It's a familiar sales scenario — you meet a prospect, develop a rapport and pitch your product. “Let me get back to you,” they say. Or: “Thanks, but this is our busy season.”
According to Jim Mattei, Sales and Sales Management Consultant at Sandler Training, when you follow the same old sales approach, you get the same old results.
He filled us in on five ways to shake up your selling — including how you relate to prospects and to yourself — to get new and better results.
Change the Dynamic
Salespeople typically run themselves ragged in an effort to satisfy a prospect’s every whim. They’ll make nonessential changes to a proposal at the 11th hour. They’ll reschedule meetings at the drop of a hat. And still, prospects fall back on the usual “Don’t call us — we’ll call you” in the end.
Mattei counsels: If you’ve heard that line a little too much, change the dynamic — and fast.
“You never want to put yourself in this position,” said Mattei. “It’s the role of a child seeking a parent’s approval. Instead, cast yourself as an equal. You’re two adults. If prospects don't view you as a peer, they won't open up to you.”
Look Beneath the Surface
When a client expresses a need or problem, don’t try to solve it immediately. There's often more than meets the eye.
“People are like icebergs,” Mattei said. “The problem you see above the surface is usually a symptom of a bigger issue beneath.”
He advises salespeople to think like diagnosticians. Use your expertise to ask pointed questions, evaluate the situation and diagnose a solution. “Really dig into it,” he said.
Know When to Fold ’Em
So you’ve changed the salesperson/prospect dynamic — only to realize your product or service isn't the cure this prospect needs.
“Good salespeople know how to qualify,” said Mattei. “Great salespeople know how to disqualify.”
Too often, people spend time on opportunities that will never pan out. If it's not a fit, know that it’s ok to part ways. Focusing your efforts on opportunities with promise is more efficient and effective, many times over.
Don’t Get Comfortable
Mattei compares salespeople to mountain climbers. Some climbers make it to base camp and are comfortable there; others won't stop until they reach the summit.
“Some people make $150,000 and they’re happy,” said Mattei. “It’s a decent book of business. And when you get halfway up the mountain like that, the view looks good.”
But they’ve leveled off, he adds. And their approach starts to get stale. To keep things fresh, take on new challenges and set ever-higher goals.
Be a Behaviorist
“Traditional salespeople base their future performance on past sales numbers,” said Mattei. “It’s much smarter to focus on your behaviors.”
You can neither control nor predict whether a customer will pull the trigger to make a purchase. However, whether you perform high-impact behaviors is entirely up to you. Decide that you’ll attend a certain number of networking events and tradeshows, for instance, and ask for referrals.
“In the end, whether or not you make a sale, you can look in the mirror and say, ‘I did everything I could,’” said Mattei. “You also know that, if you keep doing these behaviors consistently over time, you will succeed.”
Photo via Shutterstock
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