There are nearly as many reasons (as there are sales positions) as to why so many salespeople develop so many wrong perceptions about how to go about their job, or how to sell their products, or what they believe about the ability of their superiors and most importantly, what is expected of them as salespeople.
Perhaps the most obvious reason (at least in here in Australia), is that over 90% of all of the people entering the sales workforce do so with little or any formal training – or even what many of us would consider to be bad sales training. Then within a short space of time, perhaps one or two years later, a good many of these very same people will leave the industry without receiving too much (if any) professional sales training either – be it personally, through seminars, DVD, audio or books. Then if you talk to those that have exited sales, they will tell you, they tried sales, but wasn’t for them.
On the other hand, many of those that do receive training, are usually influenced by the opinions of other, somewhat trained and perhaps, well meaning individuals. Wrong information, ideas, concepts and opinions are usually passed on unchecked by peers, friends and at times misguided and/or untrained middle managers – generally at a somewhat alarming and unprecedented rate.
This being the facts that surround the selling industry here today, the solution is not as difficult as many would believe, and is probably best summarised by the following. Each of which easily relates and can be just as easily personalised to cover every selling situation confronted by today’s modern seller, as well as the managers who have charge over these individuals – because, in my opinion, they are the ones I believe are doing the most harm.
See if you agree with me . . .
They try to make the Selling Process More Sensational than it Really Is
At the times, when the existing sales processes or benefits may not seem to be hitting the mark as well as they should – at least in the eye’s of the seller – it may seem that it’s a good thing (at least in the seller’s eye’s), to believe that the prospects perception and (perhaps) attention can be instantly increased by making that product or service that much more sensational that it really is. The purpose behind this thought is that this in turn (at least in the sellers eye’s), moves this “great” product or service into a “greater than great” product or service. Yet we all know that you cannot talk things up in sales and get away with it – not in the long run anyway.
The problem with this form of selling is, it’s easy to “go over the top” and begin to exaggerate – really exaggerate. But the reality is, that this kind of somewhat “heightened” the senses approach does neither guarantee better communication nor better salesmanship – and the worst part is, if the presentation was suspect in the first place, this kind of tactic will dig the seller into a ditch that he or she should never had gotten into in the first place. In other words, the buyer had now also better watch out, as the seller is knowingly no longer telling the truth, and what’s more, has no intention of telling the truth – at least at this point anyway.
The biggest cause for the need to overstate the truth by any seller, is usually wanting to take the easy way out, more often than not. Or another way of putting it would be, the seller doesn’t really want to abide by the rules of selling, or ethical presentation. But what, those that go down this pass don’t understand is, that poorly prepared presentations, as well as badly prepared benefit statements, merely raise the level of discomfort felt by the prospect. That same level of discomfort is usually also the reason why they don’t close more sales in the first place.
If only they realised it is generally better to get the presentation right in the first place, and they’ll close more sales and keep more prospects happy, than having to put out bush-fires (perceived or otherwise) at a later stage.
They seek Praise and Assurances from their prospects
There are a number of well worn phrases that have been around for so long that even people outside of sales are using them in their every-day vocabulary, like, “You could sell ice to an Eskimo”, or “You could sell sand to an Arab”, are just two of them. But why would an Eskimo want to buy ice, or an Arab sand when where they live, both are free? Obviously that type of statement has subtle sinister overtones the hearer is unable to recognise. The same type of subtle sinister overtones are used when the prospect tells the seller, “I really appreciate the time you’ve spent with me, you’re one of the best salespeople I’ve ever met”, or, “Hey, you’re first class, you really know how to sell.”
A few minutes later the Seller leaves, pleased that he at least was told how good he was – even though he didn’t get the order. But it doesn’t stop there, he then tells everyone including his peers his wife and sometimes even conveys it to his other customers. Other times he even calls his boss after the call to gleefully pass on how well he was just complimented on the call. At about that time the penny should have dropped when his boss asked him what was sold. But he just goes on an says, “Nothing yet, but it will come”. So the boss congratulates him on the order he is going to get sometime in the future – but again, the penny still hasn’t dropped. In fact, this seller will probably talk about that one “compliment” for the next few days at least.
The reality is, the prospect didn’t really pay the seller a compliment at all, at best he passed on a camouflaged insult.
Any professional seller should do a good enough job during the presentation so that the prospect does not realise that the sale has actually taken place until the order has been signed. What’s more, the prospect signed the order because its what he or she wanted to do anyway.
Professional salespeople understand that it is better to leave the premises with an order, and the client thinking you weren’t the best seller he or she has ever met, than to leave without an order and receive a subtle backhanded compliment on the way out.
Mentally Resolve which is better for you – is it WILLPOWER or is it IMAGINATION?
The more I talk to people, the more I hear that one of the most powerful of all the self-motivational tools is WILLPOWER. On the other hand, if your talk to a psychiatrist, you’ll soon realise that IMAGINATION WILL ALWAYS WIN HAND’S DOWN – what’s more, it will always hit WILLPOWER “for six.”
