ADVANCED SELLING CAN BE MASTERED MUCH FASTER THAN MOST THINK
Over my years in sales, especially my years as a manager to salespeople at all levels of selling, I have had to stimulate, motivate and focus so many good to brilliant sellers that seem to have simply ‘lost the plot’ and have ‘gone off on a tangent’ that is anything but appropriate selling. However, when they are encouraged to get back on track by getting back to basics, that too seems to something else that they have trouble doing.
Some time ago, a former good friend of mine, the late Brian Price, who died suddenly in 2002, was a vessel of sales wisdom and whenever I called on him to help me out with some personal advice, he always came though with more than advice – mostly what he said was both memorable and very doable.
When I asked him about his thoughts about how to handle what I was experiencing by having so much trouble even getting the best out of the sellers I was responsible for, Brian listened, but his response anything but what I would have expected.
He simply told me to take them aside for a day away from the office and retrain them at a level in sales a year or two above their current sales status and ability.
A week or so later I had finished writing a program I felt was structured at a level that they would work at understanding. I then hired a meeting room at the local Sports Club and undertook to present what I had, but with a difference. The whole presentation was undertaken around a huge ‘board room’ style table and I encourage interaction whenever they felt they needed to ask questions or if they wanted to add to what I had to say.
The following contain an exert from the Twelve modules I presented on the day. What I thought I could cover in One day actually took Two days and a number of the subjects needed to be worked on at the over the next month or so. But the best part is I have written these articles inclusive of the notes made after interaction with the people in attendance. Furthermore, much of what was presented was also personally trialled with the individuals on ‘live sales calls where I was able to both observe and teach at the call.
This chapter deals with the first sector and consists of five small modules needing around 15 minutes each of interaction.
Get Your Prospect to Listen To You First
The majority of people today generally think pretty much the same way whether they represent family, friends, work associates, your prospects or even your present or former clients. In fact, most of them rely on some form of recollective situation or circumstance to recall or remember most things, and that, with most of us, is where things either tend to start or finish.
As a case in point, how well do you remember the last dozen (or more) advertising messages you were exposed to over the past 24 hours? Are you able to fully recall just one of them? Because if you can recall even a part of one advertisement in some detail, you are better than most people, because the majority of people simply can’t remember anything, or just don’t have the ability to recall most things without some form of reminder.
So why did I bring things up this way? Because it will illustrate, in the simplest way, the biggest obstacle you will need to overcome in order to successfully promote any product or service – especially if it’s one that you rely on to bring in the income you will need to help you promote the project you are working on.
You must also understand that you will need to capture your prospect’s attention within the first 30 to 90 seconds from the start of your communication or your sales message could be in danger or being misunderstood, or at worst, it could be in danger of being purposefully ignored. All salespeople tend to understand this factor whenever they are selling face-to-face, but in the main seem totally oblivious of the multiplication factor of this one point in today’s fast-paced world – especially whenever a prospect uses the internet to acquire the necessary information.
Most of us forget that when using the internet, a visitor can simply click away from your website … forever.
I have included below four established techniques any salesperson can use to instantly seize and hold a prospect’s attention. These techniques apply equally well to all of today’s modern media – including the Internet.
Develop a Dramatic Headline
If you’ve ever laboured to write a headline for an advertisement, a web page banner heading or any other obvious sales message, you’d probably had used some form of dramatic statement. Why? Because these kinds of statements are generally the most obvious way to get another’s attention.
Statements such as:
- “Here’s a way to Double Your Sales and Reduce Your Advertising Costs”
- “Improve Your Closing Ratio with just One Important Question asked Twice”
- “My Doctor Says These Nutritional Products Get the Results you want”Here’s why this Tip Works:
Your Dramatic Headline will have the greatest effect whenever it describes or details a major benefit important to your prospect.
Ask them a Confrontational Question or Two
The work I do on a regular basis gives me access to a wide variety of subjects I would most likely never get access to as a member of the general public.
The following illustration is one of those stories that I have no way of knowing whether it’s true or not, but because it tells a tale better than I normally could and encapsulates the detail I want to share with others better than just about any other example I can think of.
What’s more, not only is it a great yarn in its own right, but is also a better than average ‘wake-up-call’ for those that need to hear it’s message – and that would include the majority in sales and sales management today.
The way I heard the story I am about to share here, goes something like this. Some time back, Chris Maynard told me a story about one of his friends who was going through a down-time in his business told Chris about a direct mail letter he received that had in the opening paragraph words similar to something like this, “If you think you’re such a smart executive why aren’t you making a six figure income like so many other top executives are today?”
The first thing that came to mind here was that in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s a six figure income was something to be proud of. Not many executives in those days would have liked to have earned a six figure income, let alone to be confronted with a letter such as that, especially if they weren’t making a six figure income. At the time a good executive income would have been around $25,000 to $35,000 plus perks and expenses.
So why have I made such a big deal about the use and application of Confrontational Questions in this instance. Simply because well planned and well directed Confrontational Questions have the ability to startle your existing clients and prospects and oblige them to find out more. In fact, the better the Confrontational Questions, the more intriguing they become to the reader.
Here the salesperson should be aware that Confrontational Questions should not be restricted to just one or two subject points. In fact, in the hands of a good operator Confrontational or Provocative Questions can be as open ended as you would want them to be.
As a case in point, let’s look at a few more ways Confrontational or Provocative Questions can be used to the salespersons benefit:
- “May I ask why you appear to be paying so much for your health insurance?”
- “For the benefits you told me you receive, may I ask why you appear to be paying so much for your current life insurance?”
- “Can I also ask you why you haven’t combined your existing policies with your wife’s and children’s policies?”
As a further case in point, let’s look at a few more ways Confrontational or
Provocative Questions can be used to the salespersons benefit:
- “Do you expect to get rich working for somebody else?”
If you have a well thought through explanation of any of the above – let me know
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies of his books over 49 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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