Never Underestimate the Power of Focused Preparation
One of the things on the salespersons wish-list is a simple template type of process they can follow with ease no matter what they are selling around 90% of the time. Your focused preparation may just be the process to make it happen both effectively and also seamlessly. This article, Never Underestimate the Power of Focused Preparation offers many sales nuggets on how this may be achieved.
Design a State of Agreement
As the seller initially explains the variety of distinctive benefits of the product or service, feedback questions should be asked that encourage the prospects to say yes, (or something similar to yes) each step of the way.
Positive responses and agreements are an important selling tool throughout the presentation, as this will add to the atmosphere of the call the easier it will to Use establish agreement at each sector before any attempt is made to close.
Here the seller should ask questions such as,
- “How do things feel to you so far?”
- “Would you use this feature often?”“Do you see the value of this function?”
- “Isn’t this switching process really well designed?”
Every time the seller gets positive response or agreement, such as a ‘yes’ or something similar, the seller helps create a positively constructive atmosphere that will move the prospect forward towards the final close.
Summarise Early and as Often as Needed
Whenever the salesperson is selling benefits that specifically address the prospects particular needs, it’s a good idea to summarise early, then as often as needed throughout the presentation, and finally a summary at the end.
Here are a few ideas you could find useful:
Early in the presentation:
“Now let me see if I’ve got this right. You want this model with the overdrive feature because of the way you will be using it. So allow me to summarise what we will need to do to achieve that result.”
During the presentation:
“Before we go any further, let me summarise what we’ve agreed to so far, because there are a few features that I know you’ll want that are a little on the expensive side, but I’ll get to that once I summarise what we have achieved so far.”
At the end of the presentation:
“You told me earlier that the overdrive feature was important to you. So let me summarise what you’ve decided on so far. Now if you agree to go forward, here are the main benefits you’ll be getting with this model. The first is, the overdrive feature, that will allow you to …”
Test the Temperature Often and at the Close
A temperature tester is essentially a trial close and may be used at any time during the presentation, and when you’ve asked your personally pre-selected questions, stop talking and watch and listen carefully for their response.
Temperature testing is easy, and works best when attached to “if” questions, simply because “if” questions assume the prospect has already bought the product. The best part here is that temperature testing questions can be used at any time during the selling process.
Here are a few examples:
- “If it came in red, would you buy it”
- “If I could get you this brand, can we do business?”
- “If I could get you a blue one, will you order it today?”
- “If I got it for you by Thursday, can I deliver it?”
A more detailed form of temperature testing should be applied before any attempt to close is made in order check your prospects are ready to make the final decision.
Here are a few examples:
- “Because this product will go a long way to helping you with your issues, and if it does everything I promised it would do, will you agree to place an order today?”
- “Do you see how you will benefit by using this service?”
Whenever the prospect says “yes” to either of these questions, your prospect is ready to buy, so ask a few more temperature testing questions that will now (in essence) become closing questions.
- “Would you prefer the blue one or the white one?”
- “Would you like one packet only or would you prefer two?”
- “Which of these two models is best for you, the first or the second?”
- “Shall we deliver next week or the week after?”
Now use the ‘Order Book Close’
To activate the Order Book Close, simply pick up the order pad that has been ‘conveniently’ left on the prospects desk (if in an office) or on a table (if in the prospects home) and open the order pad to the next blank page. (At this stage it is important to ensure the order pad page is not soiled in any way or dog-eared).
If you were unable to have placed the order pad in easy reach on a desk or table, or you feel that this may not be your style, then when you go to get the order pad, make sure you pull it out of your brief case slowly – sudden changes could change the atmosphere and if that happens, the prospect is likely to panic (if ever so slightly) and if any manner of doubt sets in as a result, the prospect will more than likely not proceed.
Now simply ask, “John, may I have the spelling of your surname?” Then check the other details like address, delivery instructions and so on. If they have a business card, ask for it. Then check if they need to work with an order number.
Next use a Transition Statement
This is an important thing to do (in my opinion) before you start filling in the details of the order (that’s whatever they are buying from you).
At this point a transition statement will help soften the selling process:
- “With your help John, before I go any further, I’ll need just a little more information from you, is that alright?”
And Gather the Information Needed
Now continue with …
- “John can I have the spelling of your surname, please?”
