Belief Breeds Buyers

Whether you are interested in getting into sales, you just started in the sales industry or you’ve been in the industry for a very long time…one of the greatest sales qualities you could ever possess in any sales industry would be belief in your product, belief in the value it provides to your clients and belief in your company or organization. Without belief you are just a solicitor annoying every business owner you come across. How can you possible convince a business owner to buy into your product or services if you can’t buy into your own product or service? There is the Law of Transference which says your emotional state can be transferred to another person. So if you lack belief or conviction, everyone you come across will feel the same way. This is one law or rule you cannot fake.

You see belief is more than being educated on a product or service, belief is having passion and conviction about the value that your product or services brings to the marketplace. Business owners not only deserve but they expect the best of what you have to bring. If you are not bringing your A game then you’re better off not meeting with business owners. I have witnessed first hand, clients that were sold by the result of a half-ass sales presentation by an unbelieving sales professional and even though the original sale was made, it was soon cancelled which not only frustrated the client but the rep was frustrated and I was frustrated. In most industries if you lose a client through bad service whether misrepresenting the company, over promising and under delivering or just flat out not selling the product correctly, it takes years for you to regain that specific clients interest ever again even if you sell a different product at a later date. So is it worth it? Due to the amount of competition in the market the person who has the deepest understanding and greater product knowledge will normally have a greater influence on the client or potential client. Belief is powerful and it makes you an authority in your field.

I’ll take people who have conviction and belief in what they do and their product any day over someone who is talented as crazy as that sounds. I’ve built many sales teams in different sales organizations and the sales professionals who experienced long term success were the ones who zeroed in on learning the product, being sold on it and delivering it with passion. If you hit are experiencing challenges on a sales call, try recording your sales presentation and see how believable it is. Would you buy from you?

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Power of A Portfolio

Have you ever been in front of a client and everything is going well. The conversation is flowing, the client is engaged and then the question comes out from your client’s mouth…Who have you worked with and do you have any references I can call right now? Um, yeah of course I do. Then you open up your laptop and start browsing through your files hoping to stumble across that forgotten testimonial that’s been buried by your natural talent and charm! Think about when you were interviewing for that dream job you were gunning for. You knew there would be other sales professionals competing for the same position so you not only dressed to the nines but you also brought a “brag book” with you to highlight your superb customer service, your awards, personal references and more. Why? You did it to prove that you are who you say you are. It’s more than talking a big game, it’s all about the proof in the pudding.

Keep in mind businesses don’t want to take a gamble on what you have to say about your company, your product and the results you say they could possibly get from your product or services because number one, business owners are a lot more educated and savvy about what their needs are and being that we are in the age of DIY, they can educate themselves watching Youtube videos and get a better understanding of what they are looking for. This means that in order for you to really deliver the client with a value proposition, make sure you offer them a piece of mind or an insurance policy which is your portfolio of businesses you have dealt with in the past.

What Should Be In Your Portfolio?

In my 23 years in sales, I have seen some amazing portfolios and then I’ve seen some…not so amazing ones.

The first thing to consider is think about the objections in your industry that you come across the most. Portfolios are another great way to put another layer of paint on how you overcome objections because it removes the perception of what the customer thinks about you. They know you are taught how to overcome objections, speak with a silver tongue and you posses a certain skill set. This gives them a piece of mind to actually read a letter or see a video of a satisfied client if you are using a digital portfolio and it helps to drop their guard because they tend to trust other business owners over the sales rep.

The second feature you should have in your portfolio are character references that clearly explain why a prospect decided to do business with you. The importance of this is because your clients that you sign up will be working directly with you which means give them an idea of who they are going to be dealing with and the support they can expect to receive as long as they remain clients. People buy from people they like!

Finally, include businesses that will speak on your behalf. You should always have a handful of current clients that any potential client could call or email and are willing to give a snapshot of who you are and the service they are receiving currently. This is without a doubt the most powerful component in your portfolio. If you aren’t currently doing this then you are missing the boat. Think of how many businesses in your pipeline would close if they heard from so and so about the results your product or service is producing.

Keep in mind, every potential prospect that give you their time…there is interest to some degree which means you better treat that appointment as if it was your only chance to win them over. I don’t care how good you are at following up because if the client loses interest then it doesn’t matter how many touches you make. Your greatest chance of closing a deal will happen when they are emotionally compelled to make a decision and logically it makes sense. Put together a powerful portfolio and see how many more closes you make every month. This is a proven system that will improve your results.

3 Keys To Success

Why do most people just make it in their sales career and not succeed? There are three main reasons why sales professionals don’t make it to the top 5% of the sales rankings. Have you ever done an inventory check on your own career to see if you are doing these three things and doing them consistently?

