The Sales Profession and The Power of One

The sales profession can be one of the most rewarding and yet frustrating. Remove the frustration by harnessing the power of one.

The Sales Profession

001_56First, let me address the reference to sales being a profession. There are many like doctors and lawyers who may challenge the combination of sales and professional in the same sentence. They are wrong. People in the sales profession are committed to their particular service or product. Just as a doctor, at least the good ones, believe in what they do. If you are a committed sales professional, you are always striving to improve, not just your numbers but to improve yourself. Whether you are attending seminars and workshops, watching video online or reading, improving yourself can’t help but improve you as a sales professional.

While working on improving ourselves, we are trying to land that whale of a client that is going to solve our financial challenges, and then continue looking for that next whale. The problem is most of us are looking for a way to swallow that whale whole.

The trick to eating a whale is the power of one. One bite at a time.

The Power of One

CompensationMy friend Bill Guyther with LegalShield was in the Toronto area yesterday and did a great training session when he introduced “The Power of One”. He talked about eating an elephant one bite at a time. The bite he referred to is getting the opportunity to present, ideally in a face to face sit down. For some, it may be getting approval to send an email or connect via social media to have a discussion specifically for business. Win one meeting at a time and so on.

Bill used the example of doubling one penny every day. Day one was a penny, day 2 was 2 cents. At the end of 31 days, you would have approximately $10.7 million. Miss the last day, you only have half. To get any result, you have to start with ONE! In the example above, it was one CENT. It wasn’t even a DOLLAR. Bite off what you can chew. As Bill suggested, work on winning the meeting, not the sale. I’m sure you have been to enough sales training to know that sales is the result of activity.

Do enough approaches to win a meeting, do enough meetings to win a sale. Do enough sales to make a great living as a sales professional. Note the power of one at work here, it all started with one call. Focus on winning enough meetings and you will get the sales.

Will you make that one call? And then the next one?

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Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for great leaders. I’m thankful for opportunity. I’m thankful for every new day. What are you thankful for today?

Sales Isn’t For Everyone But Is It For You?

We often hear people with MLM opportunities say “anyone can do sales”. Bull roar! Sales isn’t for everyone but is it for you?

What is “Sales”?

Believe it or not, those MLM folks are partly right about sales. We all sell every day.

  • Wife convinces husband to watch a favourite show.
  • Child convinces a parent to change a rule.
  • Mechanic convinces you the car needs an oil change.
  • The clerk at McDonald’s asks “do you want fries with that”.

In every instance, someone is selling an idea, process, product or service to someone else.

image of woman pulling manSales is the act of convincing someone to change their mind about something with the hope that they will see things your way. The popular phrase in sales is “stop selling and help them buy”. No matter how you cut it, it’s still sales. You helped move someone from one position to another and if you did it well, they think it’s their idea!

The question really becomes do you WANT to do sales? In each of the examples in the list above, someone had a strong desire to convince someone they had the best idea and their prospect NEEDED to follow their lead.

What are you passionate about? Do you have a strong enough belief to risk being told no? If the answer is no, the response is NEXT! Find what you are passionate about and do that.

Is Sales Ability Natural or Can You Learn?

Listen without judging.When you meet a “natural” sales person, the reality is that they learned from someone somewhere. Have you ever met that person who could sell anything to anyone? Take a look at their family and I will bet you someone close to them shows many of the same traits. This could digress into a discussion of nature versus nurture but I believe we grow up mimicking what we see.

Now, if you didn’t grow up in an environment where “selling comes natural”, it just means you may have to make a decision to grow and change. There are a few ways to do this.

Why Multi-Level Marketing?

Taking a program at university can cost thousands of dollars and years of your life.

Insurance and investment companies are great for training but again, there is a commitment of time and cost. In my case, my monthly cost was over $700/month on average. I left that business.

Opening your own business? The sky is the limit! If you bought a franchise it could be hundreds of thousands. You would have to sell a lot of coffee to pay that off!

By far, the most economical way to get sales training and probably better than you could get at any university, is to find a reputable Multi-level Marketing Opportunity.

photo agreeingMy wife’s business is a great opportunity for personal growth. I watched a person one time who, when they started, was afraid of their own shadow. After a few months, they were presenting to the group of people who had been meeting every Friday to work on business planning together. Another that I really believe in is connected to this blog. And the training is free whether you join the business or not! Click here to check out coaching from Joel Therien.

The reality is you can learn sales if you want to. Start with Why!

