IF ONLY… THINKING AFFECTS MOST SALESFORCES
A while ago, while I was working as the National Sales for the Commercial Division of a multi-national, a challenge was set by the Managing Director between Commercial Division and the Domestic Division. The occasion was a national sales conference in Sydney. The National Sales Manager of the Domestic Division nominated his best salesman, and, after a few minutes of deliberation, I nominated myself for the Commercial Division.
Almost immediately, the other division’s top salesman loudly objected with, “I’ll compete against anybody in the company but him.” When asked why, he stated, “He’s the only man I’ve met who doesn’t accept excuses from anyone, including himself.”
At that point, the bet was won even before the first appointments was made. Around six weeks later, my results were almost double his, and his results were almost double that of the others in the Domestic Division nationally. But the main reason I put myself up against him, was that he, just like every other seller in the company believes in and sells around ‘IFFERS’. Golfers who play well also like to play against ‘IFFERS’, the players who offer those time-worn (and yet still acceptable) excuses, such as,
“If only I’d hit the ball better”,
“If only I’d used a different club”,
“If only I’d read the green better”,
“If only I’d not sliced the ball” and so on.
‘IFFERS’ ARE EXCUSE ORIENTED – WINNERS ARE FACTS CONSCIOUS’
THOSE THAT SAY ‘I CAN’ DON’T UNDERSTAND THE ‘IF ONLY.’ Here are three more examples of the “If” syndrome, but perhaps this time they may relate a little closer to your personal selling style.
These are somewhat paraphrased rewrites of similar examples used in the book entitled “Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale”, and appear here because of their relevance the subject. Relevant additional material of a more modern nature has also been added. Your challenge is to identify which of these examples tend to apply to you and your present selling style.
“IF ONLY I COULD HANDLE THE OBJECTIONS I GET BETTER THAT I DO NOW!”
This hint is worth thousands upon thousands of dollars to you. Objections (no matter what they are) should never be a problem to even the novice seller if the pre-planned presentation agenda is followed as originally scripted and without deviation of any sort. In fact, objections simply aren’t a problem 99% of the time with the professionals I know. Sure, there are exceptions to any rule – and you simply can’t please everyone all of the time.
If salespeople were honest with themselves, most objections are usually a clear indication by the prospect that the seller had not been doing the job properly. Most times, objections are raised by the prospect when the seller was incapable of either reading the prospect’s body language, or even those tell-tale verbal or non-verbal buying signals.
If those subtle messages were read, then acted upon properly, in most cases the prospect’s concern could have been covered before it had a chance of becoming an objection.
MOST OBJECTIONS ARE JUST “RED HERRINGS!” AND LACK SUBTANCE
But once stated by the prospect, the majority of objections are basically still only a variety of alternate “Red Herrings”, and are best dealt with by either ignoring the objection, or by simply saying, “If you give me a minute or two, I’ll answer that question for you”, and then continuing on with the presentation.
Most times, the seller will honestly forget to get around it, and within a few minutes most prospect’s will forget what was asked anyway. However, if the prospect brings up that one point three times, then stop, apologise for not answering it sooner, and answer it to the best of your ability in as few words as possible.
Then to ensure that you have got on top of the objection (and regained control of the sale), simply ask, “Is that point clear now?”. If they say “Yes”, continue on. If they answer with “No”, ask which part needs clarification, then answer it, then simply again ask, “Is that point clear now?”.
“IF ONLY I COULD CLOSE MORE SALES!” IS REALLY QUOTED FAR TOO OFTEN
One of the most common reasons why salespeople do not close as many sales as they should, is that many do not have full conviction in their product or service, and in turn cannot radiate that conviction to their prospect’s. In other words, they cannot become enthusiastic about a product or service they themselves are not already effervescent about.
The main reasons for this are usually, sheer laziness, wanting to take the easy way out, or living in a self imposed mental recluse believing it will work itself out in the long run – but it never does.
These salespeople simply will not take the time or effort to learn all they have to know about what they are selling, in order to sell it successfully. Yet, the answer is a simple one. All that is required is a small degree of professionalism.
PROFESSIONALISM AND ENTHUSIASM ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN YOUR CLOSING ABILITY
Rather than just turning up for work because you have to; or because your pay packet supports a better life-style on the weekends; or even because it helps pay the bills – simply take an interest in what you do for a living; take an interest in the company, its products, its people, its marketing plan and its management; then take an interest in the opposition; and most of all, an interest in the reasons why a prospect would even want to consider your product or service.
If this extremely simple prescription is carried out in even a round-about fashion, sales will increase overnight, because that newly found interest will breed enthusiasm, and enthusiasm will radiate your newly acquired conviction in your product or service, to your prospect. But you say you already take an interest in most of the things mentioned. Then take more interest.
Believe more in all you are doing, until you can honestly believe you are selling the best valued product, at the price, on the market today.
Then once you have made an appointment, believe your prospect has already bought from you – even before you make the call. Remember, buying is only the physical action prior to ownership.
The seller is there to help the prospect make that decision.
“IF ONLY I COULD BUILD MORE CONFIDENCE!” IS ANOTHER ON-GOING WORRY
Confidence usually waines (or even takes a sudden nose-dive) when the salesperson forgets that the selling process is simply a “transference of feeling.”
During any type of sales call, a high degree of confidence will transfer into a high level of enthusiasm, and a low degree of confidence (or low levels of enthusiasm) will usually transfer elements of doubt.
The sellers who lose either their confidence, or their enthusiasm during the call, tend to forget that their prospect usually only wants what already appears to be a successful product or service, and in the majority of cases they will only buy what they want – providing it seems to be a successful product before they make up their to take it.
If for whatever reason, the salesperson does not radiate a high level of confidence during the call, he or she will more than likely cause some degree of doubt in the mind of the prospect – a worrisome combination on any call to an existing client, but a decidedly disastrous oversight on a first sales call made to a new prospect.
PAST MENTAL SUCCESSES ARE THE BEST CONFIDENCE MEDICINES
Perhaps the best way I know to regain lost confidence, is for the seller to remind himself (or herself) of the times they were successful in past years – no matter what the field of pursuit was at the time.
To achieve this, the salesperson should simply let their “minds eye” wander back to a prior successful sale; a previous award; an achievement; a good win at a favourite sport; the support a family gives, or any other form of recognition familiar to the seller for a job well done. Thereafter, the seller should once again focus his or her thoughts to the senses of sight, smell, touch of those prior successes.
Once this is accomplished, the seller should remind himself (or herself), that no matter how successful, powerful or wealthy your prospect may be, he (or she) makes mistakes just like you and I do, and that no-one can ever be a success 100% of the time.
WHY BE INTIMIDATED BY YOUR PROSPECT – THEY’RE HUMAN TOO
The road to the top is always littered with a variety of mistakes, obstacles and hurts. And the higher the position, the more mistakes, obstacles and hurts these people have had to overcome.
The minute you realise your prospect is human, (just as you are) and is subject to the same hurts (that you are), you are less likely to be intimidated either them or their position. And the less intimidated you feel in any call, the more likely you will be to succeed.
IT’S MORE THAN AN “IF” SYNDROME PROBLEM WITH MOST SELLERS
Now that you’ve become aware of how much you’ve got to rely on the three types of “If” syndrome problems to excuse some of your non-professional and non-productive behaviour, I’ve compiled a list of a further twelve problem areas neglected by the vast majority of those in the selling field.
If you work at correcting these twelve simple “IF” problem areas, you will advance well on your way to a more successful and productive business and personal lifestyle.
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