What’s Good for One Might Not be Good For Another, Or…Customize Baby

July 20, 2011 at 10:53 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, sales | Leave a comment
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Here I am at the beach enjoying a yearly retreat to sand and surf with the over-riding idea of letting go of routine and obligations.

Yep, I’m sitting here and looking at the myriad of beach set-ups. Some folks have umbrellas and elaborate sun blocking paraphernalia; others are lying on chairs and blankets basking in the rays and clearly going for the glow. They’re all making it work for their specific needs…customizing it for themselves so there’s full satisfaction.

Do you do that? Customize I mean or, do you have a “one size fits all” approach?

Sure there are certainly businesses and applications where customization is unnecessary, and where a cookie-cutter approach is just fine and perhaps even preferred (think about it…when you get your Dunkin’ Donuts don’t you want to “know” how they’re going to taste?).

But for us consultants customization is king. We seek to deploy solutions that are specific to the situations at hand, and we do this by exquisite probing. Asking the kind of insightful questions that enable you to uncover exactly what you need to know is a best practice in sales.

I encourage you to do these simple things:

1. Prepare a list of 15-20 questions that you should review prior to every prospect interaction. Add new questions to the list as they become relevant.

2. Practice your probing skills and refine your delivery and timing so you don’t come across as interrogating your prospects. Use your prospect’s answers as a platform for you to provide additional information and benefits statements about your product or service.

3. Listen to the responses that you receive. 80% of the sales dance is listening.

Remember that if in your business one size does NOT fit all it is up to YOU to get to the heart of the situation. You can never count on the prospect to freely disclose their wants and needs.

Sunscreen anyone?

Winning the War Against Tire-kickers

July 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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You know exactly what I mean. The symptoms:

• I’m going to do it but I’ve been soooo busy
• Can you give more information (this after explaining the product or service ad nauseum)
• I forgot. How do I (fill in whatever it is they say they are going to do)

And on and on.

Anyone who has been in business more than 30 days has probably experienced this “tire-kicker” syndrome. It can be frustrating and even a bit infuriating. (OK, more truthful, it totally sucks.)

What causes this phenomenon? Well…

1. Inertia (the most powerful obstacle any salesperson will face)

2. The philosophy that “the devil I know is preferable to the devil I don’t (translated into fear of the unknown)

3. There was no real intent to move forward. (the BS factor was solidly in place)

So how can you win the war against tire-kickers? While there is no hard and fast answer there are a few simple things that can help you to overcome the problem:

• Be persistent. You can’t lose what you don’t have so don’t give up. Be tenacious and stay on the grid.

• Determine if you really WANT this business and if not, move on. (Actually, you should have done this right at the beginning)

• Don’t forget to continue to present value and benefits. The tire-kicker needs to keep hearing about the “improvements” that will be made in their situation if they avail themselves of your product or service.

Most importantly, make certain that you have enough prospects in your sales funnel so that one or two tire-kickers won’t destroy your sales numbers. You can’t avoid them but you can make certain that they have as little impact as possible.

Instant Karma

July 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Sales Training, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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You know it when it happens. Instant karma, the kind that sets your sales mind soaring and gets your energy sky high.

Yep, instant karma’s gonna win me the business!

Um, not so fast.

As a sales consultant I’ve seen lots of sales gone bad, instances in which a sales rep was absolutely CERTAIN that the deal was in the bag. There was, after all, instant karma.

But guess what, instant karma can’t always save the day. In fact, it rarely does and here’s why:

  • A great connection and good vibes can help pave the way but a less than stellar presentation of benefits and a compelling value proposition are really what seal the deal.
  • A “feel good” conversation often spirals out of business boundaries and there isn’t enough probing to uncover the red flags. Heck, why probe? We’re buds, right?
  • People do business with people they like but people also do business with people that they respect, trust and admire. If you come across as too much of a pal, the respect and admiration might become just a tad diluted.

    Yes, instant karma is fantastic and it sure feels good. It can also aid you in developing and closing business but you can’t minimize the importance of old-fashioned sales skills and techniques.

 

Under My Thumb

July 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hah. It’s been awhile since sales reps were so cocky as to feel that prospects and clients were, in fact, under their thumb. Nope, when the economy got soft and business started to suffer, sales reps everywhere (and in every industry) could no longer be in the least bit cavalier about their prospects and accounts. Under your thumb? Not a chance.

Prospects and clients have ALWAYS had the power to prove just how much they want and need your services. They do it by accepting your proposal and then by continuing to work with you and in this environment, heck, in any environment, you need to show the “love” on an ongoing basis.

They’re NOT under your thumb. There’s always competition waiting to eat your lunch and if you want to rest easy (ok, easier) and be confident that your clients are firmly in YOUR court, may I suggest the following:

  1. Go over and beyond what is expected. Doing a good job is no longer enough. Strive to be “great” and make your clients raving fans.
  1. Don’t BS. Presenting a less than honest picture of what you can do and how you can do it will lead to disappointment on the part of the client and they will go elsewhere.
  1. Be on time and on budget. (Nothing more to say about that!)
  1. Become a resource and not a vendor. Resources are valued and are not as often subjected to budget scrutiny. Vendors are replaceable; business resources not so.
  1. Show your appreciation for their business. Do it frequently.

Take my advice, unless you’re Mick Jagger, you shouldn’t be singing this tune.

Why Can’t I Close More Business?

July 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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This is a question that is put to me with some regularity: “why can’t I close more business? What am I doing wrong?”

Despite the type of business or size of the company, the issue of “difficulty with closing” is put to me by frustrated sales reps, sales managers (usually stated as “why can’t THEY close more business”) and business owners alike.

It’s simple, right? JUST ask for the order. But no, it’s not as simple as that; in fact, it’s not simple at all. Closing is actually one step in a complex sequence that done correctly will help you to win business.

But remember winning new business is the end result! Before you can get to the end there is an intricate sales dance that must be executed flawlessly. What you do first, and then throughout the interaction or series of interactions, will set you up for the “right” to ask for this business.

Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself in a better position to win increased new business.

• Make certain that you have clearly and succinctly explained your service or product’s core value proposition. What “improvements” will you make in your prospect’s business or personal life?
• Utilize exquisite probing to uncover your prospect’s wants and needs as well as to uncover potential hesitancies that will stand in the way of a successful “close”.
• Have a response for all objections and stalls. These are critical moments in the sales dialogue. If you are unprepared you might just lose the prospect’s interest and attention.
• Don’t proceed too quickly. Engage your prospect and allow time for a dialogue. The faster you move through the interaction, the less time to allow the prospect to visualize just how your offering can benefit them.
• Make certain that when you are ready to “ask” for the business it won’t come as a total shock and surprise. Remember that closing is the last step in the sales interaction. It shouldn’t come out of left field.
• Utilize trial closes to get a read on what your prospect is thinking and if they are in sync with what you are offering.
• Timing is everything. Think about your process and adjust as you move through the sales cycle.

At the end of the day prospects need and want you to attempt to close the business. If you don’t, they are left hanging and are uncertain about what to do and, when uncertain, their only recourse is to respond negatively.

So now take a close look at your prospect database. How many of them remain to be closed? What percentage do you think will turn into business and within what time frame?

Pick up the phone and start to deploy some of these tactics and see if you can improve your closing ratio. Start now!:)

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