  • Always Be Cultivating- Some of the best of the best consistently cultivate. No matter how busy they may be or how good things may be going at that time, they always make prospecting for new business a priority. Prospecting is not seasonal nor is it something to do when you are bored or business is slow. You may have a full pipeline in the works or maybe you are an account manager and you are responsible for managing millions of dollars in revenue but at some point you will need to replace those accounts or clients. There is something called client retention and new business acquisition and most companies put a higher value on new accounts. This is how their business grows and this is how your personal book of business grows. If you are putting new business prospecting on the shelf then you are willing setting yourself up for failure. You’re playing sales roulette. You need to always till the top, turn the dirt and keep planting the seeds. Remember what brought you to the place where you’re at in the first place.
  • Don’t Be a Busy Body- There is a big misconception between being busy and being productive. The best example I can give is the difference between a car being in neutral and in drive. The car is still on in neutral but it’s not going anywhere unless you put the gear into drive. This is the same for anyone who is in sales. Some sales people think that busy is a good quality to possess until they realize that their results don’t represent the work they put into it. What does this mean? This means that you need to “clean out the closet” and look at your time wasters. This reminds me of a sales rep that used to work for me. Everyday, he would come into the office with a stack full of business cards and he would sit there at his desk shuffling through these business cards, staring at them and putting them in alphabetical order…believe it or not. Everyone would egg him on asking who he had in the pipeline. He came into my office one evening and told me he had some great news he wanted to share with me. I was sitting right across from him as he pulls out what must have been 20 pages of leads filled from the top of the page to the bottom. He let me know that his pipeline was growing and he now had 300 hot leads that he was working on. What came next was as Oprah says was an Ah…Ha moment. I asked him to bring in his business cards so we could review his pipeline. His pipeline was a pipe dream and it was a commission robber and time-stealer. I took his business cards and inserted them into the circular file and showed him why i did that. He was average far below the average rep and was sitting in the bottom 25% of the rankings for sales reps. He had not made a commission check in the last month so after realizing how much time he was wasting on busy work…he identified prospects that he had met with twice in the last couple of months and targeted those leads. We met on a Monday and by Friday he had doubled his productivity than the month prior.
  • Yearn to Learn (Reading, Seminars, Audio books)-When was the last time you picked up a book, invested into a sales seminar or listened to an audio book that challenged the way you thought, worked and helped you to sharpen your skill set? If you aren’t growing then you’re dying. Some of the best of the best out there today, even as successful as they may be still invest into themselves. Learn how to critique yourself on a monthly basis. Identify how many prospects did you reach out to, how many thought provoking conversations did you have and what percentage of those turned into clients. Are you consistently increasing your earnings on a monthly basis or are you experiencing the ups and downs. You can only learn so much by doing the work…and why do I say that? Most of us who are in sales will learn through first hand experience but because we all have our limitations and we only know so much, you become your own ceiling and limit your earning opportunity. You need to desire continued learning and education and I don’t mean going to school, I mean the resources that are out there for any of us to utilize. Whether it’s a book, a seminar, audio books, researching online or watching videos on Youtube…the more time you invest in yourself, the better you will become and the more money you will end up making.

Apply these 3 keys to success and you will see the difference in your level of success. The beauty about sales is the ability to dictate your own earnings and you earn what you’re worth. Make the most out of the opportunity you’ve created for yourself and you will have a long-term career in sales.

Always Be Closing

Some of the best and most effective closers understand that the close is not come at the end of a sales call. We all have been taught in some form of fashion that a sale starts with prospecting, qualifying, introduction, needs assessment, reinstate and close. This is a great blueprint for sales professionals in any industry but this is a stock sample. The first lesson in sales that I was ever taught that has been the foundation that I’ve built my career around is the sales scripture, “sales is an emotional decision backed up by logic!” Regardless if you are acquiring clients online or offline, this very rule applies today and will always be relevant in the future. Every sales professional has seen Glenngary Glenn Ross, Always Be Closing…You Close or you HIT the Bricks! The truth about that term is so true but you need to understand that Always be Closing should be taken one step further which is always be closing throughout the sales cycle!

There is nothing worse than spending hours with a potential client going through your spiel and when you get the end for the grand finale…nothing happens. Empty face from your prospect leaving you no direction to go. You are fishing out objections so you can overcome them but nothing you say or do will sway the client into conducting business with you. As good as we may be, every sales professional throughout their career will experience this awkward moment. How do you prevent yourself from running into the wall? Well…it’s called test closing!