Selling is one of the most lucrative careers for good reason. It’s not easy at first and takes time to learn. There are those who make sales, whether in a bricks and mortar business or MLM, look easy. I compare them to famous musicians. Most put in a lot of time and effort to become good at what they do.

Do you have what it takes? Do you want it bad enough to do the work?

Sales isn’t for everyone but is it for you?

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for learning opportunities. I’m thankful for the MLM industry. I’m thankful you took the time to read this far! What are you thankful for today?

Sales and Service: Land of Promises and Land of Broken Promises!

Sales people are forever making promises and service people always let them down. We need to remember how much we need each other or we will all go broke!

Sales: The Land of Promises

Have you ever worked in sales and had to work with the service department to keep customers satisfied with your post-sales support?

I have been in sales for a number of years. I learned, sometimes the hard way, just how much I needed the service department’s support in order to be successful. Here are just a few things that can make a world if difference:

And those are just a few.

When I was designing small to medium business technology solutions, I would often spend time with technicians in the service department bouncing ideas off them before making a pitch to a client. That feedback prevented me from embarrassing myself or them in the eyes of the client.

sales information exchangeThe salesperson is the public face of the company. They are expected to:

  • Identify need;
  • Clarify need by asking probing questions;
  • Handle objections;
  • Help client make a buying decision.

It’s when this process breaks down that the land of broken promises starts to develop. One unanswered or unasked question at a time.

Land of Broken Promises

In an ideal world, the service department is your before and after sales support that gives you good decision making information before the sale and then keeps the customer satisfied with your solution after the sale.

When we land in Broken Promises, it’s usually because of at least one of these things:

  • Bad technical information;
  • Poor Communication;
  • Unexpected problems during delivery;
  • Unrealistic expectations;
  • Dishonesty.

person cryingInformation and Communication

Bad technical information isn’t necessarily the fault of your technical/service support. You may not have asked the right questions or truly understood what the client needed. You need to ask enough questions that the client almost starts to become annoyed. Then you have to do the same to your technical/service support people!

It’s better to have a client tell you they are not willing to go through the pain to achieve their objective, or a technician to tell you your plan won’t work, than you have to go through the pain of resolving a conflict with the risk of having an unsatisfied client out there telling everyone their experience. It takes 10 client success stories to make up for the one that got away!

Unexpected problems are usually the result of not asking enough questions. There could be a mixture of generations of technology and the client forgot how old something was but it is an important part of their business. This caused a problem with your solution but guess what? You’re the professional. You are supposed to know everything. At least, that’s what the client believes.

Expectations

Clients may have unrealistic expectations. You did such a great job “selling” your solution, they expect it to solve all their problems without a hitch. This is a good place to pre-handle objections. For example, I had a client ask me if I could I could guarantee they would never have a problem with me or my company. My response was that this is a long term relationship and I can guarantee that we will face a challenge at some time. The difference is that I won’t hide from or run from a problem. Note earlier I used the word challenge? There is no such thing as a problem!

Set expectations up front. How will cost be handled? Build in a bumper and be clear it’s to allow for the unexpected. Oops! I guess that’s expected now. Be clear that you are willing to face up to disagreements as long as they are handled with respect, and so on.

Dishonesty is a real problem. Many times it’s the client that is guilty. They knew about a potential challenge but hoped it wouldn’t show up. Out of embarrassment, they may try to transfer the guilt to you. Don’t get caught up in the blame game. If you made a mistake, own it and ask forgiveness while proposing a solution that shouldn’t really cost your client. If it’s the client, don’t apologize but recognize this is one of those “challenges” you expected you might face. Offer a way for the client to save face with as little cost to them as possible.

The Land of Broken Promises is a horrible place. Try your best to stay out of there and help your team support people stay there with you. You are the leader. Lead!

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for great teachers. I’m thankful for great clients. I’m thankful for opportunities to learn. What are you thankful for today?

Pre-Handle Objections. Be Up Front.

Pre-Handle objections by addressing the elephant at the front of the room. Save yourself time and stress by being up front with whatever the biggest objections are.

Pre-Handle Objections

Image representing Canadian justice.What does Pre-Handle objections mean?

I’ll use a great example I heard at an Advanced Product Training with Legalshield this past weekend. Melissa Wilder was in town to address the Ontario market. As part of the agenda, the guest speaker usually delivers a business briefing. That’s a presentation of both the product and the opportunity. She noted that it’s common that the price is what is sitting at the front of a guest’s mind and causes distraction from the message. She actually said something similar very early in the presentation and briefly mentioned the price of the Canadian membership, clearing the air and allowing people to focus on the presentation.