Once this has been volunteered, check the delivery details and the address the delivery needs to be made to. If you are in an office, ask for the prospects business card, and ensure you check whether your prospects company uses an order system. If they do, ask for the order number. Work through the details of the purchase step by step with the prospect, check for additional any details that could be peculiar to that prospects needs and work through everything necessary up to getting the order signed.
Next you will need to get along side your prospect ‘review’ the ‘details’ of the order. I prefer to call the contents of the order the ‘details,’ others prefer to call the order contents the ‘agreement,’ and a host of other names. (And you can call the order form anything you want, just don’t call it a ‘contract.’)
Next you’ll need to review the order with the prospect, and the best way to do this is to sit alongside the prospect and go over the details. If you’re in the prospects office, ask for permission to sit alongside the prospect to go over the ‘details.’ Quite often the prospect will allow you to do this, and when that happens simply move your chair next to the prospect behind the desk.
At times, the prospect will not want you behind the desk and will join you on your side. Whatever the prospect chooses to do, go along with it. But here, it is important that you do not move your chair anywhere in the office without the prospects permission.
If you are in a home and seated around a table presenting to a husband and wife, sit on the side of them. I prefer to sit next to the most dominant of the two whenever I can in a situation such as this. Why? Because I can get both eye contact and would be able to lightly touch (something like a hand or a shoulder), as a form of reinforcement, whenever I need to make a serious point.
With the other partner, who may not be in a comfortable touching distance from me, I would use eye contact, and as a form of reinforcement, I would allow my eye contact to linger slightly longer than normal. Once that point had been made to the more distant partner, I would use the same technique (slightly longer lingering eye contact), with the one closer to me. That way neither could feel left out.
As a point of concern here, over the years I have employed, seminar trained or consulted with salespeople on a one to one basis, and have been told (far too often for my liking), that they have been advised by others to ask permission to sit between the two partners. I personally think this is not a well thought through idea that is wrought with danger. It could also possibly railroad all of the work done by the salesperson to this point. Here’s why:
- Sitting between two prospects reminds me of the plastic clown head one sees in the sideshow alleys of a circus, where you throw a table tennis ball in the clown’s mouth and hope for the best. Moreover, if you are of my vintage, not only will the prospect get the back of my head when I am concentrating on the other partner, but they will also be distracted by my bald-spot.
- Similarly in this position, the salesperson may as well be that clown head because he/she can only get eye contact or observe facial features and body language one at a time, and worse still, this can only be done on a partial basis, which is of no value to the salesperson if a curly question should come up.
Now Review the Contents of the Contract
At this stage you need to show them, point by point, that you wrote down everything exactly as it was conveyed to you, explaining as you go along.
As you review the details of the contract with your prospects this way, they should be nodding in agreement as you proceed. If they are not nodding, the seller will then need to start nodding, and in time, the prospects will follow and start to nod also.
At any time during this process the seller may reinforce things by simply asking “tie down” questions like:
- “Do you agree with the detail at the top here?”
- “Isn’t that what you asked me to do regarding delivery?”
- “Did I get this point here right?”
- “Isn’t that what you asked me to do?”
And add, “Do You Understand This?”
When you finish going over the details with them, look them in the eyes and ask,
- “Is this the way you both understood it to be?”
They will mostly say ‘yes.’
Ask are there Any Other Questions?
Then shrug your shoulders like there’s nothing else left to do – simply ask,
- “Are there any other questions?”
They will say ‘no.’
Then Get Them to Sign
Now move the contract to business buyer, or if you are selling in the home, move the contract to the one who you believe to be the more dominant of the two. Point to where you want them to sign, hand them your pen and say,
- “I need you to authorize this here.”
And Shut Up and Wait
It’s vitally important that when you ask for them to authorise (get their signature), you don’t come across as either ‘cocky’ or sound at all ‘desperate.’ After you ask them for their authorisation, then simply shut-up!
Most times there will be a silent period between the time you hand them your pen and when they actually sign the agreement. At this point the first one that speaks becomes the buyer, so don’t talk, don’t buy the sale back, let your prospects do the final lot of thinking.
Sometimes the deathly silence at this point may seem like an eternity, but if you speak, you’ll blow it. Just let them mull things over in their minds – no matter how long it takes, and no matter how uncomfortable this deathly silence may feel to you. Just keep perfectly still, be quiet and wait it out. They will sign.
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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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