So here’s the truth of the matter, if as a salesperson, you want to spend more time canvassing for business, in order to sell more (and earn more), then you’ll need to use every bit of WILLPOWER you can muster – in order to summon the courage you need to get started. And you’ll soon find that (after an hour or two) that your IMAGINATION will take over, and start talking to you, saying, “It’s too hard”, “It’ll take up too much time!”, “You should be doing what you know best!”, “You’ve got better things to do!”, and pretty soon, your WILLPOWER is shot to pieces, doubt ridden and generally in tatters. WILLPOWER only works through an effort so strong and so constant, that whatever you are attempting to do becomes easier though habit. And you’ll also need to repeat those tasks for 21 days for them to become a habit.
On the other hand, your IMAGINATION will always be working overtime, dreaming up new ideas, and then once you start working on that idea, it will turn against you unless you firstly resolved that what you need to accomplish is more important than either failing at it, or giving in to it. WILLPOWER is a good thing to have when the situation calls for it, but if you want to see it through to its bitter end, IMAGINATION will win out every time.
Have you ever Lost a Sale during a Sales Call?
Every day (in every organisation that employs salespeople) someone talks about the sale they had lost at some time in the past. But whenever I hear stories like that, I simply ask, if they had never owned it – how can they lose it?
To make this one point even more realistic, the sale is never made until it’s paid for. A deposit is not a payment, but a pending down payment. The only lost sales are those made, the contracts exchanged and the full payment refunded. Invariably, the seller who talks about the sale they “Lost” are usually the ones who sell fewer than 50% of the presentations they make and are trying to justify their lack of performance. The seller who sells better than 50% knows he or she can use that same amount of energy (the others use taking about the one that got away), learning how to ensure they don’t in future.
Think this last point over carefully, and remember that our mouths (in the main) echo our actual results. So what are you bragging about, the ones you got, or the ones you didn’t. Remember, whatever you say is what you get. It’s based on the law of attraction – where you mostly attract what you believe. If you believe you sold, you will attract more sales. On the other hand, if you believe you nearly sell much of the time, you will also attract more of the same.
The subconscious brain can’t tell the difference between the real and the imagined experience. In time, it accepts all of your negative self-talk AS FACT, and that’s why so many write the poor results they do. If at the moment you sell less than 50% of your presentations, try telling others of your successes – but then, don’t be surprised if you begin to sell more because of it. So please, don’t use your valuable time and energy bragging about what could have been. You owe yourself more than that. Spend that same amount of time learning how it should be done.
For a number of years I conducted “Teaser” Information Breakfasts, where I would ask 20 questions in the middle part of the one hour presentation – the purpose was to encourage the participants to purchase seminars based on the information provided. Each participant was given note paper to write the answers on, and most were lucky to get around 20-30% of the questions asked right. However, the one question that caused more response from those participating was, “Have you ever lost a sale?”
It appeared at that point those that disagreed with the answer were the most vocal. They were also the ones that appeared the least likely to attend my seminars. And it wasn’t just me that felt that way – because I had two or more staff members at the breakfasts – and we mainly all felt the same way. Guess what? We were also mainly right in our assessments.
And there are always those that believe that Selling is Just a Numbers Game
Ask someone who is not in sales what is meant by “The Numbers Game” and they’ll probably answer “A game you play with numbers” or “Thrashing out numbers”. On the other hand ask someone in sales and they’ll probably tell you “Its the method a seller uses to get results”. In reality, its a method by which salespeople are encouraged to keep working even though they may not be writing sales. They have usually been told, that “If they make enough calls – they will get sales”.
However, these days I tend to disagree with that concept. Of all the top sales professionals I know, not one plays “The Numbers Game” in that manner. They carefully plan their calls at the beginning of the week KNOWING HOW MANY SALES THEY WILL WRITE by the end of the week. In other words, if a professionals closing rate is say 1 or 2, he knows he needs to make 10 presentations to get 5 sales. That’s his ratio established over a long period of time. But if he or she doesn’t sell the 5 out of 10, he or she will obviously work on until he or she does.
The way I understand it, is that the only salespeople I ever see influenced by “The Numbers Game” are generally the ones who don’t analyse, plan, or diarise properly – or if at all.
In my opinion, the only numbers game which should exist in sales is in canvassing. When you canvass, it becomes a numbers game. Apart from the time put in, there are little if any calls made or sales presentations responded to. No, selling never has been, nor will it ever be, a straight forward “Numbers Game”. And the reason why is as obvious as the nose on your face. There are only so many possible prospects that can be seen in any one are of life. However, it would take far longer to work through prospects that can be sold in the home as opposed to the number of prosects that can be sold to in industry.
The problem with those who believe they are able to work the numbers game, is that sooner, rather than later, the seller will either run out of prospects – or will need to start over again. And there will be a limit to how many times the same prospects will entertain seeing anyone in sales selling the same, or a similar, ideology, product or service.
So ask yourself again. “Is selling really a numbers game?” If you say yes, then be prepared to move on as the sales from the territory you work become smaller and smaller. If you say no, you will be in good company, simply because you won’t burn potential clients and you will be counted among the ones that keep the door open for the professionals that think the same way you do.
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<a href="https://www.profitmakersales.com/product/sell-like-a-champion-peter-collins/">Sell Like a Champion / Peter Collins</a>