Where and when do you begin using test closing? From the beginning of every sales cycle! Keep in mind, in the beginning of the sales cycle your prospect is the most “curious” about how your solution whether product or service can solve his need or else he/she wouldn’t be sitting there with you in the first place. So strike while the iron is hot and I’m not saying tell them to sign the agreement. What I mean by this is ask questions geared towards bringing out the pain of why they are where they are. This is the emotion you begin to reel out because as stated before a “sale” is an emotional decision backed up by logic. Once you get them to that emotional level, you can begin to tie it in with reinstating where they are, why they’re there and what you can do to help them change their situation. Questions I normally ask in my industry is, “When did you notice the drop in business and what do you think was the cause of this?” After the client addresses the question, you are able to reinstate the question with getting their buy in or using a test close such as “So, you noticed the drop in business about six months ago when your phone stop ringing and you think it’s due to some of the poor reviews that showed up online as well as you cutting your advertising budget by 50% is that correct? So, in order for you to prevent experiencing times like this again in the future, you agree it’s important to identify the real issue at hand by taking a look at your previous advertising campaigns, study the analytics and address the negative reviews online ? The prospect agrees to it which is another “Yes” which builds and supports your solution.

Once you get a few of those, you are in the clear to assume the sale and finalize the transaction. As long as you focus a majority of your sales call on asking qualifying questions and revealing “pain points” you will increase your closing ratio and avoid wasting your time and the prospects time by not bridging his needs with your solutions. Clients sell themselves first even if you think it’s you that sells them. So the next time you are in front of your prospect…test the waters early in the sales cycle.

Attitude Determines Altitude

One of the greatest lessons that I learned in my sales career was from one of my mentors back in the mid 90’s. We were reviewing all the sales reps earnings reports and I noticed some of the biggest increases from salespeople that made $40,000 the year prior and $80,000 the next year then noticed top selling sales reps that made $110,000 year after year. Why is this?

Master the mind…the money will follow. Attitude determines Altitude. This is a quality that the most successful sales professionals in any industry possess. Think about why you have peaks and valleys and when you have peaks normally it’s because your actions and results are normally aligned with your attitude. There’s a saying that sales come in pairs and I truly believe this is the case. You can have the strongest skill set but if your attitude is crappy then guess what… no one is going to buy from you. Strategy is something that sales professionals focus on but common sense is a quality that sometimes gets pushed aside. So how do you “mind your own business?”

Attitude of Gratitude

Minding your own business is making it a priority that every morning you wake up, you figure out what to be thankful for. I used to teach my sales reps the first step in giving yourself a check up from the neck up is looking around you the moment you open your eyes because you were given another day to live and those that are dear to you were given another day as well. When you open your eyes, are you grateful that you have a roof over your head and food on the table. Yes, I know it’s a pay off due to your amazing sales career you built for yourself so why wouldn’t you have an amazing attitude knowing that some people in this world wake up to a world that is turned upside down whether their health takes a turn for the worse or something unimaginable happens. Call it what you want, this is not a speech about God or a higher power but it is what it is and you need to have an attitude of gratitude.

The Financial Foundation

The next step is your attitude needs to reflect the “Financial Foundation” you have establishing a career in one of the most important professions in existence. Keep in mind, you are in a profession that the only thing that stops you from making tons of money is you! You are not stuck in a minimum wage job somewhere like so many people are today. Don’t get me wrong, I believe people do what they have to do in order to survive but I also believe that if some of those very people had a different mindset, they could turn a minimum wage job into a well paying career. It’s all about the mindset and having the attitude that determines the altitude. Back to the Financial Foundation…do you realize that if you want to give yourself a 20% raise in your earnings all you have to do is make the decision to do so, create a plan and execute that plan flawlessly? That is the beauty of sales.

In everything you do understand that before you can set a goal and achieve a goal, your mind needs to be committed to that plan. The mind will empower you to execute or will cause you to make excuses so the next time you catch yourself with sub par results, do yourself a favor as well as your peers, friends and family…give yourself a check up from the neck up and “mind your own business” and remember that your attitude determines your altitude.

