they have to be willing to spend it. Then, of course, there is the decision process and the timing of the project, etc. Admittedly, a great relationship with the prospect will facilitate the other steps. For instance, they may be willing to tell you information they may not tell other competitors. You may be able to get background and context that competitors don’t get because of your relationship. But never forget that the relationship, important as it is, is only one step in the sales process.

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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Who’s your ideal prospect, who’s your undesirable prospect

Sometimes looking for a new ideal client is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Imagine how hard it would be to find a needle in a haystack if you had no idea what a needle looked like. It would be an impossible task. Yet that is what the average salesperson does every day when they fail to have a clear idea of what their ideal prospect looks like. To make prospecting easier you need to describe who your ideal or target prospect is. It is not everyone who is in the market to buy what you are selling. Do you need to talk to the CEO or the Marketing manager? Are $50,000,000 companies or $5,000,000 companies in your sweet spot? What are the problems you are most likely to be successful at solving? Is there a particular geography that you are targeting? It is important to identify the target both for yourself and so that you can easily describe the target client to referral sources. This will make your referral sources more effective at finding you the right people to refer you to. And it will make your prospecting easier when you know what you are aiming at. It is equally important to identify what you are not aiming at. In other words, what does my undesirable client look like? For instance, you might decide that it no longer makes sense to deal with companies with under 40 employees. Or maybe you will no longer seek business in New Jersey due to a new regulation. Know who you are looking for and (not looking for) will make your sales life a whole lot more fun and much more profitable.

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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Ask, what do you attribute that to

Prospects usually have some idea what is causing the problem they need to get fixed. Most salespeople focus on getting more information about the problem and that is very important. Really weak salespeople immediately jump to discussing their solution to the problem. However, one of the most important questions you can ask is “so, what do you attribute that to?” This gives you insight into what the prospect thinks the cause of the problem is. Now, the prospect may or may not be right. But the important thing is to know what they think the cause is and hence where the solution lies. If you believe that the prospect is wrong, you can address that with more questions in the discovery phase. This tactic prevents you from proposing a solution that is off base from the prospect’s point of view and it eliminates objections before they happen. If the prospect turns out to be wrong, then you have probably differentiated yourself from your competitors. This approach is much better than coming up with a solution which you then have to defend causing you to lose credibility with 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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