Nothing brings me more discomfort than watching a salesperson struggle through a sale. Perhaps it’s worst of all when I’m the subject of the attempted sale.
As you’ve probably heard me say before, no one likes salespeople. It’s true. None of us want to be “sold.” We do, however, welcome informed consultants and advocates who can help us make intelligent decisions that create the outcomes we’re seeking.
To be seen as an expert and not a salesperson, here are three must-have elements your visits need to employ:
1. Only talk with decision-makers. If you’re happy to spend your time talking to gatekeepers, you’ll never be the salesperson you could have been. Yes, gatekeepers are decision-makers, too. But the only decision they need to make is to pass you on to the final decision-maker. Don’t be snooty. Treat all people with the respect they deserve. But know the decision-making level of each person in your journey and help them make the decisions they need to in order for you to advance in your sales effort.
2. Identify the prospect’s motivation early. Sales presentations are useless. I dislike the term “sales presentation” altogether. I can’t think of a better way to set one’s self up to be a monkey on a leash than to prance around in front of a prospect with a dog-and-pony show hoping something said will magically trigger the prospect into a buying frenzy. Ask why the prospect is willing to meet with you. Uncover the motivation, the pain, behind the person’s search for a solution. Then fix the pain. Don’t make a presentation.
3. Talk about money up front. Have you ever been in a sales presentation (there’s that nasty term), either as the salesperson or the prospect, where things are zipping along nicely only to have it all come to a screeching halt when the subject of money comes up? Nobody wants to be there. If you have real value to offer, price isn’t a problem. If the prospect sees it as such, he or she wasn’t a bona fide candidate for your product or service in the first place. If the money works, proceed with the discussion. If it doesn’t, move on.
As you confidently talk with prospects as a resource, an expert, and fixer of problems, you’ll find anxiety goes away (for both of you), more deals get done, and you enjoy your sales efforts a whole lot more.
Here’s to your sales success!
Bryan Waldon Pope