Keeping it light

Phrases like ‘Thought it was worth,’ ‘Figured I would ask,’ and ‘Curious to understand’ help keep your sales discussions conversational and professional, increasing likelihood of trust and rapport.  They express your curiosity, while simultaneously maintaining a sales conversation VS a Q&A. Try them. 

The Middle Man

The beauty about sales is that you are the middle man/woman between the clients you speak with and the prospects you sell into.  As a result, you’re advantage is having DAILY INSIGHT from your prospect’s competition, that THEY are not aware of. Therefore, framing your questions with something like “What I personally hear from firms like yours is that they’re having problems with XYZ, how do you feel about that in relation to your group?,” is used to your advantage, because this is where a genuine conversation begins.

Why are you here?

Sales is very difficult, yet very rewarding when done right.  You have to be quite resourceful, yet without the right support from your company, you won’t succeed.  ‘WHY ARE YOU HERE?’ was a sign I would post on my desk when coming into the office, reminding me that despite the distractions one has at work (and there are many), whether it be a tough environment, a tough co-worker, not enough support etc, you are at work to do your very best, every damn day.  Try hanging the sign up. You’ll be surprised how much it helps.

Who you are not

I find it helpful to also explain to your clients what your firm is NOT.  A lot of prospects may have misunderstandings about you, so immediately positioning the discussion around what you do NOT do, making it very clear up front, helps get rid of that noise immediately, and most likely peaks their interest further.

Asking the extreme

I find that asking the extreme version of a question brings your prospect to conclude that your ask is not unfair at all, increasing the likelihood of any next step, including negotiations.  Questions like “Is that a bad idea? Is that unreasonable? Does that sound crazy? Is that not accurate?” brings your prospect closer to moving forward in any step of your sales process.

It’s not too late…

After you hop off the phone with a prospect, you’ll sometimes realize that you forgot to ask them an important question, like how their team is structured, or what their decision making process is, etc.  Don’t sweat it!  You can just send an email with  a “forgot to ask you” subject line, and you’ll get your answer!  In fact, their response shows you they are engaged! You can usually climb back to the top if you fall here and there. 

You don’t know…

SDR’s and AE’s sometimes feel that if they reached out to someone a number of times and do not get any response, they move on.  My philosophy is always follow up in a professional manner until you get a response one way or another.  You don’t really know what’s happening on the other end, and many times they will get back to you wanting to talk, and apologizing for not being able to respond.  It can’t hurt.  What’s the worst that can happen really?  

The isolation

I find that when you isolate the exact problem that’s preventing you from moving forward with your prospect, there are few excuses they can really rely on.  As a very specific isolation example, if a prospect has an issue with your price point, the following responses are helpful. “Just so I understand, are you saying that price is the only thing that is preventing us from moving forward?” If the answer is no, it give you a chance to see what other problems there are.  If the answer is yes, I would follow up with “So does that mean that if the price was more flexible for us both, we will be working together?”

‘Correct’

One of my favorite affirmative responses in sales is ‘correct.’  Not very ground breaking, I know.  However, saying ‘correct’ instead of ‘Yes’ or ‘Exactly’ or ‘Absolutely’ exudes a greater form of confidence, without the need to always back up your response. In fact, when a prospect asks you if your service does something or has something specific, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that many times you only need to respond with ‘correct.’  There are many times when there’s really no need to go into why it’s correct or how it works. If they want to know more, they will ask. 

If you’re going to lose a sale…

When I first started in sales, a wise coach once told me ‘Charles, if you’re going to lose a sale, I’d rather you lose a sale from being completely present and actively listening than from being elsewhere and actively talking. First, your listening skills improve. Second, you’ll know how to better cater to them in the future. Third, you’ll actually learn something.’ What were one of your wisest lessons?