Make the prospect think

Great sales questions make the prospect think. Good questions merely get you a lot of information. Getting information is important and must be done to make a sale. However, just understanding the situation and the pain the prospect is in, is many times not enough. You must differentiate yourself from the competition. Asking questions that make the prospect think is a great way to do that. Some examples might be “Why did you not go down this alternate path?” or “Why does that keep happening when clearly you have directed otherwise?”. The first question shows that you may have some knowledge of the situation. Maybe the prospect has an answer. But maybe the question stops him in his tracks as he stops to consider that alternative that maybe he hadn’t thought of. Having the prospect think can never hurt you. It starts the conversation down a different path than they may have had with a competitor. They see you differently and hopefully they see you as someone who can help them. The second question can have a similar effect, or it can shine a light on the real pain and really cause the prospect to get emotional. Good questions get you information and are important. Great questions make the prospect think and can be a game changer.

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 for the outcome the prospect is looking for

Most salespeople focus first on what the prospect needs. But a quicker way to pain after you understand the current situation is to ask what outcome the prospect is looking for. They may not know how to get to the outcome, but they certainly know what outcome they would like to have or hope that they could have. The obvious next question is “why is that important” or “Why did you choose that instead of this” or something like that. The answer will inevitably lead you down a path to the pain the prospect is having. The advantage of this approach is also that it prevents you from focusing on your product or service too soon. It is as simple as that.

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 Skip Steps

Success and familiarity breed complacency. And when complacency sets in you tend to fall back into old habits or develop new bad habits. One of those is the tendency to skip steps in the sales process. Sometimes complacency causes you to get lazy and not ask follow-up questions or to assume you know what the prospect means. You might also forget to ask critical questions because you acquire a false sense of security. You win most of the business with this customer “so I’ll just ask a few questions, mail in the quote and collect the commission” … or so you think. Familiarity gives you an advantage. You know how the customer thinks. You have a history. You have a sense of what they will spend. You know the decision process. You know what they have done in the past. They will share more information with you. You have an advantage over the competition. Don’t squander it by being lazy and skipping steps.
Likewise, success can lull you into a feeling of “I got this”. “Those questions are for amateurs. I’m a pro. I know what needs to be done.” That thought process will send you right back down to the bottom where you came from if you are not careful. Airline pilots who have thousands of flights under their belts still go thru every step of the pre-flight checklist … every time … every flight … they don’t skip anything … EVER. Be like the pilot touch all the bases. Do all the steps every time … every sales call.

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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Work Hard

Contrary to the popular saying, success is not about working smart. It is about working hard on the right stuff. It is your self-limiting beliefs and other hidden weaknesses that make selling so tough. If you have too much need for approval, for example, then you will find asking hard questions to be exhausting and you will avoid doing it. What you consider to be a hard question will depend on what other self-limiting beliefs you have. For example, if you are uncomfortable talking about money and you also have need for approval then the very thought of asking for the client’s budget is stressful. If your sales manager is demanding that you come back from the sales call with the budget, then you will dread going to the meeting. You will waste emotional energy and you will lower your chances of getting the information you need. Eliminating your excessive need for approval is not easy. It requires a commitment to the task, and it requires emotional energy expended over a significant period of time to risk rejection, get rejected (or not) and then deal with the emotional consequences. However, if you put the emotional energy into overcoming this issue then selling, suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) asking tough questions becomes much easier. In fact, they will require no emotional energy at all. You will not dread conversations. You will not obsess about what prospects might or might say and you will be more relaxed on the sales call. This will free up energy to do other things and your success and satisfaction with your sales career will skyrocket. The tricky part is to identify the hidden weakness causing you the stress. The hard part is working through the “trauma” of doing what must be done to overcome the weakness. But, putting in the emotional work to discover and overcome the self-limiting beliefs is the smart thing to 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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How to communicate

Connecting with prospects on follow-up is becoming harder and harder. In the past we only had one ore two ways to communicate. You either called the prospect or visited them in person. There was no email. Twitter was a figment of Mark Zuckerberg’ imagination. There was no video chat, no text messages, InMail or instant message. The world was a simpler place. Most everyone had a “secretary” who knew where your prospect was at all times and could tell you when the best time was to reach them. Now it is easier for the prospect to hide behind voice mail which did not involve the secretary lying about you being in a meeting. They can avoid your call because their phone tells them it is you calling. To make matters worse they are a moving target since they can be working from anywhere with there cell phone and fewer and fewer people have administrative assistance that keep track of them. In this environment following up with a prospect can be a nightmare. But there is a way out. The first time you talk to the prospect, all you have to do is ask them how they want you to communicate with them. It is that simple. Some people prefer text messages some prefer that you call their cell some prefer email. Ask them and then get an understanding as to when and how you should follow up. The question that I like is “Is there any trick to getting a hold of you?” When you ask that question directly they will give you the secret formula to getting them on the phone.

