10 ways to tip the sales scales in your favor
Too many salespeople rush to get a proposal in front of buyers. Its a bad move because it detracts from getting the customer involved in a dialogue and halts a salespersons learning process.
Make your proposal an extension of your conversation so that it becomes the result of your conversations. That way your proposal is really coming from the customer.
Those in sales tend to be doers, not thinkers. And most are burdened with too much activity thats less than productive. Thinking makes the difference.
Thats what middle school students have discovered in the poorest area of Brooklyn. Their school is a chess powerhouse, a legend in the chess world, states the New York Times. You do a lot of thinking about how you think, especially about how you make decisions, says Elizabeth Spiegel, the full-time chess teacher. Making good decisions is the backbone of sales and that takes thinking as well as doing.
Using exaggerated claims and inaccurate information are the kiss of death for todays salesperson. With better-informed customers, uncovering such information only takes a few seconds, thus damaging credibility.
In todays totally transparent world, messing with the facts can be fatal, whether in business (over-sized claims) or on a personal level (doctored resumes).
Salespeople often take pride in their ability to read people and situations, relying on their gut instincts or intuition.
They view it a built-in radar, guiding their decisions. Although experience can play a significant role, famed psychologist, Dr. Daniel Kahneman, points out the danger of depending on intuition. It can lead to what he calls automatic thinking that ignores relevant information, which can spell trouble in sales.
There is no reason to waste time bird-dogging dead-end leads; yet, thats what salespeople assume to be part of the job. Not any longer, says Graham. And thats the value of big data, or information that exists outside of your company, but is now available, he adds.
Intuit (QuickBooks, Quicken and Turbo Tax) has transactional, behavioral, user-generated data (from its products) and social data drawn from social networks and Twitter. And its easily accessible for large or small companies.
A printing sales executive locks the competition out with his electronic ticker system that tells him when jobs are coming up. His customers and prospects are impressed that he makes contact with them at just the right moment.
What would you like to accomplish that you havent already? This is the question that opens windows into customers minds to understand what dominates their thinking and what they care about passionately.
One salesperson couldnt figure out why a prospect didnt want to buy, until he said, Frankly, I just dont understand why we cant seem to move forward. It turned out that the customer was afraid the salesperson would disappear. I like picking your brain, he commented.
The primary sales task is to get customers talking. Most already have information and expect to participate and theyre turned off when they dont have a chance to do so.
Ask questions that engage the customer, that create a dialogue, says Graham. Theres nothing a salesperson can say thats more important than that.
Spending time figuring out a customers hot buttons is out of sync with the times, says Graham. One of the most important things you can do to tip the scales in your favor is to excite them with your knowledge, helpful ideas and your willingness to be there after they sign.
Every salesperson knows the job is tougher than ever, especially those in the insurance field. John Graham, a marketing and sales consultant and business writer, shares 10 ideas that can help a broker stand out in the crowd. [Images: Thinkstock]