If You Want Change…Change The Want

It’s human nature to want and wanting is okay. I remember when I was 13, my life was consumed with skating (skateboarding.) Everyone had the newest Powell & Peralta board but those things weren’t cheap. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to buy a new Alva deck with Independent Trucks, Swiss bearings and Crossbones wheels. Before I could even finish telling her what I wanted, she started shaking her head in disbelief and told me I needed to work for it and save the money. Okay. Once you buy me what I want, I will work for it. I was so lost back then. She asked me how much everything was going to be which to me, I had closed the deal right then and there. After doing the calculation, the grand total before taxes because taxes weren’t in my vocabulary back then, it was going to be $190. Now, I knew the look turned from disbelief to straight out 5150 status. She thought I was nuts and maybe I was but I really wanted my skateboard. My mom didn’t have a lot of money seeing how she was a single mom, raising two boys who had expensive taste with all our newest hobbies. Although she would have given us the world, this was out of the picture. The conversation was dropped but in my head I was waiting for her to sit on the idea of how she was going to come up with the money to help her youngest son (me) embrace this hobby of mine. Dinner passed, dessert passed, breakfast passed and still no response on the skateboard so I followed up and once again asked my mom when we could get my board. She looked and me and told me she spoke with my Dad about how I could get the board. Nice…Mom and Dad are going to split the costs and get my board!

Not even close, that summer it took me two weeks to put a fence around his house. When I say put a fence up, I mean we built a fence, the beams, dug holes, screwed in bolts, hammered in nails and put that thing up around his house. This is not how I envisioned getting the board I wanted but since I’m writing about it right now, it obviously left an impression in my life. So what was the lesson I learned and how does it apply to this forty one year old sales professional?

If you really want something bad enough, the want is never enough if it is only an intention. The last time I checked intentions were worth a whole lot and they never produced a return. Sales professionals are a very unique breed of people. Although we love the rewards, we reap from the commissions we make-we sometimes forget that it takes hard work! You have to be willing to want something so bad, that it keeps you up at night and it drives you all day before you close your eyes. Everyone wants something but if you want it, you must claim it, own it and name it.

“If you want change, you must change the want!” brandon kuramoto

You see change is just a word until there is a desired outcome! What is it that you want to change? Are you going to continue to want to change it or will you? Whether you want to be a better husband, wife, father, mother, sales professional, friend or flat out a better person…it cannot happen until you change the level of want.

I Need To Think About It

How many times in your career have you heard a client say this after you have presented your product or service to them? This happens in any industry, some more than others but there are ways to overcome this objection and also to minimize the amount of times you hear this on a sales call. It is called the “Infamous Slow No.”

Setting the Expectation-In the Beginning

The best way to avoid hearing this after you have invested your time with a potential client or prospect at the end of a sales call is to set the agenda or better “set the expectation” up in the beginning of the sales call. So many times, sales professionals dive deep into the waters yet they didn’t take the time to ask themselves, “What if I can’t swim?” By that time, it’s too late and anything you say or do will just be suspect by that time and you now can classify that call as an official “time waster” appointment. Having one of those here and there is not bad but when you don’t change this -it begins to weigh heavily on your shoulders and this can effect your game dramatically. So set the expectation by letting your prospect know what to expect on the call such as learning about their business or needs, discussing some of the changes in the market and what and how that effects them directly and then let them know you are going to talk about your business and solution. Oh and by the way, ask if there is anyone else that makes the decision that needs to be on the call with them!!! Finally, if everything makes sense and they see the value of what you have to offer, you are going to ask for their business at the end of the call. Sound fair? You will get two responses…the first response which you will hopefully get is, “okay sounds fair!” and the next is I don’t make on the spot decisions which is not necessarily a bad thing to hear as well but at least you know how much information to put out on your call and the angle you need to use to approach that particular sales call.

Take Them Back to the Good Ole Days-End of Call

You have just delivered one of your best presentations, you asked all the right questions and provided tons of value on the sales call and even used test closes throughout the entire call yet he/she still comes back with, “Let me think about it!” I call this “The Good Ole Days Close!” Everybody loves reminiscing about the good ole’ days even 21 Pilots wishes they could turn back time to the Good Ole Days! Take them there to turn their state of mind from a defensive stance to an offense and inviting stance. “John, I totally know where you’re coming from. Every good decision made in someone’s life took a certain level of thought to move forward but also keep in mind, that every good and right decision that was made was done so because of the value and meaning behind it. Think about when you started dating or got married and had kids, bought a house or maybe even the seadoos you ride every summer in Laughlin. The only way you have experienced those very memorable times in your life has been due to making a decision to move forward with it. I realize most of my clients today at one point or another had reservations or questions they needed answered in order to move forward. What is your biggest reservation that stopping you from moving forward today? Let them direct you on the question that needs to be answered in order for you to use a clearing statement and overcome the objection.

This are very effective to use on a sales call, one sets the expectation and the other disturbs their complacency and changes their mindset by emotionally taking them back to the good ole days. For more information on how to apply this technique to your industry reach out to me directly at onlineprofessional@icloud.com .