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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Desire must become an Expectation

Your expectation of the outcome of a sales call will most often dictate how successful the call will be. The reason is that you communicate your expectation through your body language and tonality. So, on any call, if you expect to get an answer to a question you will have a better chance of getting it than if you think there is no chance of getting an answer. In a slightly more macro perspective, if you expect the sales call to go well and you expect to close the deal you have a greatly increased probability of doing just that. This translates into your whole career and life. Those who expect to succeed generally do. Those who expect failure generally fail. The main lesson is that you can accelerate the process if you just expect to succeed before you actually have success. In this case the Chicken really does come before the egg. Expect to succeed and you will not be disappointed in the long run.

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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Make sure there is Urgency

Pain is not enough to get a sale. The prospect must also have some urgency to fix the pain. If you don’t know when the prospect needs the problem fixed, you have not really gotten the prospect to share a compelling reason to buy. You have just identified a problem. As any homeowner knows, there are many things that are annoying around a house and “need” to be fixed. But the average homeowner does not fix everything as soon as it becomes known that it is not exactly as it should be. You can tolerate a leaky faucet even though it is annoying, and it is costing you money. There is no urgency to fix that especially if you are not skilled with certain tools. However, if a pipe bursts and water is spewing everywhere, there is urgency to do something about it immediately. So, when you are on a sales call do not be satisfied with uncovering the problem or pain. Make sure you determine whether the prospect has enough urgency to solve the problem before you count it as qualified.

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 Give Up

Salespeople give up too soon when trying to connect with a prospect by phone. The latest research says that it takes 16 attempts to reach a prospect. Unfortunately, salespeople on average quit trying after 4 attempts. The problem is that 20 years ago when you could reach someone with 3 or 4 attempts on average the prospect was stationary. If they were working, they had to be in their office and had a phone on their desk and a gatekeeper trying to keep you from getting to them. A skilled salesperson could defeat the gatekeeper and get to the target prospect quite easily. However, the modern executive is mobile. They can work from anywhere and their phone tells them who is calling and with the push of a button they can ignore the call. Its hard to defeat that. We have many other ways to track them down in today’s world. We can message them on 3 or 4 different ways and we can connect via Linkedin etc. But telephone prospecting is not dead. It is still the way that you have the most control over. So the lesson is don’t give up. Keep trying. Take different angles of attack and eventually you will connect.

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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Reduce your Sales Goals to Activity Goals

Sales goals are good to have but they are not enough. The problem is that sales are not something you can commit to since you do not have control over closing a sale. However, what you do have control over is your activity. You can control picking up the phone or asking for a referral or going to a networking meeting. So, you must convert your sales goal into an activity goal. This is relatively easy if you have been tracking your activity since you have all the metrics. My unscientific eyeball average estimate is that fewer than 10% of sales people track their sales activity on day to day basis. If you are one of the 90% who don’t, you can still translate your sales goal into an activity goal by guessing at the conversion ratios. Then you start tracking your activity and you will soon know your ratios and you can adjust accordingly. The key idea here is to convert your sales goal into an activity goal and then hold yourself accountable to doing the activity. Do that and the sales will follow.

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Call Old Clients

Old clients can be hidden nuggets of gold in your database. Or they can become like ghosts … hidden and unseen. Be a ghost-buster. Call those old clients just to catch up. You don’t have to ask if they need to buy anything. Just catch-up on what is going on at the company. There will be personnel changes, changes processes, new products, etc. gathering information may yield some new pain that has arisen that you might be able to help with. This sales tip is not any more complicated than that. Call them. Talk to them. Stuff will happen. It is better than making cold calls and it is a great way to bust out of a slump and get the ball rolling again.

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