Let’s imagine that you have someone convinced to come to see your service or business opportunity. You told them the meeting would be a little over an hour and that the group likes to go out for some camaraderie afterward. You agreed that you would pick them up and drive. Now, you are about to leave and bring them to the meeting. Because they are a half hour away, you call to confirm. The conversation could go one of two ways.

Option 1

Man giving thumbs down.Hi, this is John Doe. We spoke earlier this week about you coming to a business briefing. (Because, of course, you were up front about that and they already saw something about the service so there are no surprises!) Are you still able to come? Stop right there! You just gave them an out. It doesn’t really matter what the story is, they can make up just about anything.

“I’m sorry I can’t come tonight. Something has come up. Maybe next time?”

You can believe there is no next time. There is no sense of urgency. You didn’t say anything to indicate otherwise and the urgency is all yours, not theirs.

Option 2

photo agreeingHi, this is Jane Doe. We spoke earlier this week about the video I sent previously and you indicated that there were a couple of things that you might be able to use our membership for. I explained that you could learn more and have questions answered at our business briefing. The briefing takes about 45 minutes and after that you would be able to decide if you saw value in staying for further discussion and clarification. After the meeting we typically go for some fellowship and you would be welcome to join us or I would take you home.

Thanks for agreeing to come tonight. When we spoke last, we agreed that after the business briefing, it will be your decision on next steps. Does that sound about right? (As long as you have been up front and your statement is accurate, the answer can only be yes.) It’s kind of hard to say no when you use their own words.

“That’s great! I should be there in about 25 minutes.” And, don’t be late.

Be Honest and Up Front

Honesty and integrity is key in any business. I need to know what you are asking me for and what it’s going to cost me. Keep in mind that my time is worth more than my money. I don’t know about you but the only thing I hate more than a thief is a liar. So, don’t steal my time and don’t lie to me!

Use the Up Front Contract every time. Make it a habit to start every conversation by stating the up front contract that brought you to this point in time and be sure to end every conversation with your next up front contract, whether that is the next meeting, or agreement to part friends. The other thing is to be sure to listen and use language that everyone understands.

Will you always get people to agree to the next up front contract? Nope. But, that means you have both just saved a lot of time and energy, parted friends and can get on about your business.

People like to deal with people they know, like and trust. You will build more lasting relationships being honest and up front and the business you win sticks. Who knows, maybe no means not right now. Because you built a lasting relationship, you will get the future business and/or referrals.

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for great teachers. I’m thankful for integrity. I’m thankful for growth opportunities.

What are you thankful for today?

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You were only half listening? What did that get you?

As sales professionals, it’s imperative that we learn to focus on what the prospect or client is telling us.  Are you truly listening?  When you are “half listening” you may well miss all of the message.

 

Listening or Reloading

3D-Women-Shake-Hand-01In “Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals“, Mark Bowden talks about being a good listener.  He suggests you ask yourself the question “Am I listening or reloading?”.  Many of us have a bad habit of letting our minds get ahead of ourselves.  We are so busy thinking about the next item on our agenda that we lose sight of the client’s needs.  You might say we are reloading for the next attack.  Do you get the picture?

 

When you are focused on the next volley, the prospect can sense that you aren’t paying attention.  Then the trust goes and ultimately the opportunity is lost to us.

 

Stop selling! Help them buy.

3D-Women-Idea-01Most of us are pretty intelligent people.  We don’t need someone to tell us what we need.  We are looking for someone we can trust and that help us buy.  Most of us make decisions by reflecting.  That means you need to be a reflective listener!

 

Pay attention to what your prospect is saying.  If you listen closely enough, they will tell you exactly what they need from you in order to buy what they want.  In most cases, it’s simply taking the time to reassure the client or prospect understands that it’s not just the sale that drives you.

 

They can buy products or services just about anywhere from anyone.  Why you? 

 

Do you really listen? 

Most of us like to think we do.  I think most of us are really reloading.

I would suggest reading two books to help with communicating with prospects and clients.

  • The Secret Language of Leadership by Stephen Denning

  • Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals by Mark Bowden

 

Make it a great day,

 

Barry

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for great writers like Simon Sinek, Stephen Denning and Mark Bowden.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share ideas.  I’m thankful for you!

 

What are you thankful for today?