Sales are tough to generate in a good economy or bad. Nevertheless, why does it seem that some sales people seem to do well in all types of environment? When the economy is good, it is relatively easy for even bad sales people to make a living. The reason for this is that in good economic times there is so much “low hanging fruit” out there that just about anyone can make a sale.
Now that the economic picture is slowing down, there is not much “low hanging fruit” to be picked. In today’s economy, it’s only the truly professional salesperson who will survive. If you think about your industry, there are enough people out there still wanting to buy your product or service to keep you busy all year long. Your challenge is, how do you get your “unfair share” of that market?
A lot of sales training focuses on “closing techniques”. A secret to sales success is to stop “closing sales” and start “opening relationships”
There is a difference between the successful professional salesperson and everyone else. When business is good, the majority of salespeople are just trying to get as much business as possible. They are usually more “me” focused than “client” focused.
Professional salespeople are always “client” focused. They understand that their client is also thinking WIIFM or “what’s in it for ME”. When you focus on “opening relationships”, you’ll always be client focused.
The second thing that professional salespeople understand is that people do not like to be sold but they love to buy. This leads us to ActionCOACH’s definition of a salesperson, “Professionally Helping People to Buy”.
How can you tell if you are selling someone or helping him or her buy?
The answer is quite simple. When you are meeting with potential clients, are you “telling” or “asking”? The professional salesperson’s secret weapon is questions. When you are asking questions you are building relationships
So how do the professional salespeople break through the clutter of all the other sales calls that their prospects are bombarded with every day? One strategy is through their current relationships. By using their current relationships, professional salespeople are able to get their prospects attention but most importantly, they gain some instant credibility in the mind of the prospect.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a relationship it is very hard to penetrate your prospect’s trust to get them to open up to you. Just think about it. How many sales calls do you get daily from sales people trying to sell you something. I can just imagine your response when the phone rings, “Oh boy, another sales person trying to sell me something. Let me stop everything I doing to see if they have something I want to buy right now!” If you are like me, you are trying to think of every excuse to get off the phone.
The biggest mistake salespeople make is trying to jump ahead in the sales process before we build any credibility. We start asking questions before we have earned the right. We need to earn the right to start a relationship before they’ll want to engage in a relationship with us. We can’t expect that just because we’ve called, the prospect will want to develop a relationships with us let alone want to do business with us.
How do we break the barrier to get through to these prospects and get them to want to engage with us over everyone else trying to get a piece of their limited and precious time? We need to first create curiosity? Just face it, if we can’t get them to want to engage with us, the chances are slim that we are going to make a sale.